It finally happened to me: yesterday I received a snail mail from a rental car agency in Italy informing me of an administrative fee ($50!) they had charged me for a forthcoming speeding ticket from the Italian police.
They sent me a copy of the ticket but not the final fee. I’ve surmised that I will be charged a penalty for paying late (if you pay after 60 days from when the citation was issued, you are assessed a fine; you get a 30 percent discount if you pay with five days, it says).
I’ve done a lot of driving in my life. Between touring with bands and traveling for wine work, I’ve clocked a lot of miles over the years.
I’m an extremely cautious and defensive driver and I make a point of never speeding — even in Italy (just ask Giovanni or Paolo). The last time I got a speeding ticket I was 19 years old (nearly thirty years ago!).
But back in May of this year, a speed camera captured me over the limit in a little town in Tuscany. I must not have noticed that I had entered a 50 km per hour zone.
In looking around the internets this morning for information on Italian speeding tickets and fines, I found this page of the Italian State police site (those are the police who drive blue cars and where blue shirts as part of their uniforms).
But the information hasn’t been updated since new (higher) fines went into effect in January of this year.
The best and most recently updated page I could find was this one on an Italian legal blog.
Here’s my English summary of the fines relative to the speed over the limit.
Up to 10 km/h over the speed limit: €41 with a 30 percent increase if the infraction is committed between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.
Between 11-40 km/h: €169 (and three points “subtracted” from your driving record; although I don’t how this affects foreigners).
Between 40-60 km/h: €531 (and six points subtracted; your license is suspended if the infraction is committed between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.).
More than 60 km/h: €828 (and ten points subtracted as well as suspension of your license for six to twelve months).
My ticket is in the 11-40 km/h range.
Until this time, I’ve never been issued any kind of traffic ticket in Italy. But I know that in the past, Americans often ignored the tickets.
Since Italy implemented its speeding camera network, the fines are unavoidable. Even in the case of a rental car, the ticket will reach you (as it did me).
The good news is that you can pay by wire transfer, which is actually really easy to do.
I’ll report more when I receive the actual ticket.
Hopefully, people who receive a similar notice from their rental car company will find this post useful (and helpful in reducing anxiety about having to pay a fine).
And for the record, I wasn’t driving that cute red 500 in the photo above. But it was the only image of an Italian car I could find in my archive to go with this post!