Baptists and Bootleggers – French Edition (French Required to Have Breathalyzers in Cars)

According to the BBC, a new French law makes it “compulsory for drivers to carry a breathalyser kit in their vehicles or risk an on-the-spot fine.”  This new mandate, of course, is designed for safety.  I mean, what else could it be for?  An MSN article on the new law dutifully reports this aspect: “About 4,000 people each year are killed in traffic accidents in France, and many are alcohol-related. The government hopes the new law saves at least 500 lives annually.”  End of story, right?  No.

The MSN article that first caught my attention only mentions the new law and the safety angle.  After reading it, my first thought was that there must be an organized interest behind the law that stands to make a ton of money.  Fortunately, the MSNBC article provides a link to the BBC story.  And there, we see “the rest of the story” (as Paul Harvey used to say):

Tens of millions of the kits are going to have to be supplied, but right now there is a shortage, which is one reason for the four-month grace period, our correspondent says.  He adds that the new rule is proving a bonanza for manufacturers, of which there are only two in France. Meanwhile, drivers’ groups opposing the measure say it has been foisted on France by clever industry lobbying.

I have no doubt that there were some well-intentioned people hoping and arguing for such a policy change.  And drunk-driving is a scourge on the driving public.  But I bet that the clinching argument was made by lobbyists representing the manufacturers.  Once again, we see Baptists and Bootleggers working together to increase the scope of the state to satisfy their self-interest.

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