Drinking and driving: If the level of alcohol in the bloodstream is 0.051 per cent or more, severe penalties including fines, confiscation of vehicle and imprisonment will be imposed. For professional drivers, and drivers with less than three years driving experience, the permissible alcohol limit is zero.
Driving license: The minimum age at which an Irish license holder may drive atemporarily imported car and/or motorcycle (over 125cc or with passenger) is 18. All valid Irish driving licenses should be accepted in Italy.
Fines: On-the-spot can be imposed. Fines are particularly heavy for speeding offences. The police can impose the fine and collect 1 quarter of the maximum fine, and must give a receipt for the amount of the fine paid. Fines for serious offences committed at night between 2200 and 0700 hours are increased by one third. Serious offences include speeding, going through a red light etc. Illegally parked vehicles can be clamped or towed away and a fine imposed.
Fuel: Unleaded petrol (95 and 98 octane), diesel (Gasolio) and LPG is available. No leaded petrol (lead substitute additive available). Petrol in a can is permitted. Credit cards are accepted at most filling stations; check with your card issuer for usage in Italy & San Marino before travel.
Lights: Use of dipped headlights during the day is compulsory outside built-up areas and during snow and rain / poor visibility. Rear fog lights may only be used when visibility is less than 50 meters or in case of strong rain or intense snow. Lights must be switched on in tunnels.
Motorcycles: Use of dipped headlights during the day is compulsory on all roads. The wearing of crash helmets is compulsory for both driver and passenger. The vehicle can be seized for non-compliance. It is prohibited to carry a child less than 5 years of age on a moped or motorcycle. The registration certificate must state that the moped / motorcycle is designed to carry a passenger. Motorcycles under 150cc are not allowed on motorways.
Motor Insurance: Third-party motor insurance is compulsory.
Passengers/Children in cars: Children travelling in foreign registered vehicles i.e. in an Irish registered vehicle must be secured according to Irish legislation.
Seat belts: It is compulsory for front / rear seat occupants to wear seat belts, if fitted.
Speed limits: Standard legal limits, which may be varied by signs, for private vehicles without trailers are: 50km/h in built-up areas, 90km/h outside built-up areas on ordinary roads, 110km/h on dual carriageways and 130km/h on motorways.
Newly qualified drivers must not exceed a speed limit of 90 km/h outside built up areas,100 km/h is permitted on motorways for three years after passing their test.
Note: In wet weather lower speed limits of 90km/h apply on dual carriageways and 110km/h on motorways.
Compulsory equipment in Italy and San Marino
Warning triangle – For all vehicles with more than two wheels.
Reflective jacket – The wearing of a reflective jacket / waistcoat is compulsory if a driver and / or passenger(s) exits vehicle which is immobilized on the carriageway at night or in poor visibility. Not applicable to two wheeled vehicles.
Snow chains – Snow chains are required between the 15th October and the 15th April, or at other times if conditions dictate. Provinces can introduce their own legislation making the use of winter tyres or snow chains compulsory. The maximum speed limit if using snow chains is 50 km/h.
Other rules/requirements in Italy and San Marino
Any vehicle with an overhanging load (e.g. carrying bicycle at rear) must display a fully reflectorised square panel 50cm x 50cm which is red and white diagonally striped, a fine may be imposed if the sign is not displayed. This also applies to vehicles such as cars/caravans carrying bicycles at the rear.
Tolls are levied on the majority of motorways.
In built up areas the use of the horn is prohibited except in the cases of immediate danger.
The transportation or use of radar detectors is prohibited. Violation of this regulation will result in a fine between 708 and 2834 Euros and confiscation of the device.
Eco-pass: An experimental pollution charge is levied in the centre of Milan. Charges apply Mon-Fri and generally from 7.30am until 7.30pm. Drivers must purchase an eco-pass before entering the restricted zone. Tariffs vary according to the emissions of the vehicle. Full information can be found by clicking on the following link (this is only available in Italian): www.comune.milano.it/dseserver/ecopass/
Traffic is restricted in many historical centres/major towns known as ‘Zone a Traffico Limitato’ or ZTL’s, circulation is only permitted for residents.
Entering such areas normally results in a fine by post.
Either winter tyres or snow chains may be used on roads where chains are compulsory.
This information should be read in conjunction with general advice for motoring in Europe.
Below is a sample selection of Italian motorway tolls for cars.