The French Government has introduced a new law requiring all drivers on French roads to carry a breathalyser kit in the car at all times.
The new law, contained in Article 3 of Decree 2012-284 makes it an offence to drive a vehicle on French roads without carrying a breathalyser kit. Drivers breaking the new law will face an on-the-spot fine of €11.
Although the law officially comes into force today, Article 6 will not be enforced until 1 November 2012.
The law targets all drivers including foreign passport holders and drivers of foreign vehicles on French roads, meaning that Britons driving to France after 1 November 2012 will need to carry a kit with them in the car.
The French police have stated that they will carry out random checks on vehicles at ferry ports and for those entering France via the Channel Tunnel.
Retailers in the UK claim there has been an upsurge in sales of the devices by drivers travelling to France for their summer holidays, despite the fact that the new law will not be enforced till November. Halfords say they are selling the kits at a rate of one every minute in the UK at present.
It is hoped that the new law will help save around 500 lives a year on French roads by cutting the prevalence of drink driving. The idea is that drivers who have had a drink can check whether they are safe to drive using the kit in their car, and can then choose to leave the vehicle if they discover they are over the limit.
The laws on drink driving are already tougher in France, with the blood alcohol content limit set at 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood. In the UK that limit currently stands at 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.
French motorists have rushed to buy the devices, but the law still seems bizarre to some.
"I find it absurd to be booked for that. But it's the law, so I'll be subject to it," said French motorist Hamou Louachiche.