Could French legislation curbed at cutting drunk driving deaths catch on here in the US?
Could international efforts to combat drunk driving affect how we fight the problem on US soil? In France, a new law now requires all drivers to carry two breathalyzer kits in their vehicle. It’s a unique – and controversial – approach that aims at getting drivers to check their own alcohol level before getting behind the wheel and driving while impaired. French drivers are given a four-month grace period to purchase the kits. Those who don’t comply after that time can be fined 11 euros (roughly $14).
France is known for its wine production and consumption. The country is now also becoming known for drunk driving deaths – something officials want to stop. There were approximately 4,000 road deaths in France in 2011, with around 30 percent of those being alcohol-related.
Critics of the new law question the ability of inebriated drivers to self-police and make sound judgments. Others complain that it’s simply a boon for breathalyzer manufacturers and an inconvenience since the product is already in short supply in France.
That hasn’t stopped some US advocacy groups against drunk driving from wishing a similar law was in place here, citing its ability to save lives. Drunk driving continues to be involved in one-third of traffic-related deaths in the US, or roughly 11,000 deaths per year.
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