Mass Exodus: Italy kicks off safe driving campaign as holiday begins
Italian cities will empty out this weekend as a mass exodus of summer vacationers hit the roads to begin their holidays.
Officials predict 11 million motorists will clog many of Italy’s main thoroughfares this weekend, with roads leading to beaches being the most heavily traveled, according to the Ministry of Transportation.
Transportation officials devised a colored “sticker” system to alert motorists of predicted travel conditions, with Saturday being the worst as a “black sticker” travel day, or the highest level of traffic. Motorists can expect to find traffic jams and heavy traffic from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., the ministry advised.
Friday was labeled as “red sticker” from 2 p.m. and lasting into the evening, and Sunday is predicted as a “yellow sticker” travel day, with moderate to heavy traffic in the early afternoon.
On July 27, the ministry launched a safe-driving campaign for the summer in an effort to cut down on the high number of traffic accidents that already have plagued the country this summer.
More police officers than usual will be out this weekend on the country’s highways, cracking down especially on speeding, tailgating and drunken driving, the ministry said. In some places, random sobriety checkpoints will be in place.
The most heavily traveled highways will be the A-1 Autostrada that runs from Milan to Naples, the A-14 Adriatica in the north along the Liguria coastline toward the seaside, and the A-4 in the direction of Venice.
Officials predict heavy traffic also on the A-3 from Naples to Salerno, and the A-30 Caserta-Salerno heading south to Calabria, as well as at the roadways along the borders with Slovenia, France, Switzerland and Austria.
“Inattentiveness, a lack of respect for the [road] rules, drunken driving or under the influence of drugs, carjackings have ruined reports over the past few weeks,” reads a portion of the ministry’s campaign statement.
“Every day, as statistics show, 15 people die on Italy’s roadways, and more than 5,000 every year,” the statement reads. “Highway accidents cause more than about 300,000 wounded.”
Metropolian areas tend to clear out for the whole month of August, the traditional vacation month for Italians.
“What I love about August is that the [toll road Tangenziale] has no traffic,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Brian Traupman, stationed in Naples with Naval Forces Europe/6th Fleet. “I still leave at the same time in the mornings, I just get [to work] earlier, but in the afternoons, I get home earlier and that’s what makes it so lovely.”