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31/08/2010

Italy: Zero tolerance against drink-driving

About 60% of the 4.731 people who died in traffic accidents in Italy during 2008 had consumed alcohol and / or drugs.

In the view of the statistics, the Italian Government has introduced some measures in the new Highway Code in order to reduce the number of these accidents.

The measures that entered into force on 30 July this year include:

  • ZERO tolerance for drivers under the age of 21 and those who hold their driving licence for less than 3 years.
  • ZERO tolerance for professional drivers, truck drivers and drivers of vehicles transporting people or goods (taxi, bus, trucks) with a full load weighing more than 3.5 tons. Professional drivers caught drinking during working hours can lose their professional driving license as well as their job.

People who refuse to take the alcohol test will be given the same sanctions and penalties as if they had 1.50g/l of alcohol in their blood.

The sale of spirits in the motorway and along the highways is prohibited from 22 to 6. Restaurants and public places will require that customers take an alcohol test before driving.

The sale of alcohol in public places is prohibited from three to six in the morning, with possibility for exemption only for the August holiday and New Year.

Restaurants and public places serving alcohol after midnight will have to install breathalyzers in their premises, although customers are free to decide whether they want to check their BAC or not before leaving.

Drivers caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will be given a sentence of 6 months to a year in jail. This sentence will be served by anyone with a BAC of over 1.5grams/litre. This sentence will be doubled, along with the confiscation of the driver's license for 5 years and their car/motorcycle if they provoke an accident. As an alternative to jail, those will lesser changers can perform community service, assisting victims of road accidents and their families.

Depending on the severity of the charge, points will be lost from the driving license as well as fines will be augmented from 370 to 500 Euros. A driving test will be re-administered at the end of driving courses to regain 6 points on the license, or 9 for professional drivers.