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International notification infringement to the Highway Code

 

International notification infringement to the Highway Code

International notification infringement to the Highway Code (FAQs and information for foreign drivers in Italy)


Notification of traffic infringements occurred while driving in Italy

Renting a car is nowadays a very common option amongst tourists who visit Italy. It certainly offers a very flexible and independent way to explore our beautiful country. Unfortunately, it is however possible that while driving abroad one may incur the violation of the local road traffic regulations, in which case a notice of infringement, that requires the payment of a ticket, is served.

The most common infringements regard parking offences, speeding, driving in the reserved lanes for buses and taxis. Besides, an increasing number of cases pertaining to unauthorized transit in the so called traffic restricted area (in Italian: "zona a traffico limitato", ZTL) has been reported. As a matter of fact the latter typology of violation is due to the fact that many city councils in Italy, in order to curb the traffic in their historical downtown areas, have established an area with restricted accessibility (ZTL), monitored by cameras, where circulation is only possible by holders of specific permits.
Regretfully, it often appears that tourists are unaware that by entering these restricted zones they infringe the traffic regulations and that as a consequence they may be fined, in which case the notification of the violation is served irrespectfully of the country of residence.
In case of a violation of the traffic regulations on board of a vehicle with a foreign number plate or on board of a vehicle with Italian plates, when the driver is not an Italian resident (i.e. a tourist), the standard procedure implies that the Police authorities stop the vehicle and notify the infringement to the driver on the spot.
The driver can then either decide to pay the penalty immediately (losing his right to appeal against it), or pay a deposit thus appealing against the fine at a later stage. However, when the infringement is recorded by means of an automated monitoring camera system, such as those in place at the numerous electronic gateways to the above mentioned areas with restricted access (ZTL), on-the-spot-fining is not possible. In such cases, Police authorities can pursue alternative ways to identify the drivers allowing them to proceed with the notification of the infringement outside of Italy. These procedures may differ from country to country depending on international conventions or agreements between the parties concerned.
If the offence took place while driving a rental vehicle, the process of serving the notification of the infringement to the driver (often a foreign citizen) is easier since the car rental company is obliged by law to provide the driver's details to the Police authorities. In case of failure of payment, enforcement of the penalty may also be possible abroad, depending on the existing agreements between the concerned states, namely between the country in which the driver is resident and the country where the offence occurred. Lastly, also Italian citizens may likewise be notified of a traffic infringement occurred in another country. In fact - just like it is the case in Italy - a non resident driver may be either fined on the spot or opt for the right to appeal. If it is not possible to fine the driver on the spot, the fine is served to the country of residence. Infringement notices clearly indicate either the methods of payment of the fine or the available options for appeal. Other information that appear on the notification served are the details of the issuing office, where more information about the violation may be requested, deadlines and means of payment of the ticket, deadlines for the appeal against the infringement.

Quite often in case of notification of infringements to non-residents of Italy, Italian city councils operate in conjunction with specialized companies which take care of serving the infringement notice using multi-lingual templates. Since the matter is solely dealt with by Italian city councils and local Police authorities, this Consulate General of Italy has no means to step into the process nor to forward any communications on behalf of the recipient of the notice, cash the fine amount nor to receive complaints or appeals regarding the violation notified.
In case of doubts about the legitimacy or authenticity of the document received, it is recommendable to verify with the issuing authority, namely the city council or Police station in Italy whose phone number or email should appear on the document, the details of the infringements. Date and location of the violation, license plate number, maker and model of the vehicle object of the ticket should be verified to exclude that the notification may indeed be a scam.

FAQ

1) We have already paid the car rental company.
2)What is the ZTL (limited traffic zone)?
 3) FLORENCE – I was staying in a hotel right in the centre of the ZTL. Was I authorised?
 
 4) AREZZO - I was staying in a hotel right in the centre of the ZTL. Was I authorised?
5) SYRACUSE - I was staying in a hotel right in the centre of the ZTL. Was I authorised?
6) Can I access the ZTL if I have a parking permit for the disable?
 7) Was I authorised to enter the ZTL to park the car in a private pay garage inside the same?
8) What is a preferential lane?
 9) Why wasn't I immediately stopped by the police?
 10) Why didn't I find a fine on the windscreen of my car?
11) Can I request a reduction in the amount of the fine?
 12) What's the difference between the Payment Notice before the Notification and the Notification?
 13) When is it possible to advance an appeal?
 14) Is it possible to advance an appeal after receipt of the Payment Notice before receiving the official Notification?
 15) Can I lodge an appeal in my own language?
16) How should I lodge an appeal?
17) Why did the fine arrive so many months after the date of the violation?
 18) Tolerance applied to the detecting of the speed.
 19) I was not driving the vehicle in question.
 20) The photograph of the violation at the site fails to show the driver, only the rear section of the vehicle.

