The French government has announced that drink-drivers will be allowed to keep their licences by having a breathalyser fitted to their cars to prevent the engine from starting if they are over the limit.
Under a government ruling published this week, motorists at risk of losing their licences following a drink-driving conviction will have the option of installing an ignition lock activated by a breathalyser. If the driver has been drinking the engine won’t start.
A second blow will be required between five and 30 minutes later, ensuring they remain below the drink-drive limit, and to prevent the driver asking someone else to take the test.
They hope that drink-driving offenders who ignore their convictions will be less likely to reoffend as a result.
Around 600,000 drivers in France do so without a permit, either because it has been removed or they haven’t taken a test. The move aims to help people keep their jobs if they are found to be driving over the limit.
The legal limit in France is 0.5mg/ml of alcohol per litre, compared to 0.8mg/ml in the UK. The new proposal will allow drivers caught with 0.8-1.8mg/ml to take part in the breathalyser scheme for six months.
The devices, known as EADs (ethylotest anti-démarrage) have been compulsory on French buses since 2015.
The device costs £1,100 or £85 per month to be fitted to their ignition.