Single Use Breathalyzers; Manditory For All Drivers in France

From The Local:

France is battling drink-driving (sic) by forcing every car driver, including visitors to the country, to carry a single-use breathalyzer kit from July.

Officials at the transport ministry confirmed to The Local on Monday that the rules will apply to anyone driving on French roads, including foreigners visiting the country.

The good news for them is that anyone caught without the kit will not immediately face the €11 ($14) fine. Police are to be instructed to start issuing fines only from November.

A departmental spokesperson told us that the start date for the new measure has been pushed back to July 1st 2012, a time when many foreign visitors take to the country’s roads for their holidays. (MORE)

Pretty bold move and one that I’m sure has the possibility to save lives.  French drivers are already required to carry first aid kits, fire extinguishers and spare bulbs for car lamps, lenses and reflectors (and face a fine of they do not).  Maybe that’s why the French are such poor drivers, they have too much stuff in their car! (ha)

When I first heard about this story it sounded like they had to use the breathalyzer each time they started the car.  I’ve since found that they need to have them in the car for use on themselves before driving.  At €1.50 ($1.99 US) it’s not that much of an expense.

The questions I have is this…  How long until this gets introduced to the US roadways?  What if auto makers made it a standard accessory in all new automobiles like anti-lock brakes and air bags?  If you’re not sure you’re legal to drive you would have a tool right there that would tell you the result.  Unfortunately if it were to lock out the ignition upon a high reading people would not use them (unless it was mandatory to start the car, and that would be met with a LOT of resistance).

I think we can all agree drinking and driving is a problem.  It’s been a problem for a while now and there have note been very many effective ways to make a difference.  What do you think?  Is France leading the way to a solution for drunk driving?

French Baguettes

I started baking bread a few years ago & have become hooked.  It’s amazing how small changes in ingredients, technique and even weather can effect the finished product.  This recipe yields 3-4 loaves depending on how you divide the dough.  Leftover bread can be frozen for breadcrumbs and day-old Baguettes can be used for french toast!

French Baguettes

1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons salt
3 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
Cornmeal, for dusting
Egg or Milk, for brushing

In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water; stir to blend. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the salt. Add the flour, a little at a time, mixing at the lowest speed until most of the flour has been incorporated and the dough forms a ball. Continue to mix at the lowest speed until the dough has become a sticky ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl; about 4 to 5 minutes.

Dust the counter lightly with flour. Knead the dough by hand for a minute and form into a ball. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let it sit in a warm spot for 2 hours to rise.

To form the baguettes: Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces. Press each piece of dough into a rectangle and fold the long sides up into the middle. Roll each into a log, taking care to close the seam. Taper the ends by gently rolling it back and forth. Lay the dough on a perforated baguette pan (or a sheet pan that is dusted with cornmeal) and cover with a towel. Let the baguettes rise for another 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

With a lame (bread slashing tool) or a very sharp knife, make 4 or 5 diagonal slashes across the top of each loaf. Brush the tops of the loaves with egg (or milk). Bake for 40 minutes, until the bread is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.