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Italy: Fines Updated, Auto Tax Refund Scheme Created Under New Traffic Code

(Feb. 18, 2021) On December 31, 2020, Italy’s Ministry of Justice issued a Decree updating the fines established for violations of the Traffic Code. The Decree became effective on January 1, 2021. (Decree, art. 3.)

Indexing of Fines for Traffic Violations

The new legislation updates the amounts of the administrative pecuniary penalties established under article 195(3) of Italy’s new Traffic Code, based on the variation of the consumer price index applicable to workers and employees in the previous two years, as determined by the National Statistics Institute, minus 0.2%, according to the tables included in the Decree. (Decree, art. 1.)

Explanation of the Adjustments

As a result of the indexing, the highest fines—that is, those over €250 (about US$301)—have been reduced by -0.2%, while those under that amount remain unchanged.

Other adjustments include a cashback option for auto insurance and tax payments, effective on January 1, 2021. Under this option, the new legislation includes the novelty that, in addition to refunds for fines and insurance payments, tax payments are now also subject to the refund in an amount equivalent to 10% of payments made with credit cards, debit cards or payment apps when at least 50 transactions are made within six months, without any minimum amount of expenditure, with a cap of €150 (about US$180), even if the expenditure for the previous six months was over €1,500 (about US$1,800).

A Pending Amendment

Other more stringent amendments to the Traffic Code were debated during the discussion of the new legislation, but were eventually postponed for future consideration. Such proposals include, for example, the raising of fines for the use of a telephone while driving to between €422 (about US$508) and €1,697 (about US$2,043), with a suspension of the driver’s license from seven days to two months, plus the curtailment of five points from the driver’s license.

Unlike traffic codes in US states, which typically add points to a driver’s license for traffic infractions, Italy’s code deducts them. Each new driver receives 20 points upon obtaining a license, but the balance is updated periodically. Points are lost for traffic offenses, but two points can be earned if two years pass without the driver having committed an offense.

The amendments would establish that, in the event of recidivism, the penalty rises to €2,588 (about US$3,117), plus suspension of the driver’s license from one to three months, in addition to the deduction of 10 points from the driver’s license.