I noticed that UK retailer sell packs of breathalysers for motorists intending to drive cars to France.

An RAC web-page says

While driving in France you are required by law to carry the following items. Hefty on-the-spot fines can be issued for failing to carry specific items:


Breathalysers/alcohol test (As of January 2013 the French government announced that the introduction of an €11 fine has been postponed indefinitely)

Another website says

Since April 2013, carrying a brethalyzer with you in the car has been obligatory in France... by law - at least in theory. BUT this is a wonderful law that you are free to observe or not observe, as there is no penalty for drivers caught without a brethalyzer in their car.

Single-use certified breathalyzers are now available in many supermarkets, chemists and garages throughout France, at a cost of about 1 €uro each. So the cost is minimal.

Contrary to information posted on some sites, the new law (Decree no 2012-284) does not oblige drivers to self-test after having a drink. But those who plan to self-test to be on the safe side should have at least two breathalyzers in the car, if not more.

So what does French law actually require?

  • Do drivers visiting France need to obtain and carry these?

  • What are drivers expected to do with them, if anything?

  • What exactly happens if you are stopped by French police and found not to have them.

  • What happens if you are stopped by police on an autoroute, required to use one of your two single-use breathalysers and left without two breathalysers? Do you call a taxi?

1 Answer 1


As mentioned in this official webpage, the list of mandatory accessory in a car in France is :

  • a reflecting jacket
  • a security triangle
  • a breathalyser

Nevertheless, it is also explicitly mentioned that the lack of a breathalyser isn't submitted to a penalty. You are therefore actually not required to have one in your car.

You can be submitted to an alcohol test on the police's own breathalyser, or to a blood analysis.

Don't drink and drive !

  • 5
    I'll add that the police probably can't fine you with your own breathanalyzer since they don't know if it's even legit so they'll use their own. Also I think they dropped the idea of making a sanction because of how useless the idea is. If you want peace of mind, just buy two, throw them in the car, and forget about them.
    – Formagella
    Commented Jul 4, 2015 at 11:29

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