1) We have already paid the car rental company.

Car rental companies are not able to collect payment of fines on behalf of the police force. On the basis of what is stipulated in the car rental agreement you signed with the company, the amount paid with your credit card corresponds to the administrative expenses incurred by the car rental company for having transmitted your personal data to the authorities, after which the police took care of sending you the fine for the violation of the traffic code perpetrated by the vehicle in question during the rental period.

2)What is the ZTL (limited traffic zone)?

The limited traffic zone is an area where the circulating of unauthorised vehicles is not allowed. Only the following vehicles may access this area: vehicles at the service of the disable and vehicles with special permits issued by the city council. Normally the accesses in the larger cities are controlled by cameras which take photos of the unauthorised vehicles as they enter. All entrances to the ZTL recorded by the camera are considered as distinct and separate violations due to being dynamic violations and therefore every single fine is regular and cannot be attributed to one and the same violation. In the smaller towns the zone is controlled directly by the traffic police. The ZTL is indicated with vertical no-entry signs.

 3) FLORENCE – I was staying in a hotel right in the centre of the ZTL. Was I authorised?
 
 
Guests of hotels may enter the Limited Traffic Area (ZTL) with their cars only and exclusively on the day of their arrival and/or departure for unloading/loading their luggage. At the moment of check-in and/or check-out, the hotel have to communicate the licence plate number of the vehicle to the Municipal Police. If the license plate number was wrongly entered into the Municipal Police website used for the registration of license plate numbers, you need to send us a copy of the hotel receipt and statement from the hotel confirming their mistake. If the hotel did not communicate the license plate number due to an oversight, you need to lodge an appeal to Prefect of Florence within 60 days from receiving the official notification of the infringement by registered mail with return receipt, enclosing a declaration from the hotel, confirming your stay and that they did not communicate the license plate number of your vehicle to the Municipal Police on the date of your arrival and/or departure.

4) AREZZO - I was staying in a hotel right in the centre of the ZTL. Was I authorised?

Guests of incoming structures may enter the ZTL with their cars to reach the structure they are staying at. The hotel must register the licence plates of the vehicle with the Municipal Police. If this registration was not made and you have received a fine for accessing the ZTL you must send us a document proving you stayed in the hotel (invoice or declaration from the hotel).

5) SYRACUSE - I was staying in a hotel right in the centre of the ZTL. Was I authorised?

Guests of incoming structures may enter the ZTL with their cars to reach the structure they are staying at. The hotel must register the licence plates of the vehicle with the Municipal Police. If this registration was not made and you have received a fine for accessing the ZTL you must send us a document proving you stayed in the hotel (invoice or declaration from the hotel).

6) Can I access the ZTL if I have a parking permit for the disable?
 
Vehicles carrying a disabled person may enter Limited Traffic Areas (ZTL) and use public trasport reserved lanes. Unfortunately, these areas and lanes are usually controlled by an automatic control system which is not able to recognise the disabled parking card displayed on the car. In order to request the cancellation of the fine, please follow instructions here below:
1) CITY OF ROME / AREZZO / SIENA / ALGHERO / SIRACUSA: If the owner/renter of the car is the disabled person, you need to send us a copy of the disabled parking permit If the disabled person was a passenger of the car, you need to send us a copy of the disabled parking permit and a statement issued by the interested person, confirming that he/she was in the car when the infringement occurred.
2) CITY OF MILAN: If the owner/renter of the car is the disabled person, you need to send us a copy of the disabled parking permit. If the disabled person was a passenger of the car, you need to lodge an appeal to the Prefect of Milan within 60 days from receiving the official notification of the infringement by registered mail with return receipt, enclosing copy of the disabled parking permit and a statement issued by the interested person, confirming that he/she was in the car when the infringement occurred.
3) CITY OF FLORENCE: If the owner/renter of the car is the disabled person, you need to send us:
- copy of the disabled parking permit (with name/surname/expiry date)
- copy of the identity document (ID Card) of the disabled person
- statement written and signed by the disabled person, confirming that he/she was driving the fined vehicle
If the disabled person was a passenger of the car, you need to send us:
- copy of the disabled parking permit (with name/surname/expiry date)
- copy of the identity document (ID Card) of the disabled person
- statement written and signed by the disabled person (or by the guardian of the disabled person), confirming that he/she was in the car when the violation occurred; the document has to include also the name of the renter/owner of the vehicle, degree of kinship/relationship with the renter/owner of the vehicle, reason for entering the restricted area/lane, license plate no. of the vehicle.
- copy of the identity document (ID Card) of the renter/owner of the vehicle
- statement written and signed by the renter/owner of the vehicle, confirming the reason for the transit, the presence of the disabled person in the car on the date and time of the infringement, degree of kinship/relationship with the renter/owner of the vehicle, license plate no. of the vehicle. In case of a parking placard with no name of the holder, please enclose also a copy of the letter from the competent motor vehicle department, issuer of the permit, confirming the name of the legal holder of the permit.

