The Italian Almanac

police at work

Italian News - June 29

Police in Rome have a new weapon in their quest to tame reckless drivers: a device to identify and fine people who ignore the double white lines that prohibit overtaking.

It comprises three video cameras coupled to sensors under the road surface. When the sensors detect a car crossing the white lines, the cameras catch the number plate. Traffic police then check the film to make sure that an offence has been committed and start an automatic process to fine the carís owner Ä70 and impose three licence points.

The "sorpassometro" has been set up on a key section of the 20-mile Via del Mare, which takes Romans to the beach resort of Ostia. In the summer the road is frequently congested and drivers are tempted to nip across the white lines into the opposite carriageway to get past a dawdling Fiat 500. The result is the winding road has one of the highest accident rates in Italy. Police surveys show that at least 5,000 dangerous overtaking manoeuvres take place on the road every month. But in the first five months of the year overworked traffic police were able to hand out only 35 fines for the offence. That is about to change.