Italy legislature weighs zero tolerance ban on alcohol for drivers

According to proposed legislation, Italians would no longer be allowed to consume any alcohol before operating a car. Even one glass of wine would take a driver over the legal limit.

    Under a bipartisan bill being discussed by the Chamber of Deputies transport committee, the legal blood-alcohol limit would be lowered to 0.2%, or 0.2 grammes of alcohol per litre of blood.

    ”If you drink you don’t drive and if you drive you don’t drink: that must be the rationale of the bill to prevent repeated murders by drunk-drivers,” said committee chairman Mario Valducci.

    The current legal level for driving in Italy is 0.5%, the same as in France, Germany and Spain and already lower than the United Kingdom’s 0.8%.

    Sanctions for drunk-drivers would become harsher under the bill, with an initial six-month driving licence confiscation that could be made permanent in the event of repeat offences. Valducci said the possibility of applying the 0.2% blood-alcohol limit only to certain age groups was also under examination.


Across Italy, pundits and bloggers are calling the proposed legislation “neo-prohibitionism” and some claim that the impact on restaurants and wine tourism will be devastating. Proponents of the legislation note that “random roadside alcohol checks” will not be as frequent as in France, for example, where 10 million motorists are stopped at check points each year. In Italian, only 1 million would be stopped annually at check points if the legislation is approved.


3 thoughts on “Italy legislature weighs zero tolerance ban on alcohol for drivers

  1. This proposed legislation seems draconian; there must be more to the story. More consumer education spearheaded by restauranteurs, wholesalers and producers, would go a long way towards soothing the legislators tannic bite. Drunk-driving deaths are horrible and need to be reduced. Is harsher legislation the way to achieve that goal?

  2. There has already been a drastic drop in alcohol sales due to the increase in police controls and severity of punishment in here in Italy.

    I don’t have the data, but have these measures resulted in a reduction of alcohol-related deaths on the road?

    “Zero-tolerance” will spell death for any wine bar outside a city center, and for all but the most successful in town. Restaurants will suffer (they already are with wine sales down about 20% according to those I’ve spoken to), and food prices will increase to cover the losses in wine sales.

    Small. local wineries, who form personal bonds with restaurants nearby will see a major source of revenue dry up overnight.

    It’s a truly devastating prospect (which actually favors big producers).

    Here’s a suggestion to help the situation: Free up the taxi cartel, allowing for more competition. Allow for more taxi licenses, making them more available and cheaper.

    But when Prodi tried to do this, there were strikes and riots in the streets of Roma….

    Don’t want me to drink and drive? Get me a cheap taxi.

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