When you travel on Italy’s super highways and through its small villages, you will notice that electronic speed controls are everywhere. This is actually a very good thing which has altered driving habits in Italy and improved traffic safety.
If you know where to look, you can avoid getting caught driving too fast.
There are two main systems of control. The Autovelox can track your speed at a particular point. As you fly by the machine, its radar calculates your speed and the built-in camera records your license plate number.
For those who think they can fool the system by speeding up between machines, there is also the Tutor system, which can track you from point to point and calculate your average speed between the points.
So it pays to always maintain the speed limit and be alert to the machines. Fortunately, there is always a posted warning:
For the Autovelox system, it is usually a sinister looking box on the side of the road with small openings for the cameras. There is a smaller version in a little green structure you will see in the villages.
This is all well and good, but what is the speed limit? Although it’s getting better, the speed limits are well know by the Italians, but not always posted along the roads. On the major superstrada highways, it’s generally 130 kilometers/hour and on the smaller highways, it’s 110. Through the countryside and small towns it will vary, generally between 50 and 70.
One good way to get some help is to use the information on your GPS and to listen for the audio warnings.
You can see the current speed limit in the lower right with the red circle, like you see on the roadside. Your actual speed (velocita) is next to it. The actual speed will turn red and you will hear a beep when you exceed the speed limit.
Notice also the warning in the middle of the screen that you are in an Autovelox zone, and there is one just ahead!
By the way, you can set your GPS to English, so don’t worry about the language difference.
If you do get a speeding ticket, you will first receive a notice from your car rental company and they will charge your credit card with an administrative fee. Shortly thereafter, you’ll get a notice from the municipality where the infraction occurred, with the amount and instructions to pay it.
If you expect to travel again in Europe, it’s probably a good idea to go ahead and pay it.
However, with enough knowledge and vigilance you can avoid this decision entirely.