Cour de Cassation, Second Civil Chamber, (pourvoi no. 04-17.428)Bull.civ. 2005. II. No. 246 p. 220
13 October 2005
Translated by:
Tony Weir
Professor B. S. Markesinis

To drive a motor vehicle when drunk or drugged constitutes a fault under article 4 of the Law of 5 July 1985 such as  to reduce or exclude the compensation claimable by the driver..

In view of articles 4 and 6 of the Law of 5 July 1985:

Given that the first of these texts provides for the reduction or exclusion of the compensation payable to a driver who is at fault, and that driving under the influence of drink or drugs constitutes such a fault;

Given that, according to the judgment under attack, when M.Maltete was riding his motorcycle after indulging in alcohol and cannabis he was fatally injured in an accident involving a vehicle driven by M. Boyer and insured by MACIF, and that damages were claimed by his children, Julia and Marc, represented by their mother, Mme Julien, for their personal loss;

Given that in holding M. Boyer and his insurer liable in solidum, the court below stated that notwithstanding scientific evidence that the presence of alcohol or cannabis in the body can adversely affect one’s reflexes, no such effect occurred in this case where the amount of alcohol in the blood was only 0.90 grams, the amount of cannabis only slight, and the accident was due entirely to the fault of M. Boyer;

Given that in so deciding after finding that M. Maltete was driving under the influence of  drink and drugs and that the harm was  thus due to his fault,  the conduct of the other driver being irrelevant, the court of appeal violated the texts cited above;

For these reasons quashes and annuls ….

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