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'French-style' breathalyser law could help to save more lives, say alcohol safety experts

That’s according to alcohol safety experts following last week's debate in the House of Lords of a Private Members’ Bill that sought to lower the drink-drive limit in England and Wales to the same as Scotland.

In France, where the drink-drive limit has been the same as Scotland’s for many years, a legal requirement for all motorists to keep a breathalyser in their vehicle was introduced in 2012. Following its implementation the breathalyser law has made a significant contribution to road safety in France. Figures released last year by France’s road safety board the CISR reported an 8% decrease in road deaths in 2013 – just one year after the breathalyser law came into force and the lowest level of fatalities on French roads since 1948.

In comparison, in 2014 alone alcohol accounted for 5,650 accidents and 8,320 casualties on UK roads and figures for fatalities have remained static since 2010 with an increase in deaths even being recorded between 2012 and 2013.

Suzannah Robin from breathalyser and alcohol testing specialist AlcoDigital said: “The introduction of a lower drink-drive limit in England and Wales to fall in line with Scotland will save hundreds of lives. However, as results in France have shown, there is the opportunity to save dozens of more lives through the introduction of a similar breathalyser law across the UK.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.