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Alcohol limits for drivers in France

We're two couples planning a driving vacation throughout southern France, which will include visiting wineries and dining out. My question concerns the limits for alcohol as applied to the driver of a car. The French drink-driving limit is 50mg of alcohol in 100ml of blood and the penalties for breaking the law are severe (rightly so). The two drivers (both men) weigh about 180 and 225. About how much wine would it take to reach that limit? Is one glass too much?

Obviously, the best course of action is a zero alcohol policy for the driver, and that's the plan, but I want to be armed with information in case there's a temptation for either to drink at a winery or restaurant before driving.


Posted by
9110 posts

Please provide the metabolism rate of each individual or input it yourself into the following formula:

x ~sqrt m(j+Pl) / 5.6557 *R / mls

Also required is the total blood volume of each individual. You will note the need to drain, measure, and replace expeditiously.

Posted by
8889 posts

180 and 225 what? Furlongs per fortnight?
If in doubt, don't.

Posted by
638 posts

There is no need for snarky/sarcastic comments. If you can't respect a persons questions why can't you just ignore it? It has been posted on this board in the past that sometimes regular contributors can be less than friendly to newer posters, this is a case. 180 and 225, she clearly states that is their weight.

Brenda, don't let anyone bend to the temptation. It's one thing to be placed under arrest at home for DUI, the cost, the time, the potential embarrassment are just some of the factors. But to be subject to the laws of a foreign country where as your question points out you're not familiar with brings along a whole new set of problems. I can't imagine what it would be like to be arrested in a foreign country and then subject to spending the night in jail. Then having to hire an attorney, the fines that will probably be substantial and whatever else may be involved. Why take the chance of destroying a glorious vacation when you have a well thought out plan in place?

Posted by
8964 posts

I suggest they take turns being the DD. That way no one misses out entirely, and no one has to worry that the driver that day is over the legal limit.

Posted by
6138 posts

Just comparing, I believe we would express that limit as 0.05, the same as most of the EU...most States here in the US are now 0.08. Generic information out there typically says that the average guy could imbibe about one glass of wine an hour (or several small samples) and stay under. Women or people weighing less of course less than that, having a bit more in the first hour is OK as well. I think I would tend to be more conservative, take turns, bring some bread or something else to soak up the wine in your stomach.

The up side is that if anything it might force you to take it slow, enjoy the winery or meal.

Posted by
8889 posts

The answer "if in doubt, don't" is good advice. One glass may be OK, but any alcohol can put you over the limit. If stopped and found over the limit they take your licence away on the spot. Which means, unless there is another legal driver in the car (and authorised by the car hire company), you have to use taxis for the rest of your time.

Re: "180 and 225". I know it said weight. But there were no units. In Britain peoples weights are measured in Stones, in most of the rest of the world in Kg. As my old physics teacher used to say, "if you don't put the units the figure is meaningless, and the answer is wrong".

Posted by
638 posts

Your old physics teacher is correct, but this is not a classroom or a laboratory, no one is getting a grade here, and it doesn't make the comment any less snarky.
It's reasonable to believe she meant pounds and not British stones or KG by doing some simple math.
185 stones would be 2590 pounds
225 Kg would be 496 pounds
Sometimes it's not safe to make assumptions but in this case I think it is.

Posted by
28442 posts

180 and 225

Both figures are well within the bounds of possibility as either pounds or kilograms and the answer is dependent on correct information.

Regardless of if they are small men or very large men, not drinking and driving is the best policy.

Posted by
552 posts

Just avail yourselves of the spittoons that are provided at wineries and walk or take a taxi to the restaurants.

Posted by
507 posts

I am in agreement with Paul with a few thoughts of my own.
Check with your local police dept regarding this question. They are more in tune with this subject.
Your DHs' weight is not the only contributing factor. Medical conditions can play a factor, also.

{Addition . . . In my state the DUI is .08. My training in serving alcohol is the same as above -- one alcohol drink is ok per hour.

Reason: It takes an hour for 1 glass of wine, 1 beer, or one mixed drink to clear one's system.

Aside from reasons given already, various medications can intensify the intoxication effects of alcohol.}

Posted by
10344 posts

A DUI would be a terrible thing to have happen to you on your European vacation, or even have to worry about.
It's understandable that when in France/Italy/etc, do as the locals do and enjoy drinking. Europeans of course drink but many are taking public transportation so DUI is not an issue for them.
If you're driving a rental car, hopefully there is one member of your travel party who doesn't drink, or drinks only a little, and can be the designated driver--and it would be essential to have that person set up on the rental contract as an authorized driver.

Posted by
1277 posts

another route would be to have dinner and them take a bottle of wine back to your accommodations and the four of you could split it as a night cap. we did that in Ireland quite memorably..........

Posted by
761 posts

A simple answer is to buy your own breathalyzer and check before driving. France already requires that you have a breathalyzer in the car but, if memory serves, it is only a one time use device so it is not of that much value inn the scenario you are describing. A better solution is to pay the extra ten bucks a day to have a second driver on the rental contract and the guys take turns being the designated driver. I am blessed with a history of gout and kidney stones so there is no wine or beer worth the potential consequences.

Thee information you need to confront temptation is the sure knowledge that if one is caught, things will get very ugly very fast and even more expensive. Should you have even the slightest fender bender the ugliness and expense will be raised to a power. When it comes to driving, Europeans have no sense of humor.