Tales From The Cooler: France Forces All Drivers to Buy Breathalyzers. This Is Not A Joke.
On July 1, all 37 million car owners in France were required to spend 2 Euros for a disposable breathalyzer to be kept in their vehicles at all times. Failure to do so will result in a fine of 11 Euros. Lest you think this is a weak attempt at a parody of the French and their love of wine, go here.
French officials claim this law will reduce drunk driving deaths, even though the law does not require drivers to ever actually use the device. The government’s rationale is that inebriated individuals will “think twice” before driving when they catch a glimpse of their breathalyzer.
The public is outraged, not only by the sheer silliness of the mandate. It turns out the new law was driven by good old-fashioned government corruption.
A gentleman named Daniel Orgeval is an executive of Contralco, the only breathalyzer company in France and one which will likely garner up to 90% of the breath tester biz. He also heads up an anti-drunk driving group called I-Test, the organization that led the lobbying effort to get the law passed. Amazingly, Orgeval never hid his association with Contralco from France’s Parliament.
The details of who Orgeval paid off and how much was shelled out have yet to surface, but you can bet they will.
Let the jokes begin….
Beyond being a boondoggle, this is also likely to backfire. Some years ago, Aussie bars were installing breathalyzers to allow patrons to check if they were good to drive before leaving. They started pulling them out once patrons took to competing to see who could blow the highest reading.
A good idea but they really could have gone further with this law. They should have mandated a built in Breathalyzer that prevents a intoxicated person from starting the vehicle. While this would be a far more expensive idea the government could subsidize the cost for people who can't not afford it.
If I'm pulled over and the police officer's breathalyzer says .12 and mine says .06, is mine admissible in court? If not, what's the purpose?