Phones and seatbelts: Study reveals how often Italian drivers break the rules

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected]
Phones and seatbelts: Study reveals how often Italian drivers break the rules
Using a mobile phone while driving in Italy will soon incur a higher fine. Photo by Alexandre Boucher on Unsplash

Italians rate themselves 9 out 10 as drivers on average, according to new statistics which also showed which road rules are broken most often.


Half of all drivers in Italy fail to use their indicators when overtaking or moving back into the slow lane, and 70 percent don’t wear seatbelts when sitting in the back seat according to new data presented by Italy’s state-owned road management company Anas this week.

The study, carried out by CSA Research on behalf of Anas, was based on interviews with 4,000 drivers and passengers and analysis of the behaviour of a sample of 6,000 drivers along six different stretches of road and motorway in Italy.

It found that 50.9 percent of drivers on Italian roads didn’t use their indicators when overtaking, and exactly the same percentage didn’t indicate when moving back into the slow lane - figures which were actually an improvement on last year’s data, Anas said.

Tailgating was another common behaviour: out of a total of over 102,000 vehicles observed per day along three road routes managed by Anas, 38.5 percent did not keep to the minimum safe distance.

Some 10.6 percent of drivers admitted that they don’t wear a seat belt, while the number rose to 72.6 percent for passengers sitting in the back seat.

Around half (46.8 percent) of motorists did not use child booster seats where legally required.

As for mobile phone use among drivers, some ten percent of drivers were found to have filmed video on their phone while behind the wheel: 3.1 percent admitted having done it themselves while driving, while 6.9 percent said they had been a passenger in a car when the driver was filming.

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

Despite this, Italians rate themselves nine out of ten on average as drivers, the study found. However, they rate other drivers much more negatively with an average score of 5.4.

Those interviewed said they believe around 60 percent of other drivers break speed limits and use mobile phones while driving.


“The perception of Italian motorists is therefore that most other drivers go too fast and use their mobile phones while behind the wheel,” commented CEO of Anas, Aldo Isi.

The “worrying” data “shows that a large part of the responsibility [for accidents] is attributable to the human factor,” he added.

Commenting on the findings, psychologist and sociologist Paolo Crepet said there was a need to address a “childish aspect” of behaviour which “leads an adult to want to respond to a frivolous message while driving, knowing that he could very well do so at another time.”

Italy’s transport ministry in June 2023 announced tightened road rules, including higher fines for those caught using a mobile phone behind the wheel.

The fines previously ranging between 165 and 660 euros will now vary between 422 and 1,697 euros for a first offence, the ministry said, and can almost double for repeat incidents.


Motorists caught using their mobile phones while driving will also face a suspension of between seven and 20 days unless they have the full 20 points on their licence.

The new rules are awaiting final approval by parliament and are expected to come into force from the end of 2023.

The announcement of stricter rules on mobile phone use, as well as speeding and drink driving, came after Italy's road death toll rose again to 3,120 in 2022.

Italy had 53 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2022, compared to 49 in France and 34 in Germany, while the EU average is 46, European Commission data showed.


Comments (4)

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Tim Spencer 2023/11/24 11:48
To say that Italians are crazy drivers is the understatement of the century. I come from the UK where I have seen plenty of bad driving, but not on the level I have seen in Italy. What would be a rarely seen idiotic behaviour in the UK is commonplace in Italy. Speed limits seem to be a minimum not a maximum. Tailgating is the norm. Lane dividing lines are purely decorative as many drivers straddle 2 lanes and drift randomly from left to right without warning.
Mike 2023/11/22 19:48
While I accept that we all think we're above average when it comes to driving, this article isn't surprising. One thing I would ask more drivers to do is simply stay on their side of the road. I need to have a quiet beer with my former driving instructor here to see how he feels when he sees the behaviour of many drivers after all the effort he puts in to teach them to do it properly.
Brian Grimwade 2023/11/22 18:36
I’m surprised at the number of cars using indicators to signify what they are doing. It’s so rare where I live that I’m stuns when they are used’ The other problem is cars driving in the centre of the road and they don’t like moving into a lane even if it is unmarked
Peter Griggs 2023/11/22 13:23
I've even observed Carabinieri officers driving whilst using their mobiles....

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