If you are planning a vacation to Italy and intend to drive around in a rental car, there are several new and changes to existing traffic laws which will enter into force this month. There are, in fact, more than 16 changes to the traffic code in Italy and several are definitely worth knowing about. It may be useful to know that you may be able to decrease any fine up to 30% by paying within 5 days at a designated point of payment such as a licensed Tobacconist (Tabaccheria)
Driving with devices
In the present version of the Italian Traffic Code, you will be risking a fine for operating a radio-telephonic device whilst driving. The list of such radio-telephonic devices which cannot be used while driving has finally been updated and expanded to include smartphones, laptops, notebooks, tablets and any other similar device that involves even temporarily removing the hands from the steering wheel. Fines range from €161 euros to €646.
Parking in disabled spots
Fines are now double from what they were, and points are deducted threefold for those who park in parking areas reserved for the disabled. Penalties will range from €168 to €672 euros (currently from €84 to €335 euros), points deducted, will go to 6 instead of 2.
pink" and disabled parking bays
From 2022, parking in parking spaces marked by blue lines will be free for drivers with a disability (you must always make sure the certificate is visible). There will also be more so-called "pink" parking spaces, reserved for pregnant women and parents with children up to two years of age: again, in this case a special certificate (sticker) must be displayed clearly.
Wearing a helmet
You may be surprised to hear this but in the current version of the Italian Traffic Code, if a motorcycle passenger is caught not wearing a helmet, the driver will only be fined if the passenger is a minor. The penalty will now be imposed regardless of the age of the passenger.
As we are on the subject of helmets, electric scooter drivers will still be able to zoom around without them, however the new traffice stipulates that street signs such as arrows and stop signs are not just applicable to other road users. In an attempt to help you stop in time, brakes on both wheels will be become compulsory. For those kids who thought they were insured zooming around town, you might be surprised to hear this only becomes mandatory for rented electric scooters from November 2021 onwards. As for speed limits, quite a hotly debated topic for scooters, exceeding 6 km per hour will land you a fine if driving in pedestrian areas, as is driving in the wrong direction and on sidewalks. The speeding limit has also been lowered to 20 km per hour, 5 km lower than previously. In certain Italian cities you could find electric scooters strewn about sidewalks and lampposts, they were becoming an eyesore over which you could literally break your neck. The new Traffic law no longer allows 'parking' them on the sidewalk, you will need to park them in designated areas, it does seem to allow you to circulate on the same roads where bicycles are allowed.
traffic fines and the rental car
We finally have an answer for a hotly debated topic. Car rental companies will in no case be forced to pay for the violations committed by a driver of that rental vehicle, i.e., the tourist. The rental companies are therefore free to collaborate with the authorities and share your personal details as required so that the penalty will be served to you directly for which you will incur the cost of shipping the traffic violation to the address. However the good news is you'll still be able to qualify for 30% discount on that fine if you pay within 5 days.
Parking and recharging electric cars:
Parking bays for electric vehicles are a hot commodity in Italy, you will note that there are not enough of them. In an attempt to make the situation more fair on the owners of these electric vehicle there are various new rules regarding recharge spaces. First you may only occupy a recharge bay for the time necessary to recharge the battery for one hour during the day. This restriction will be lifted between 11 pm and 7 am (except for the spaces reserved for fast and super fast charging, which must be vacated as soon as the charging operation is completed.
Pedestrian crossing rules
I have been in some dangerously confusing situations at crosswalks in Italy, who goes first? Well, apparently my opinion differed greatly from the drivers speeding past. In fact, from November 2021 onwards vehicle drivers are obligated to give right of way to a pedestrian who is about to cross the road.
If you feel like reading the entire new Traffic Code, feel free to click here. Nuovo Codice della Strada Novmber 2021- Gazetta Ufficiale.