Written by Ellis Ian Fields
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Saturday, 28 August 2010

image for Armani Smartens Up Italian Traffic Code
Something small and Italian.

Driving in Italy is about to get a lot safer and more stylish as the country launches a new Highway Code.

Italian traffic authorities have been concerned about the anarchic nature of driving in the cities and on the autostrade for some time.

They hope the new, improved code will tighten up the lax attitude to the law typically demonstrated by Italian drivers.

Lower blood/alcohol levels and tougher penalties for infringements have been imposed already and accident figures are showing improvement. There are further laws to be considered by the Government, and these are expected to be approves over the next few months.

The most striking departure from other countries' codes, and one that is likely to cause trouble for foreign drivers, however, is the style section.

For example, when driving an open-top car, a man must sport an open collar, quality sunglasses and a branded lightweight sweater - preferably Pringle or similar - draped about his shoulders. Ladies should wear pure silk headscarves (Versace is recommended).

Scooter riders should wear espadrilles (no socks, of course), polo shirts in summer and lightweight leather jackets in autumn. Helmets are, of course, compulsory but the motor and fashion industries are working together on acceptable designs.

Penalties for style infringements can be as high as 5,000 euros.

The style rules were drawn up by a committee chaired by top fashion designer Giorgio Armani.

A spokesman for the Italian transport ministry said: "We understand that some of our visitors may have difficulties with these new rules, but we are determined to improve the look as well as the safety of our traffic.

"The British, and especially the Americans, should take note of the rules regarding headgear and T-shirts. We'll be particularly rigid with the French - they'll see who's stylish!"

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