Vehicular homicide becomes law in Italy

Italy gets tough with reckless drivers who cause road deaths.

The Italian senate passed a government vehicular-homicide bill on 2 March, setting harsh prison terms and penalties for drivers who kill people through reckless driving.

149 voted in favour, three against and 15 abstained from the bill, whose passage had been delayed in recent months as politicians debated the alleged severity of its terms.

The measure, which has been languishing in the senate since 2014 now becomes law. However it was only passed when the Renzi government imposed a vote of confidence. This comes soon after the government also had to impose a vote of confidence on the civil unions.

The new law sets jail sentences of between two and seven years for drivers who kill one person by violating the rules of the road, and up to 18 years if there are multiple victims. Drunk drivers convicted of causing a road death now face up to 12 years in jail.

Drivers who leave the scene of the crime will have their sentence increased by between one and two thirds. These hit and run drivers also face being jailed for a minimum of five years if they kill their victim, and three years in the case of serious injury.

Drivers violating the rules of the road can also have their licenses confiscated for between five and 30 years.

Welcoming the arrival of the law, Italian premier Matteo Renzi described it as "tough" but finally a reality.

About 3,000 are killed a year on the roads each year in Itay. In 2014 there were about 1,000 hit and run incidents killing 119 people. The old and the young are most at risk and most of them are pedestrians.