Wine Industry Recommends 2 Drinks for Driving

Wine Industry Urges Drinking, Driving
French Winemakers Try to Counter Anti-Drunk Driving Push

ASSOCIATED PRESS

PARIS, Nov. 15 — France’s wine industry wants
drivers to know: It’s OK to have a drink for the road.
Or three.

France’s Wine Industry Encourages Drinking and Driving

11/17/2003

In an effort to counter a government campaign against drinking and
driving, French winemakers are unveiling their own campaign saying that
it’s okay to have a drink or two before driving, the Associated Press
reported Nov. 15.

“People are so afraid of the police these days that they’re not
drinking any wine at all,” said Pascal Bobillier-Monnot, director of
France’s national wine producers’ association.

The wine industry said that since the government’s current DUI
campaign began, wine sales at restaurants have dropped 15 percent. They
said the government is overreacting by telling drivers that it’s best not
to drink at all.

“We believe the government has a duty of providing information which
it has failed,” said Pascal Rousseaux, director of Afivin, an umbrella
group for wine producers, distributors, and retailers. He said drivers
should be made aware that they can drink “two or three glasses” of wine
with their meal and still be capable of driving.

France’s blood-alcohol limit is .05. “In case of doubt, the easiest
way to be sure you don’t break the limit is to refrain from drinking,”
said Transport Ministry spokeswoman Emmanuelle Dormond.

As part of French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin’s efforts to
improve road safety, police have increased road checks and the government
has implemented stricter punishments for drunk driving.

“There’s no question about it. The enforcement effort and the
government’s rhetoric have led to a drop in wine consumption in France,”
Bobillier-Monnot said.

Starting next year, Afivin plans to launch a $350,000 initiative that
would include distributing breathalyzer tests to restaurants throughout
the country. The purpose of the campaign is to convince motorists that
they don’t have to stop drinking altogether.

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