Almost one third of car users in Italy, or 28.8 percent, don’t use seatbelts when driving or riding as passengers in cars, according to new figures published in the report User Driving Styles Observatory Research (Ricerca Osservatorio Stili di Guida Utenti), produced by engineering and architecture firm Studio Righetti and Monte.
That rate increases to 31.9 percent for front car passengers; and rises to a shocking 80.1 percent if you take into account only rear passengers.
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The study, commissioned by state-owned road management company ANAS, analysed the driving habits of a sample of 6,000 users along three different types of Italian roads and motorways.
It found that 55.6 percent of drivers on Italian roads do not use their indicators when overtaking, and as many as 76.5 percent don’t indicate when moving back into the slow lane.
Approximately half (49.5 percent) of motorists do not use child booster seats, while just over one in ten (12.4 percent) illegally use their mobile phone while driving – a figure that jumps to 18 percent among 18 to 40-year-olds.
Italy compares poorly to other European countries, the study says, where an average of 90% of motorists wear front seat belts and 71% of passengers wear rear seat belts.
The findings were presented on Sunday at a road safety conference timed to coincide with the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims, which takes place every year on the third Sunday in November, reports news agency Ansa.
Speaking at the conference on Sunday, Italy’s Minister of Sustainable Infrastructures and Mobility Enrico Giovannini described the figures as “totally unsatisfactory” and said more road safety training was necessary, reports national broadcaster Rai.
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The minister stressed that the government has allocated more than three billion euros to make improvements to Italian roads and motorways, and said it was providing financial incentives to manufacturers to make more new cars and for families to purchase recent second hand car models, noting that many vehicles on Italy’s roads are old and lack adequate safety features.
Earlier this month, Italy’s government updated the country’s Highway Code, with new sanctions for drivers caught using tablets and other electronic devices besides cell phones and stricter rules about giving way to pedestrians included among the reforms.