Driving Licence Penalty Points
<strong><em>Make sure you know the rules when it comes to drinking and driving, and what penalties a driver might suffer...</em></strong>
Penalties, points and fines
- Traffic Police (Polizia Stradale) manage the Italian highways and roads
- Municipal Police (Polizia Comunale) enforce the traffic and parking regulations in Italian towns
When driving, carry photo ID, driving licence, vehicle registration papers and insurance papers. There are penalties for drivers of vehicles without valid insurance. Documents verifying valid insurance coverage must be kept in the vehicle at all times.
Driving above the speed limit, and driving while using a mobile or cellular phone are subject to fines.
It is compulsory to keep a reflective jacket (orange, red or yellow) as well as a warning triangle in the car. Anybody not complying with this rule is subject to a fine and having two points taken off their driving licence.
People driving with a blood alcohol content at or above 0.5 g/l are subject to a fine, driving ban and/or imprisonment.
Licence points system
In 2003, a new Highway Code (Codice della Strada) was launched in Italy with the objective of making the roads safer. The penalties for various infringements of the law were increased and a points-based penalty system introduced.
A total number of 20 points are assigned to a driver's licence, and with each offence the driver may lose points (1 point, 2 points, 3 points, 5 points or 10 points). Drivers who lose 20 points from their licence must take a new driving test. A driver may get points back provided that no further offences are committed over a fixed period of time.
Serious infringements of the law (such as exceeding the speed limit by more than 40 Km/h, driving in an emergency lane, or drinking and driving) may lead to the revocation of the licence.
These rules apply to anybody holding a driving licence, even if the points system is not applicable in the country of origin. If 20 points are lost within a year the person is suspended from driving in Italy for a period of 2 years; if the person loses the entire 20 points within a timeframe of 2 years, then they are forbidden to drive in Italy for a period of 1 year; and if the total of 20 points is lost within 2 and 3 years, then the person is forbidden to drive in Italy for a period of six months.
Paying the fine
The driver of a car registered in Italy or in the EU must pay the fine within 60 days, in cash, at the nearest Police Station (Ufficio di Polizia).
The driver of a car from a non EU-member state should pay the fine on the spot to the police officer.
Driving and Drinking (DUI and DWI)
There are strict penalties for those failing an alcohol test.
The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for regular drivers in Italy is: less than .05%, also defined as 0.5 grams per litre of blood (50 mg/100 ml of blood). Note: for professional drivers and for people who have been licenced for fewer than three years, there is a zero-tolerance policy: the limit is 0.
Italian police may carry out random alcohol tests on drivers at any time. Testing is more common around Christmas, New Year and in the main holiday period of July and August.
Drivers involved in accidents or who are driving erratically are subject to automatic testing.
The police may confiscate the driving licence of a person driving while intoxicated. Failure of a blood-alcohol test has serious implications:
- The vehicle will be impounded
- The driver will be fined
- The driving licence will be confiscated
- The driver may be imprisoned
Vehicle insurance is voided if an accident is caused while the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol; the insurance company has no obligation to pay for medical expenses or those injured.
If a driver is found to have traces of marijuana, hashish, cocaine or other banned substance in their system they face a driving ban of up to 12 months.
Servicing Repairs and Breakdowns
The ACI can assist in the event of a breakdown.
The ACI is a subscriber service (much like the AA in the UK or AAA in the United States) providing general road assistance to members.
- ACI (Automobile Club d'Italia) (in Italian)
Tel: 803116 (or 116 from an SOS phone)
Tel: 06 491716 for a multi-lingual information service (English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch are spoken)
Note: In the event of an emergency, membership can be granted immediately.
It is compulsory to wear a reflective vest and place a reflective triangle behind the car to warn approaching traffic of a breakdown.
While general-service repair centres have teams of specialists able to fix all mechanical and other problems, there are also garages which focus on particular car problems.
The specialists are:
- Autoofficina: handles general problems except bodywork and wheels
Carrozziere: bodywork specialist repairing scratches and dents
Gommista: tire and wheel specialists and suppliers of snow tires and wheel balancing
Elettrauto: all auto electrics including installation of car stereos and alarms
- The highway code (codice della strada) is published online by the Ministry of Transport (Ministero dei Trasporti): Click here
- The ACI has offices in each province:
- ACI Head Office
At: Via Marsala 8, 00185 Roma
Tel: 06 49981
Fax: 06 49982469.
- ACI Head Office
- For information on road signs and parking signs in Italy see the Slow Travel website
- Information on child seats from the driving licence website, Patente: Click here (in Italian)
- Information on travelling with children, from the Polizia di Stato: Click here (in Italian)