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French producers cry foul over drink-drive campaign

A French wine producers association is suing the government over a drink-driving campaign it claims shows wine as the main cause of accidents.

In the campaign a car is depicted as a wine bottle, with the label obscuring the driver’s vision. Producers are concerned that the campaign singles out wine as the cause of drink-driving and will further decrease wine sales – the average French adult now drinks 58 litres of a wine a year compared to 91 litres in 1980.

The association, Vin et Societe, claims the campaign is an infringement of a law that says public safety campaigns should not discriminate between different products.

Road safety campaigners are adamant that the image is neccessary – 2500 people died on French roads as a result of drink-driving in 2001 and wine is the drink most often linked to accidents.

The legal blood-alcohol limit in France is 0.5gm per litre and the Transport Ministry believes lives would be saved if drivers respected the limit. France has one of the highest road casualty rates in the developed world.

Written by Josie Butchart6 August 2002

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