7) Was I authorised to enter the ZTL to park the car in a private pay garage inside the same?

Clients of a private garage located inside the Limited Traffic Area (ZTL) can access the restricted zone only and exclusively for parking the vehicle. Every time the vehicle enters the garage, the staff have to communicate the licence plate number of the car to the Municipal Police. If the license plate number was not forwarded to the Municipal Police, please contact the garage and request a statement confirming that they did not communicate the license plate number to the Municipal Police. Then, in order to have your case reconsidered, you need to lodge an appeal to the competent Prefect within 60 days from receiving the official notification of the infringement by registered post with return receipt, enclosing a copy of the statement from the garage.

8) What is a preferential lane?
 
A preferential lane is a lane reserved only and exclusively for public transport (buses, taxis), emergency vehicles and the police. The preferential lane is indicated with vertical no-entry signs. The controlling of access to these lanes is carried out either by cameras or by police officers.

9) Why wasn't I immediately stopped by the police?
 
The following are the cases in which the violation is not notified immediately:
1. When it is not possible to stop the vehicle due to its excessive speed;
2. In the event of crossing an intersection against a red light;
3. In the event of overtaking where not permitted;
4. In the absence of the perpetrator and/or the owner of the vehicle;
5. In the event of telematic control of the accesses and no-entry to unauthorised vehicles (ZTL, preferential lanes, etc.);
6. In order to prevent blocking the transiting of other vehicles.

10) Why didn't I find a fine on the windscreen of my car?

The fine is always issued and attached under the front or rear windscreen wipers of the vehicle in the event of a no-parking area or no-entry to the ZTL when not monitored by an electronic device, even though this is not foreseen by the traffic code, and therefore, not compulsory. It is not possible for the police to know the reason why you did not find the fine; nevertheless this does not mean that the fine sent to you by post is not regular or valid. Whenever the police send the fine to your address of residence, according to the traffic code you are also responsible for paying the postage, ascertainment and notification expenses (art. 201 c. 4).

11) Can I request a reduction in the amount of the fine?
 
No, the amounts of the fines are established by law and therefore no reductions are applicable.

12) What's the difference between the Payment Notice before the Notification and the Notification?
 
The Payment Notice is a kind of courtesy letter that the police send by priority post to the owner to inform them of the violation perpetrated. In the event of payment not being made within 60 days after receipt of this Notice, the police then send the owner an official notification via registered letter with proof of receipt. After receipt of the Notice the user must either pay the fine or advance an appeal by and no later than 60 days. One this term has expired, the police then send the notification with the amount increased, as indicated in the same.

13) When is it possible to advance an appeal?
 
An appeal may only be advanced by and no later than 60 days after receipt of the Notification.

14) Is it possible to advance an appeal after receipt of the Payment Notice before receiving the official Notification?
 
Absolutely NOT. The appeal can only be lodged after receipt of the official Notification. If the appeal is lodged before the official Notification it will not be taken into consideration.

15) Can I lodge an appeal in my own language?

Absolutely NOT. If the appeal is lodged in any language other than Italian it will not be taken into consideration.

16) How should I lodge an appeal?

Only in the case of the payment not having been made, the user may submit an appeal to the Prefect or a justice of the peace by and no later than 60 days after receipt of the Notification.
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