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New breath test urged on French

Paris: French drivers risk heavier penalties if they continue with their traditional drinking habits.

Motorists are being urged to breath-test themselves in a renewed effort to reduce the 3,000 road deaths a year in which alcohol is a factor, writes Susanne Lawry in Paris.

The permitted level of alcohol in the blood was cut from 0-7 to 0-5 grammes of alcohol per 100 ml of blood, and drivers were warned that two glasses is the maximum. In Britain it is 80 mg, the same as most European countries. The size of the glasses is clearly defined: two wine glasses or two “half” glasses of beer.

Bernard Pons, the Transport Minister, has launched a self testing kit at the subsidized price of five francs (about 60 p). He will be sold at petrol stations and shops. Penalties will be stiff — between 5 and 8 milligram’s, offenders will receive three points on their licences and be fined J 100. Above 8 milligrammes they risk losing their licences for up to five years, being fined more than J 3,000 and, if in a serious accident, up to two years in jail.

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