The Italian Almanac

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Italian News - December 27

Italian police have a new device which will enable them to foil cunning motorists who drive over the speed limit and slow down only on stretches of road monitored by speed cameras. The system, called Tutor, measures the average speed of a car over a distance of between seven and 17 miles. If the average is more than 5% above the limit, a fine is immediately sent to the vehicle's owner.

The equipment, activated on four northern Italian motorways, uses cameras and sensors under the road surface to clock a car as it enters a monitored section and again when it comes out. Tutor was developed jointly by the police and Autostrade per l'Italia, the company which runs most of the country's motorways. It is to be installed on 50 sections of motorway all over the country during 2006.

"We hope that the system will help further reduce deaths on our road network," said Autostrade Managing Director Giovanni Castellucci. Deaths on Italy's roads have already fallen by half over the last five years thanks to extensive efforts on the safety front by the government, police and road authorities, he added.

Even consumer groups appear happy with the new system of improved speed traps, saying they were "more democratic" because they would catch the really dangerous people who drive too fast over long distances.