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Aug 14, 2012 04:02 AM


From over in Chowhound Cookware:

"Yep. As of July 1, all motorists in France are required to keep two tests in their car at all times, so you can check your levels before getting behind the wheel (because, yeah, who does THAT?)

they're not writing tickets or fining anyone until November...but I figure it can't bode well to open the glovebox and have a corkscrew hanging out next to the ethylotests...."

Is this for real? Do rental cars come with this test kit?

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    1. (since I'm the writer of your quote)

      I have a vivid imagination, but even I couldn't dream up a requirement to have ethylotests in your car.

      The car agencies all swear that they'll be in the car, along with the high-visibility vest and warning triangles that are also required and which DO carry a fine if they find you don't have them. (Always a good idea to check that they're there before you leave the rental lot.)

      The good news is that if they're not in your car, the ethylotests are about €2 for a two-pack and are widely available -- the warning triangles and vest have been law for several years now, so SHOULD be in the car, but are less than €10 if you should have to buy them).

      At this particular moment, they can't pull you over to check for ethylotests -- only if they pull you over for something else (I believe it's the same with the vest and triangles, but I'm not certain). And as in the quote, no fines until November, after which time the fine will be €11.

      1. And what is the best ethylotest ? I mean, taste-wise... you know... since this is a food site ;)

        1. In fact, the new law only requires you to have _one_ unused alco-test at hand to show police. In other words, you have to have this test in your car, but you must never actually use it… Of course they recommend for you to buy two or more, and the supposed goal of the legislation is to get people into the habit of testing themselves before driving, but there is nothing in the implementation of the law to encourage any of that. The law actually discourages self-testing, because it could cost you 11 euros. So the main result will be the manufacture of millions of kits whose sole purpose is to sit around untouched until they expire.

          3 Replies
          1. re: DeppityDawg

            It didn't get much press, but I saw a short blurb a few weeks ago that said there's now some pushback because it has come out now that the head of the French anti-drunk-driving association (like M.A.D.D.) **just happens** to be the CEO of a French manufacturer of ethylotests, who **just happened** to be facing bankruptcy when the law was passed, amid the suspicion that there **just might** be a conflict of interest here.

            Welcome To France.

            1. re: sunshine842

              Well, but think of all the jobs he has been able to create… I would almost prefer it if they passed a law requiring everyone to pay one or two euros into a fund that would just be given as a gift to this man and his friends. At least we would avoid the mind-boggling waste of resources required for manufacturing and distributing these tests that will just end up in the garbage, unopened.

              1. re: DeppityDawg

                But that would take away the money from his employees, his suppliers, and all of the supply chain that at least gets a little of the ill-gotten gains.

                And those jobs won't last very long -- once everyone in the country has two tests in their car, the demand all but disappears...yes, we'll all have to buy new kits before these expire, but they last for 2 or 3 years (can't remember exactly).

                I haven't seen the financials for this company...but the fact that he was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy calls his management skills into question at some point -- and the value of a product that needs a law to sustain it.

          2. There is so much demand for these tests now, at least here in Provence, that you can't even buy them, at least not the cheap ones. I have seen 20+ euro kits available, but most go for about one euro if you can find them. I have two that I got free at wine tastings here.