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Handy tips for safe driving in Italy

20 March 2017

In Italy violations of traffic rules and regulations can be very costly compared to other countries. It is thus advisable to familiarize with the basic traffic rules and regulations before your trip to Italy.

Speed limits

The standard speed limit on Italian highways (autostrada) is 130 km/h; on type B highways outside of major urban areas (strada extraurbana principale better known as superstrada) the general speed limit is 110 km/h; the speed limit of urban areas (strada urbana) is 50 km/h; and on local roads outside of urban areas (strada extraurbana secondaria) the speed limit is 90 km/h. (Novice drivers generally have to drive slower.)

Most major Italian highways (autostrade) are toll roads. Road signs dealing with the autostrada are green, local roads – not subject to tolls – have blue signs. Tourist attractions or other indications have brown street signs; indications in an urban area are white.

About 20 % of all Italian highways (autostrade) work with a fully automatic speed measuring system called Tutor, that allows the average speed of vehicles to be detected. Road signs saying Tutor attivo per controllo velocità or Speed control conferm that the Tutor is active and can issue fines for confirmed infringements. But on the side of the Tutor being active, normal traffic police controlls can also occur. Road signs which are attached on big boards over the highways oftentimes inform about traffic jams or ongoing roadworks. Sometimes they point out a name of a location and next to it a number like e.g., 20 meaninig that one will arrive at the location within 20 minutes when driving under the speed limit.

In Italy giving someone private first aid on highways like car towing is forbidden and can cause fines. In case of breakdown, drivers should always contact a roadside assistence service. Warning vests are a must in every car. If a driver has to get out of the car on a highway or on roads outside of urban areas the fluorescent vest is obligatory. In case the driver forgets to wear his vest, a fine could be issued.

Light compulsory 24 hours a day

It is mandatory for all vehicles in Italy to drive with your lights on also during the day. Daytime running lights are permitted – who drives without lights and gets stopped by the traffic police is likely to face a fine.

Parking zones

In Italy blue lines mark paid street parking, usually payment machines are placed closeby. Parking on street with white lines means that parking is free of charge. It is never allowed to park on yellow-black marks. Zones marked with yellow borders are reserved for busses, taxis and local residents.

Mandatory child car seats

Children younger than 12 years and smaller than 1, 50 m have to travel seated in a child car seat. Children can start to travel on the passenger seat at the age of 10.

Drinkdriving

The legal drinkdrive limit in Italy is 0,5 per mille. Professional drivers, also policemen ect., or novice drivers may not show any traces of alcohol.

Traffic fines and penalties in Italy

The so-called Codice della Strada, Italy’s road traffic regulation, is the basis of legal penalty notices. And yes, unpaid tickets can eventually find their way to your homeadress. What is best to do in these cases? We recommend not to ignore them… Different countries have different agreements with Italy. In order to risk that a simple parking ticket becomes a bigger problem over time, it is best to consult a tax accountant who is familiar with similar cases. Topics like limitation of actions, enforcement prescriptions – just to name a few – are rather complex when dealing with two countries and their respective laws. Often added are processing fees, bank transfer and handling fees. It is therefore important to inform yourself well when dealing with fines which arrive at your homeadress after a stay in Italy.

One thing is for sure – traffic fines in Italy are always sent to the carholder, even if another person has been driving the car at the time the ticket was issued.

A parking ticket on the windscreen

In Italy you can pay parking tickets in the local post office. In some municipalities it is possible to pay via email. In these cases the payment recipient is identified by an IBAN number or the account information is indicated.

Important: You should always pay your parking ticket within five days it has been isued – this way you make sure get a discount. A ticket for parking in the wrong place at the wrong time in Italy initially costs 28,70 euros. If you don’t pay it within 5 days, it already costs 41 euros. Excluded from this regulation are fines for drunkdriving and serious violations which cause disqualification from driving or also cases where the car is confiscated.

Traffic checks in Italy

If you happen to get on-the-spot-fined in a traffic check in Italy, it would probably be best to pay right away because the recipient of the ticket has to pay within 60 days. If you don’t pay within 60 days the amount is doubled.

 

Driver’s licence suspension and permanent driver’s license revocation

If a person has been banned from driving in Italy, we think the driving ban is only applied for Italy. It nonetheless can provoke big fines if someone keeps driving without a driver’s license – anywhere! It is in any case advisable to look into each countries’regulations and agreements with Italy.

Good to know

As carefully as we have researched the information for this article all information is without guarantee of correctness and completeness.

(Sources: bussgeldkatalog.org; reidsitaly.com; bella-toscana.com, autostrade.it)

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