In the wake of the sentence of a 75-euro fine – and a suspended jail sentence – handed out to the youth who overturned a Porsche on ave Princesse Grace in the early hours of New Year’s Day, having side-swiped several other cars while travelling at 70 kph, the attention of several NEWS.MC readers has turned to the problem of drunk driving in Monaco.

The editor-in-chief sent me some emails and told me to write something non-controversial, nothing that would cause offence on racial grounds, for example.

The first correspondent said that she and her husband decided to go to Nobu, where the sushi chef is incredibly talented and has the best quality ingredients in Monaco. As they live in Fontvieille and it is too far to walk after a hard day at work, the lady in question tried to use the Taxi Monaco app, but this is so bothersome she ended up using the MC Taxi hotline and had immediate success.

“We always have a wonderful experience with every MC taxi driver. We have regular favourites for airport travel and pre-bookings made days in advance,” she added.

However, a few days later the lady called the Taxi MC hotline around 19:30 only to find out that there were no taxis available: “We decided to drive over, park the car in the Larvotto underground parking lot and come back the next day to retrieve it. It costs us 20 euro to park overnight which is the same amount we would have paid the taxi driver, which is 15 euros plus tip.”

“As we walked to pick up the car the next morning, we asked ourselves some questions. How many people decide to drive to and from a venue in Monaco/Cote d’Azur under the influence because they can’t rely on getting a safe ride? How can we create more alternative and reliable forms of transportation during the evening and early morning hours when the streets are most vulnerable to DUI drivers? Perhaps we can start by allowing taxi drivers from surrounding countries to operate during the peak DUI hours?”

Another reader wrote in on the same topic.

While we were waiting patiently for assistance at a garage in Beausoleil, a woman stormed in, ignored the queue and demanded attention from the manager. She proceeded to explain that she had crashed her new sports car near the Condamine the night before and it was being towed over to the garage within the next hour. The woman gave a stack of documents to the manager and strongly suggested that they get to work on how to get her car insurance agency to pay for all the damages. 

The manager started to flip through the paperwork. The woman’s word-vomit included lines like “it wasn’t my fault.” The manager told the woman that the police report showed her blood alcohol level to be two times over the legal limit and therefore the insurance company would not pay to fix her vehicle.

The woman proceeded to argue that the police made a mistake and would change the paperwork soon, so, therefore, continue with opening a claim. She went on to say that she shouldn’t be treated like this because she is a doctor in Monaco and is very well respected. The final push was when she demanded the manager to speed up the process because her ride was waiting outside and she didn’t want to be rude.

“The manager was steadfast, told her ‘no’ and sent her on her way.
“She is lucky she didn’t kill herself or anyone else. In some parts of the world, you lose your licence for at least a year, if you don’t kill anyone, and the fines can add up to 10,000 euros if you’re caught driving under the influence, even if you don’t get into an accident.
“Intelligence doesn’t require a doctor’s degree and a doctorate doesn’t guarantee intelligence.”

These vignettes underline the problem of drunk-driving in Monaco. And I am sure there are many other tales to be told in a similar vein.

Of course, as I live in Beausoleil, I am just a cipher for these worries, a conduit for concerns, and not entitled to make my own views known on the matter as a Monaco non-resident.

Scribes in Ancient Egypt must have felt the same way, when, after a hard day on the tablets carving hieroglyphics, they had to navigate the Nile to spend the night on the wrong side of the river, far removed from the bright candles, lutes and lyres of Pharoah’s palace.

Monte-Carlo Diary is published in the interests of diversity, and any views expressed or implied do not necessarily reflect those of the publishers.