Italy offers free taxi rides to curb drunk driving
Trial, aimed at avoiding fatal car accidents, currently tested in 6 Italian cities, runs until mid-September
By Giada Zampano
ROME (AA) - Italy is testing a controversial project to contrast drunk driving and reduce the number of fatal car accidents that have recently claimed victims across the country.
The trial project – launched last weekend outside discos and clubs in six Italian cities – offers free taxi rides to party-goers as a measure to avoid them driving under the effect of alcohol.
The initiative is being implemented across a few regions, from southern Puglia to northern Veneto, and is slated to continue until mid-September.
The project is based on asking individuals, who seem particularly inebriated when they exit clubs, to undergo an alcohol test. If the test shows that their alcohol levels exceed the legal limit, a taxi or a shuttle will be called to provide them with a safe ride home.
The scheme has been pushed by the right-wing League leader and Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who is Italy’s transport minister and has been active in campaigns to prevent drunk driving and ensure security on Italian streets.
The initiative, however, has been widely criticized by the left-wing opposition and associations representing the victims of car accidents.
Critics have suggested that the scheme risks rewarding excessive alcohol consumption among youths, while some citizens complained that their taxes would contribute to funding this kind of transport.
The proposal was instead supported by several night entertainment venue associations across Italy.
On X, formerly Twitter, Salvini defended the initiative, saying that “to stop the slaughter, we need to involve everyone in terms of prevention.”
According to data from Italy’s Carabinieri police published by the European Transport Safety Council, in 2019 around 8.7% of the 58,872 road collisions with injuries reported in Italy involved at least one driver under the influence of alcohol.
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