Fatal traffic accidents in Italy have dropped by 9.7 per cent since the introduction of the driving licence points system in 2003. However, the number of drivers caught driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs has risen by 17.4 per cent in the past year. So great is the increase that the upper house of parliament has almost unanimously approved an amendment to a law currently being passed through the senate. Under the amendment, anyone who causes a fatal accident while driving with twice or more than the legal limit of drink or drugs will automatically lose his or her licence for ever. At the same time a second amendment was also passed through the upper house enabling the police to confiscate on the spot any motorcycle on which the driver or a passenger is not wearing a helmet, or one which is carrying a passenger when too low-powered to be authorized to do so.

The law and the amendments now have to be passed by the lower house of parliament before coming into force.