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New France Driving Rules

Sussex Transport’s freight department can arrange shipments worldwide.  We recently arranged a shipment of goods to Cognac in France.

The town gives its name to one of the world’s best-known types of brandy. Drinks must be made in certain areas around the town of Cognac and must be made according to strictly-defined regulations to be granted the name Cognac.  Cognac is a unique spirit in that it is double-distilled. This process can be viewed in one of the many “Grande Marque” Cognac houses. Most central in the town are Hennessy, Martell, Otard, Camus and Remy Martin. About 15 km (9.32 mi) East of Cognac is Jarnac, home to Courvoisier.

The French Government announced officially in March that all vehicles (excluding mopeds) must carry a single-use breathalyser kit from 1st November 2012. The move, which has been widely reported for some time, will be effective from the 1st November

You will need to carry a French NF-Approved Digital Breathalyser Kit. A Disposable Breathalyser Kit is the cheapest solution. The French police are suggesting vehicles carry at least two, so that if one is used by the driver a second remains for inspection but the law requires either an NF approved digital breathalyser or one unused breathalyser kit.

The French police (Gendarme) will NOT ask you to use your own kit – you simply have to carry a kit in the vehicle, the same as you need to carry a Hi Vis Jacket & Warning Triangle.

If your breathalyser is not NF Approved, then unless you are really lucky and come across a very friendly Gendarme, you will be fined. To be approved it MUST have a bag to blow into and MUST have the NF logo on the packaging.

French Police are expected to carry out random checks on drivers crossing into France via Calais to enforce the new rules.
The French drink-driving limit is 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood, substantially below the UK’s limit of 80mg.

Motorists found with a level of between 50mg and 80mg of alcohol in their blood can be fined 135 euros (£112) and lose six out of 12 points on their driving licence. A driver who is over the limit in France also risks a fine of 4,500 euros (£3,744), losing their licence and being sent to prison for up to two years.

Those drivers caught without a kit will face a fine of 11 euros (£9) but the French authorities have said there will be a transitional period until November before police start issuing penalties.