Italy / Road murder, imprisonment up to 18 years / Translated by Claudio Martino, AIFVS AUFV / IL SOLE 24 ORE of 26.03.2016

Italy / Road murder, imprisonment up to 18 years / Translated by Claudio Martino, AIFVS AUFV / IL SOLE 24 ORE of 26.03.2016


The road murder, after a complex legislative process, is finally state law.

Since yesterday, with the entry into force of the 41/2016 law, a traffic accident resulting in death or grievous or very grievous bodily harm will be subject to the new penalties, provided for by Articles 589 bis and 590 bis of the Penal Code.

Sentences anything but light:

in the case of murder, the basic penalty is from 2 to 7 years, while the driver of motor vehicles could face up to 12 years of imprisonment in case of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, reaching up to 18 years in case of death of several people.

Even about road injuries, the legislator issues his heavy warning, with forecasts up to 7 years of prison.

The most serious behaviors

The new articles 589 bis and 590 bis punish any violation of the Highway Code that causes a fatal accident or injury, but they specifically contemplate some cases, punished more severely:

motor vehicle’s driving under alcohol’s influence in qualified hypotheses;

motor vehicle’s driving under drugs’ influence;

motor vehicle that proceeds in an urban center at a speed equal to or higher than twice that permitted and anyway not lower than 70 km / h, or, on the highways, at a speed of at least 50 km / h over the maximum allowed;

motor vehicle that passes through an intersection with a red light;

motor vehicle that takes road against traffic;

motor vehicle which reverses the direction of travel in proximity or in correspondence of intersections, curves, or bumps;

motor vehicle that overtakes in corrispondence of a pedestrian crossing or a continuous line.

The traffic police

For the traffic police the commitment will be truly remarkable, so much that the Interior Ministry has already issued a full-bodied circular (n. 300 / A / 2251/16/124/68 of 25 March 2016).

First of all, every traffic accident with serious or very serious injuries becomes an indictable offense, whereas before the presentation of a complaint was necessary.

This means a different organization of the traffic police’s services, since the minutes of detection will be transmitted to the competent public prosecutor in accordance with the timing of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The introduction of the arrest cases, both mandatory and optional, will strain the police force, which will have to be particularly careful in collecting the relevant informations concerning the traffic accident.

The cases of mandatory arrest established by the new law, in case of a fatal outcome, are:

driver of motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or with a blood alcohol concentration higher than 1.5 g / l;


engaged in transportation activities of persons or things,

of vehicles fully loaded exceeding 3.5 tonnes or towing a trailer which results in a mass exceeding 3.5 tonnes,

of buses and other motor vehicles for the carriage of persons whose number of seats, excluding the driver, is more than eight,

and of articulated vehicles and trailer vehicles,

with a blood alcohol concentration higher than 0.8 g / l.

In all the other cases of murder or serious or very serious road injuries, the optional arrest is provided, with the exception of the first paragraph of the article 590 bis, which deals with the serious or very serious generic injuries.

Moreover, also in the latter case (very serious injuries) the arrest could spring if the responsible escapes.

The driver’s license

The measures regarding the license suspension are inspired by the utmost rigour.

After the driving disqualification as a result of traffic homicide or injuries, measure already planned, the temporary suspension ordered by the prefect could reach five years, extendable to 10 in the event of an intervened not definitive sentence.

The final sentence, furthermore, involves not only the withdrawal of the document, but also the inability to obtain a new license which, in the most severe cases, can reach 30 years.

Compulsory taking of biological samples

The Law no. 41 not only reiterates the obligatory nature of the investigation to determine whether the driver was under the influence of drugs or was drunken, but it provides for the forced execution in case of rejection by the person concerned.

Therefore, since yesterday, the traffic police, on the orders of the public prosecutor, may direct the driver to the hospital when there are reasonable doubts that the subject is intoxicated or drunken, to subject it coercively to the appropriate samples’ takings.

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