According to a survey conducted at the beginning of December at two primary schools in Rome 83 per cent of the children who were driven to school by their parents did not wear their safety belts. This compares with 64 per cent when a similar survey was done in the summer, just after Italy's new highway code came into force. Of the children who didn't buckle up in December, 25 per cent were allowed to sit in the front seat.

Parents were not much more responsible when taking their children to school on a moped. The survey found that 72 per cent of them didn't follow all the safety laws. Of the children questioned 36 per cent were not made to fasten their helmets properly and 44 per cent couldn't reach the foot-rests.

Under the new highway code everyone travelling in a car must wear a seatbelt or the driver risks a fine of 68 and the deduction of five points from his or her licence. In addition, children under 12 and less than 1.5 m tall must use a car seat to ensure the seatbelt fits properly. The new rules were introduced to improve Italy's road safety record, which is one of the worst in Europe.