"It's not the money," Giovanni said, though fines start at one hundred fifty Euros ($225), "It's the points on your driving license." Using our ids he hoped to deflect any eventual fines to his friends visiting from America, thus avoiding payment and points.
Almost all Italy's roads are now labelled as being under electronic surveillance. The law says local governments must give advance notice if they are using speed traps. The local governments in Italy are way too slick according to Giovanni, who likes to ride fast. "It wouldn't be so bad if they put the warning signs where they are supposed to be, before the radar camera, but in this country they put them everywhere so you have no idea where they are or aren't...And the old style gray boxes don't say what speed they are checking for. One just hopes they are turned off if you speed by too fast and in clear view, better to be overtaking at that moment!
Some of the newer Autovelox cameras are brightly colored and located in clear view in the middle of small villages and towns which I find entirely acceptable, as does Giovanni, who has paid a few Autovelox fines in the past few years. These newer machines also display flashing orange lights at night and some municipalities put them under street lights to make sure they are visible.
The actual functioning of the Autovelox is a bit mysterious, because even though they have little windows back and front and on the sides, it seems that the two windows facing the road measure the speed over a fixed distance, triggering the other windows to take a snap of the departing offending license plate.Riding without a tag can lead to permanent confiscation of the motorcycle.
The law says the authorities have 150 days to send out notices of fines but apparently the creaky functioning of Italian bureaucracy can lead to even lengthier delays. Which could be grounds for dismissal if the recipients but knew it. As it is the Autovelox was supposed to lower accidents; Giovanni says no such thing happened, his son the lawyer-in-training disagrees. The fixed radar camera was also supposed to free police and Carabinieri to carry out more DUI and roving vehicle stops but they are hardly in evidence.
The Autovelox and the similar overhead Tutor system on the freeways has actually turned out to be a tool for alienation, as they are seen as fine generating machines with no real role in reducing traffic wrecks. Appeals cost 40 Euros to file with no possibility of being awarded costs even if the citizen wins the case. All I know is they are a total pain in the arse especially as it is a lot of work to stop worrying about getting pulled over from behind by real people, as at home, and instead learning to look for a dinky little sign buried in the bushes by the side of the road. 150 to 90 KPH on a motorcycle in 30 feet is very hard on the testicles. An unintended consequence I'm sure.
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