Alcohol Interlocks in France

Relevant administration

French Prefecture

Trial and entry into force

  • 2018: trial in seven french departments
  • Entry into force and extended to the entire country in 2019

Position in the legal system

Administrative until a judgement from the court

How many AI installed today ?

Since 1 January 2020, and for the first 9 months, 8,104 prefectoral decrees restricting driving with an alcohol interlock have been proposed to offenders fined at the roadside by the police, leading to the effective installation of around 1500 devices.

Who?

Offenders driving with a BAC above 0.8 g/l The alcohol interlock can be installed for a maximum duration of one year since May 2020 – it was previously six months (can be extended to five years by the judge at a later point)

Rehabilitation/medical aspects

Following an alcohol interlock measure as an alternative to licence suspension, the prefecture’s medical commission may issue an opinion to the prefect on the return of the driving licence, subject to certain conditions being met by the driver:

  • To install at their own expense an approved alcohol interlock in the vehicle they drive;
  • To carry out a medical-psychological follow-up i.e. an addiction consultation (follow-up is limited to this mandatory consultation, without any ongoing monitoring during the program and no data analysis)

Costs

  • Purchase : 1,300 euros
  • Rent : 100 euros/month The installation and operating costs of the device are the responsibility of the driver. The price of installation and dismantling in the vehicle must be added.

To facilitate the installation of the devices, the french road safety website provides users with a national map of approved installers by department and region.

Evaluation

No evaluation planned yet but several improvements have been made:

  • This alcohol interlock programme was decided as an alternative to a driving licence suspension in order to improve the existing judicial system as it was felt that the obligation to drive with an alcohol interlock was coming too late in the process.
  • In order to combat recidivism, a measure from 9 January 2018, makes it compulsory to install an alcohol interlock in the event of a repeat offence of driving under the influence of alcohol.
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