Press release


Tuesday 20 March 2012

· New rule requiring motorists to carry a breathalyser from 1st July
· More than 2 million over 50s will be taking their car abroad this year


New research by Saga reveals that 2.3 million** over 50s plan to drive their car abroad this year. Whilst most are now aware of the need to take warning triangles and reflective jackets with them to drive on the continent some 1.8 million may fall foul of the latest French driving regulations. 

Only 8% of over 50s planning on driving in France this year plan to take a breathalyser with them, which means the vast majority could find themselves in trouble with French officialdom.  From 1st July this year anyone driving in France will be required to have an unused breathalyser, conforming to French standards, with them in the car.  Breathalyser kits cost around £2 each, but the fine for not having one will set people back €11, this could leave the over 50s facing up to €20 million Euros in French fines this year.

Roger Ramsden, Chief Executive, Saga Services, commented: “There needs to be a huge drive to make people aware of this new law, whilst 98% of us now know that we ought to pack a warning triangle when we drive in France, only 8% plan to take a breathalyser.  For many British motorists the French welcome this summer may be less ooh la la and more oh my god as they present you with an €11 fine.”

“The requirement is to carry one breathalyser, however we would advise people to take two, as if they have to use one, they will need a spare to produce if asked.”

Saga’s European driving survey, showed the over 50s to be an adventurous bunch, whilst 88% say they drive in France, one in ten drive as far as Italy and a fifth tour to Spain.  And they generally go prepared – around 90% remember their reflective jacket and first aid kit, almost 40% pack a blanket and a quarter make sure they have some biscuits in the car!

Saga advises all motorists planning to drive on the continent to check the rules of the road for each country they plan to drive through.  A warning triangle, reflective jacket and a first aid kit are required most EU countries, but rules on speed limits, safe alcohol limits and many other driving laws vary from country to country.

Saga offers one of the best insurance policies on the market for motoring abroad.Cover for driving in the EU is included as standard, there is no maximum trip duration and customers have the same level of cover abroad as they have at home.


Notes to editors
*Of the UK’s 21m over 50s, 2.3m plan to drive abroad this year, 88% of these will drive in France (2.02m), 8% of these will take a breathalyser with them, leaving 1.8m without one, each of these could be fined €11 = €20m total fines possible.

**Saga Populus poll interviewed 10,862 Saga customers, all aged 50+, online between 20th February and 27th February 2012. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules; for more information see

About Saga Car Insurance
Saga insures more than 1m motorists in the UK, features of Saga Car Insurance include:

· Any driver with a full licence can drive your car if you are involved in a medical or motoring emergency, provided you are in the car at the time

· Saga provides 'get you home' cover in the event your car is immobile following an accident, which enables you to claim travelling and/or hotel expenses of up to £500

· If you take your car abroad, Saga automatically includes cover in the European Union at no extra cost and for an unlimited period

· Your No Claim Discount will not be affected if you make a claim for damage caused by vandals.