Acquetico, a village with just 120 residents near the French border, has long been plagued by speeding motorists. But when the town’s mayor installed temporary traffic cameras, he found the scale of the problem was worse than anyone thought.
Mayor Alessandro Alessandri installed the cameras after a deluge of complaints about speeding that had left the town's elderly residents afraid to walk around the village.
The speed trap caught over 58,000 cars driving through the village at up to 135 kilometres per hour (84 miles per hour) in under two weeks, despite it being a 50km/h (31mph) zone.
No one knows if it’s a record, but Alessandri said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw the data, which showed one in three drivers breaking the speed limit.
“It's really madness, considering that we have inhabitants who regularly move within the village and cross the road,” Mayor Alessandri told Corriere Della Sera.
Set up near the village's main pedestrian crossing, cameras recorded cars speeding through at well over 100km/h – double the limit in a town mainly populated by older residents.
'A pedestrian risks being hit by a speeding car at 135km/h, maybe at 4pm on an ordinary afternoon,” the Mayor's office stated.
Figures showed that the 20 worst offenders sped through the village in the middle of the day, along the state highway which passes through Acquetico.
Alessandri said the problem was that, with three main routes connecting the neighbouring Piedmont region to Italy's northern coast, the route through Acquetico was the best for those looking to avoid speed bumps, cameras, or tolls.
And he said motorcyclists use the “ideal asphalt, good width, [and] continuous bends” to stage races between larger towns on the road.
The mayor now says he has little option but to turn the trial run of speed cameras into a permanent fixture.
“We hope these speed gauges can be an effective deterrent to motorists and that they can benefit the citizens of Acquetico, because we don’t want to make money with the fines, but they’re necessary to protect people's safety,” he said.