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Italy: Safety on Roads and Highways

(Nov. 2, 2007) On October 2, 2007 the Italian Parliament approved Law no. 160 raising to the category of Law, with amendments, Decree-Law no. 117 of August 3, 2007, which included urgent provisions amending the transit code to increase the levels of safety on roads and highways.

This Law imposes fines of between 2,257 and 9,032 Euros (about $3,306 to $13,232) to anyone driving a motor vehicle without a driver's license. The same fine applies to those who drive with revoked licenses or licenses that have not been renewed. Repeat offenders are subject in addition to a prison sentence of up to a year.

Violators of speed limits are punished with fines and other penalties. Those driving over 40 km/h but less than 60 km/h over the speed limit will be fined in the amount of 370 to 1,458 Euros (about $542 to $2,136) and will be punished with the suspension of their driver's license. Those traveling in excess of 60 km/h of the speed limit will receive a fine of 500 to 2,000 Euros (about $732 to $2,930) and suspension of their driver's license for between six to twelve months.

This Law amends also articles 186 and 187 of Legislative Decree no. 285 of 1992 in the area of driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. Depending upon the level of alcohol in the blood, fines imposed are in the amount of between 500 to 6,000 Euros (about $732 to $8,790), suspension of the driver's license from three months to two years, and arrest. Those driving under the influence of alcohol who cause a road accident will receive double amount of the penalties listed above and the administrative seizure of the vehicle for a period of 90 days. Those driving under the influence of narcotics or psychotropic substances will be punished with a fine of between 1,000 to 4,000 Euros (about $1,465 to $5, 860), arrest of up to three months, and suspension of the driver's license for six months to a year.

This Law also adds new norms aimed at promoting the knowledge of the risks of road accidents while driving under the influence of alcohol; and creates, within the jurisdiction of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, the Fund against night (road) accidents. (Parlamento Italiano, Gazzetta Ufficiale, no. 230, October 3, 2007.)