The breathalyzer is a small disposable device that measures one's blood alcohol content. For the tests approved by the French government, drivers simply blow into the tube before getting behind the wheel. The crystals inside the tube change color according to the level of alcohol on your breath, indicating whether or not you should be driving (based on a legal blood alcohol level of 0.5 grams per liter of blood).
Drivers were originally required to carry the test in their cars beginning July 1st, 2012; anyone caught driving without one risked an 11-euro fine as of November 1st.
With the four-month grace period coming to a close, the government is once more pushing back the deadline for individuals to procure a breathalyzer test due to the product's unavailability. Indeed, most major outlets, including pharmacies, supermarkets and gas stations that are supposed to carry breathalyzers, have been out of stock for months. Motorists now have until March 1st, 2013 to get a test.
But even then it's not certain we will actually need one. This article suggests that Interior Minister Manual Valls might be "...considering whether to drop the measure altogether..."
Whichever way the decision falls in four month's time, there's one effective measure that seems to get lost amidst the passing of laws and the scramble to industrialize and transport and sell and buy millions of breathalyzer tests: if you drink, don't drive and if you drive, don't drink.
Nearly 4,000 people will thank you for it this year alone.