British motorists are being warned they are TWENTY times more likely to be breathalysed in France than in the UK.
The gendarmes tested 109 drivers per 1000 population in 2021, compared to just 5 per 1000 in Britain. With the drink drive limit across Europe also much lower than England & Wales, it’s all too easy to flout the law whilst motoring abroad this Summer.
Spain conducts 96 roadside breath tests per 1000 inhabitants, whilst in Austria it’s 155 and in Portugal it’s 160.
If you happen to be heading for Estonia, the figure is 576 per 1000 – over half the population tested every year.
The English and Welsh legal limit is 80mg of alcohol per 100mL of blood – the highest in Europe. In France and most other European countries, it’s 50mg.
But British drivers are blissfully unaware it takes less alcohol to break the law abroad. In a survey conducted by breathalyser firm AlcoSense, only 17% of respondents could correctly state the drink drive limit in France.
The penalties are severe. If you’re caught above the English limit of 80mg in France, you face a hefty fine of up to €4,500 and potentially a two-year prison sentence.
“It’s far easier than you think to be under the influence the morning after a few drinks the night before,” comments Hunter Abbott, Managing Director of AlcoSense.
“If you drink four pints of medium-strong beer or four large glasses of wine, it can take as long as 14 hours for the alcohol to completely clear your system.
“A twin pack of single-use breathalysers, officially certified to French NF standards, will set you back £5.99 but it takes the guesswork out of the equation.
“The other point to bear in mind is that random breath testing is carried out in all European countries except Germany and Malta. In the UK, you can only be tested if you’ve committed a traffic offence, been involved in an accident or Police have reason to suspect you’ve been drinking”.
Drink drive limits are even lower in other European countries.
In Poland, Sweden and Estonia it’s 20mg of alcohol per 100mL of blood – whilst in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania the limit is literally zero.