While people in our country were throwing around the word “socialist” about certain political officials, an actual socialist country, France, went about implementing a law that mandates drivers carry breathalyzers at all times. There are two reasons this could have happened: 1) the legal drinking age in France is 18, making it easier for younger, more reckless drivers to acquire alcohol in unsafe quantities and, 2) makers of breathalyzers lobbied the heck out of their government to put the policies in place.
The whole thing is causing a bit of a brouhaha in France where, this week, the country started to require drivers to carry the alcohol-sensing devices, lest they face fines equivalent to $14. After the next four months, the country will end its leeway period for the law, first introduced by former French president Nicolas Sarkozy. At such time, the French shortage of breathalyzers the country is reportedly undergoing should be alleviated, and the country will start its crackdown.
The new law was heavily lobbied for by makers of breathalyzers. “If this is lobbying, then I say yes, because we lobbied for road safety and for road users,” said Daniel Orgeval, president of the breathalizer lobby I-Test and an employee of breathalyzer maker Contralco, said on Europe 1 radio. “And if it helps create jobs for a French company, then so much the better.”
Each year, approximately 5,000 people die from alcohol-related deaths behind the wheel in France. That’s less than half as many as the U.S.’s approximately 11,000 deaths. But then consider that France’s population roughly five times smaller than the U.S.
Not only will French drivers be required to carry breathalyzers on themselves at all times, but drivers from other countries will have to have them when traveling in France. If the measure proves successful, there’s a potential it could make its way to the U.S. Although we suspect it would face a much tougher time getting through the legal system here than it did France.
Source: NY Daily News