It took Italian authorities 16 months to issue my speeding fine – do I still have to pay?
“I have received a “Notice of Payment” in the post saying that a fine of €54.70 (£47.92) has been imposed for a violation of the Italian Highway Code on Aug 26 2016. My husband and I were in Milan at that time and had hired a rental car from Hertz. Italian authorities tend to take a while to issue speeding fines – but if they do so more than 360 days after the offence, you need not pay.
In October 2016 we were charged a fee by Hertz for providing our details to the Italian authorities so the letter has come as no surprise.
However, I read somewhere that there is a time limit for the notification of such fines. We have 60 days to pay though there’s a reduction if we pay in full within five days. Can you advise?”
It always astonishes me how long it takes the Italian authorities to issue traffic fines. In your case, it was 16 months after the offence. According to the Italian Traffic Code, the police have only 360 days after receiving identification of the driver of the vehicle (that is, the date that Hertz handed over your UK address) within which to notify foreign drivers of the fine. This information is provided on the website of European Municipality Outsourcing (EMO), an independent agency linked to Florence-based debt collection agency Nivi Credit, which many Italian police forces have tasked with collecting the fines.
Do you have to pay the fine? In my view you don’t because the Milan police failed to send you the paperwork in time. I wonder why they bothered as they are very well aware of the law on this. Perhaps a batch got “lost” and they are taking a punt that people will panic and pay, worried about the debt being pursued or the risk of a black mark on their credit rating. I tried to contact both EMO and Nivi Credit by telephone and email to confirm the 360-day cut-off but neither agency responded.
Mrs Baker’s fine was for driving 8kph over the speed limit on the ring-road around Milan. A small infringement, you might think, but enough to trigger one of the city’s many roadside speed cameras. The only upside is that, unlike the UK, speeding fines are not accompanied by penalty points on your licence.
But the biggest source of revenue from motorists are fines of up to €100 a time for driving into Limited Traffic Zones (ZTLs). In Florence, it’s estimated that more than 1,000 fines a day are issued for this violation – a nice little earner for the city coffers!
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