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Italy to fine phone-using drivers up to €2,500 in road safety crackdown

The Local Italy
The Local Italy - [email protected]
Italy to fine phone-using drivers up to €2,500 in road safety crackdown
Driving while on the phone in Italy will soon incur a higher fine. Photo by Alexandre Boucher on Unsplash

In the latest update to the road rules, Italy has approved higher penalties and license suspensions for anyone caught using a mobile phone while driving.

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Drivers caught using their phones at the wheel will soon face quadrupled fines under new road safety measures approved by the government cabinet on Monday.

The fine for a first offence is to be set at €1,697, rising to €2,588 for repeat offenders, newspaper Corriere della Sera reported.

A first offence will also carry a license suspension of 15 days to two months, while repeat offenders over a two-year period will have their permits suspended for up to three months.

First offenders will have eight points taken off their licenses, while repeat offenders will lose 10 points.

The new bill also includes tougher penalties for anyone caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and for those who exceed speed limits.

More stringent measures are also planned for neopatenti, or new drivers, who will have to wait three years instead of one after obtaining their license before being allowed to drive cars with more powerful engines.

The bill now begins its passage through parliament, where it may undergo changes before being converted into law within two months.

"The hope is to approve it as soon as possible," Transport Minister Matteo Salvini told reporters on Monday, adding that the government was working on "the most urgent measures, given the excessive number of deaths, including of young children, on our roads".

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The latest announcement came shortly after another update to Italy's Highway Code in June, which said motorists caught using their mobile phones while driving would face a suspension of between seven and 20 days unless they had the full 20 points on their license.

The push for more regulations came after the number of annual road deaths in Italy rose again to 3,120 in 2022.

Italy's current rules provide for fines of between 165 and 660 euros, and five points off the driver's license, according to article 173 of Italy's Highway Code. Repeat offenders can have their licenses suspended for between one and three months.

Announcements by a previous government in 2019 of tougher penalties for phone-using drivers did not result in changes to the law.

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