More than 80 changes to Italian traffic laws went into effect this month, including stiffer fines for speeding and restrictions on alcohol sales.

Among the changes expected to have the largest potential impacts on Americans living or vacationing in the country are:

• Minimum fines for drivers caught traveling at least 40 kilometers per hour over the speed limit have been raised from 370 to 500 euros. Those driving at least 60 kph over the limit now face minimum fines of 779 euros and could pay as much as 3,100 euros.

• Bars and restaurants can no longer serve alcohol from 3 to 6 a.m. except on Aug. 15 and Dec. 31, which are Italian holidays. In addition, restaurants located on autostrade — Italian toll roads — can’t serve hard liquor after 10 p.m.

• The blood-alcohol content for drivers younger than 21 and those with less than three years’ driving experience is now zero. Previously, all drivers were under the same standard of 0.05. Fines for this offense range from 155 to 624 euros and will be doubled if the offender is involved in an accident.

• All drivers found with blood-alcohol levels of 0.15 or higher face longer minimum jail sentences, higher fines, loss of their licenses and potentially their vehicles.

• Bicyclists traveling outside of cities now have to wear reflective vests or belts from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise. Reflective material also is required for bicyclists who ride through tunnels. Fines for violations range from 23 to 92 euros.

• Motorists involved in accidents involving injured animals have to stop and immediately notify authorities or face fines ranging from 389 to 1,560 euros.

• Fines for littering have been lowered from 500 euros to 100 euros, but the definition of littering has been expanded.

Police generally expect violators to pay fines on the spot and have been known to impound vehicles if violators cannot immediately pay.

The laws are posted, in Italian, at, with further information, also in Italian, on

Valentina Lehman provided translation for this report.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.

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