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A Breathalyzer of fresh air? Drunk tests now mandatory in all French vehicles

A breathalyzer test machine.

All vehicles travelling on French roads must carry a chemical or electronic Breathalyzer test starting Sunday, under new rules aimed at reducing alcohol-driven accidents.

"Alcohol has been the main cause of mortality on roads since 2006," according to road security authorities.

About a third of fatalities on French roads is due to drunk driving, a rate that far surpasses the 17 per cent recorded in Britain or 10 per cent in Germany.

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According to a survey published Sunday, just over half of respondents – 57 per cent – said they have yet to equip their vehicles with Breathalyzer tests.

Those who fail to do so risk a fine of €11 ($14) from November 1, 2012, when the penalty comes into force.

Drivers are split over the measure.

"I find it absurd to be booked for that. But it's the law, so I'll be subject to it," said Hamou Louachiche, 38, who still does not have a test in his car.

He believes that such tests would be more useful in bars or nightclubs.

Others however welcome the measure, saying it would reduce drunk driving.

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