Could Canada Be Next To Follow In France's Footsteps?
A recent article featured in The Globe And Mail announced that France has successfully passed a law requiring that ALL motorists carry a breathalyzer in their cars effective July 1, 2012. After November 2012, French police will begin charging a fine of 11 euros (approximately $15) to anyone caught without a certified device in their car.
In past years, France has had fairly relaxed attitudes towards drinking in driving. This new breathalyzer law is said to be part of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s efforts to change France’s lackadaisical mentality towards impaired driving and reduce France’s road fatality records, which have topped out at a staggering 4000 cases annually, one third of which are reportedly alcohol related.
France is officially the first country to impose this, for which they deserve applause. That being said, many have criticized the law for failing to state that drivers must actually use the devices, rather than simply having a device in their cars at all times. Furthermore, nothing is in place to prevent drivers from asking sober friends to breathe into their devices for them. This is an issue for Canada as well, particularly in regards to ignition-lock devices installed for repeat offenders. Additionally, the new breathalyzer law does not apply to moped riders. Despite these issues, France’s new breathalyzer rules are certainly a step in the right direction. One can only hope that they lead by example.
When can we hope to see such laws in Canada?
There is certainly room for improvement when it comes to drinking and driving laws the world over. France has reduced their blood-alcohol limit to 0.05, which is now on par with that of British Columbia and Ontario. However, countries such as Sweden and Norway currently have a limit of 0.02.
At any rate, the harsh penalties and laws associated with drinking and driving that we do have should not prove to be a stronger deterrent than the very real possibility of harming yourself or others should you decide to drink and drive. We must all take initiative and be personally responsible for our safety and that of others. Looking to purchase a reliable, accurate, yet affordable device for your car? Try the BacTrack Element Personal Alcohol Breathalyzer.