Aaah, the Italians. Purveyors of the espresso bar, home to Lamborghini and Alfa Romeo, fond of grubby PMs and home to astonishing views along its coastlines… and it’s always taken a pretty liberal view of the notion of speeding on its roads and autostrade.
It is, after all a country of people who celebrate the notion of giving a Fezza a blat down the road, rather than flashing the cocked-wrist salute. Having driven there a bit over the years, speeding isn’t a matter of civil disobedience; people just want to get where they’re going, they love to drive and, for the most part, they’re pretty good at it.
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However, the mayor of the village of Acquetico, Alessandro Alessandri, has had enough of what he called “crazy speeds” through the centre of the town of 120 mostly elderly people. He directed that a set of temporary speed cameras be installed near the primary pedestrian crossing of the town… and the results were astonishing.
In just two weeks, more than 58,000 tickets – or 4200 tickets a day – where issued to speeding drivers and riders, with many fines issued for speeding offences at more than double the posted limit of 50km/h.
And it’s not a trivial fine, either; get caught doing between 40 and 60km/h over the posted limit and the fine exceeds 800 Euros, or more than $1200. What’s more, if you’re caught between 10am and 7pm travelling that quickly, your licence is suspended on the spot.
Alessandri told a local newspaper the problem was that the route through Acquetico – which isn’t far from Monaco – was ideal for those looking to avoid speed bumps, cameras and tolls. The highway through the village also connects the nearby Piedmont region to Italy's northern coast.
And such is the scale of the problem, the mayor is considering installing the cameras permanently.