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France: Hi-Viz Armband and Breathalyzers Law Suspended

28
November
2012
  Posted at 08:00:00 AM
  File under  France Travel Opinion
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Normandy, France
click to see where France is on the map

Things always happen when governments change. One law made during the last government gets changed with the new one. And that is what happened here.

Two laws had been created by the previous conservative government, the mandatory wearing of 150 cm2 of high-visibility armband for motorcycle riders and the mandatory breathalyzer kit in your car or motorcycle. Both laws had been heavily criticized by associations and people alike. Even the European Commission intervened saying that the laws were illegal (see related below). And both laws have been suspended.

Here's what this is all about.

Armbands

Click for bigger version of Motorcycle Protest Rouen 2012
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Having a small piece of fabric on your arm will not protect you from accidents on your motorcycle. Yes, a high-viz fluorescent jacket will be more visible, a lot more than an armband, but many bikers can not afford to buy a new jacket in today's economic climate. And if you look at the accident statistics, the majority of car versus motorcycle accidents happen when a car strays into the path of a motorcycle, meaning the driver didn't look into the mirror. No fluorescent jacket or armband will help prevent this.

Breathalyzers

Alcootel testing

Making it mandatory to carry a breathalyzer in your vehicle was not only a stupid idea, it was quite obvious that people were making money of this idea. Corruption at its best. Anyone person with half a brain will realize that someone who is responsible will probably not drink & drive, and if they had a glass of wine, they are not the problem. It's the person who drinks a bottle, has 2 grams/liter - they are the ones who will drive drunk, and not bother checking to see if they are drunk.

It has also become known that the breathalyzers don't like cold and warm weather. Typically under 5°C and over 25°C means you'll need to replace the units.

The Laws Suspended

Both laws got suspended. What that means is that they are not off the table. It means that a committee is going to get created that will analyze, talk, formulate, create, dissect, and finally propose changes to the laws. In all honesty, it's obvious that both laws will be killed. But it needs to be official, so give it a year to two. Committees need to earn their keep, they need to show they are important and have a "raison d'etre" - a reason for being.

So for the time being if you're planning to ride in France next year, don't worry about armbands and breathalyzers. You're safe for the moment. And if you've bought breathalyzers already, remember that they're great at parties... small balloons.

Read related articles
Saturday, August 25th, 2012 - France: Mandatory Breathalyzer Contested By Luxembourg

Breathalyzer Approved France
Luxembourg flag
The mandatory breathalyzer that every motorist, including motorcycle riders, must have with them at all times when on the road has been a hot iron in a part of the French government that doesn't shine. The previous government had made it a law that all vehicles on French soil must have an "in-working-condition" unit in the vehicle (meaning if you used one, you had to have another one unused). To make matters worse, the unit had to be approved for French soil, visible by the "NF" logo. So even as a foreigner riding your motorcycle in France, you need to buy a French approved unit.

Luxembourg has gone on the attack. They have written to the current president of France, telling him that this is nonsense. This is Europe after all, and politicians over the last few decades have been trying to normalize laws and products over its borders.

If France wants to continue a law that most experts deem inappropriate, then France should allow European breathalyzers, not just French ones.
Thursday, June 28th, 2012 - France: Mandatory Breathalyzers - A Conflict of Interest?

Good Party Proof
France flag
According to the very serious Sud-Ouest and Figaro newspapers, the new French law that makes it mandatory for all vehicles, cars, trucks & motorcycles, to carry an approved Breathalyzer, is starting to smell....

Most sane people, and even crazy people, are asking themselves why any government would make the carrying of Breathalyzers mandatory. If you're trying to cut down on DUI, then install ignition-disablers coupled to a Breathalyzer.

But as it would seem that the leader of these alcohol testing units, Contralco (number 1 in the manufacturing and distribution in Europe of Breathalyzers), and the organization that convinced the government that it was a great idea, I-test, have someone in common.... Mr. Daniel Orgeval, a senior executive for the constructor, and president of the second. Contralco was doing badly financially..

....Click on the headline to continue reading this story.......
Tuesday, October 9th, 2012 - France: Government Back-pedaling On Mandatory Breathalyzer

Breathalyzers bag
France flag
As you may have read in the previous months, the former French government had made it a law that every vehicle (cars, motorcycles and trucks) in France, including foreign registered ones, need to have at least one approved and in good working condition breathalyzer in their possession while driving.

The new law is already in application, but the government had announced that the first fines would occur starting the 1st of November. A lot of protests have risen for this stupid and senseless law, not only from within France, but from other European countries. The main two suppliers had a field day making the breathalysers, so much so that they quickly ran out of stock, and prices went through the roof. Now, a normally €1.50 unit is selling for €10.00.

Yesterday the French government announced that the fines for not having a working unit on you will be moved from the 1st of November to the 1st of March 2013, and that a commission has been formed to study the mandatory breathalyzer law in more detail...........

...........Click on the headline to continue reading this story.......






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