Italian drivers 'Okay to drink' after law change
Italian drivers who drink a bottle of wine before getting behind the wheel could face a fine of just a few hundred euros after a provincial governor reversed a law that allowed licences to be confiscated.
Campaigners have warned the new regulations are a "crippling blow" in the battle to clean up the country's roads, which have been among the most dangerous in the EU for many years. The new law will apply in Avellino, a province in Italy's southern Campania region, around 30 miles from Naples.
A road safety group criticised Carlo Sessa, the prefect of Avellino, for reversing regulations that said any driver caught with a blood alcohol content between 0.8 and 1.5g per litre of blood faced a licence suspension of six to 12 months. The new rules mean a driver who has drunk eight glasses of wine could incur a fine of just €800.
Mr Sessa wrote to each of the province's five police forces on July 20 warning they should "promptly enact the recent regulations". Explaining his decision, he appeared to criticise the region's judiciary, who repeatedly cancel the suspension of licences in the appeal courts.
The new regulations relieve the "heavy burden on public administration" this creates, he wrote.
Giuseppa Cassaniti, president of the Italian Association for the Families and Victims of Road Deaths, said the ruling was a "step backwards" for Italy. "This sends the message that it is okay to flout the law, that it is okay to drive drunk," she said. "It's a crippling blow."
A spokesman for the Association of Supporters and Friends of Traffic Police said judges dismiss 90pc of breathalyser results.