A tiny village in northern Italy has been plagued by a speeding epidemic that has shocked its mayor and residents. Acquetico, a village of about 120 people, installed speed cameras as a trial after receiving numerous complaints from locals about the dangerous driving habits of motorists passing through the area.
The results were staggering: in just two weeks, the cameras recorded more than 58,000 speeding violations, according to Italian media. That means an average of one speeding car every few minutes. The worst offender was clocked at 135 kph (84 mph), nearly triple the speed limit of 50 kph (31 mph).
“It’s really madness, considering that we have inhabitants who regularly move within the village and cross the road,” Mayor Alessandro Alessandri told Italy’s ANSA news agency. He said he was surprised by the “disrespect” shown by the drivers, who seemed to ignore the safety of the residents.
The village is located on a highway that connects the neighboring Piedmont region with Italy’s northern coast. Mayor Alessandri said the road was attractive to speeders because it had “ideal asphalt, good width, [and] continuous bends” for motorcyclists who wanted to race between towns, and because it lacked speed bumps, radar traps, or tolls for car drivers who wanted to avoid traffic.
“We hope that these speed gauges can be an effective deterrent to motorists and that they can benefit the citizens of Acquetico, because you do not want to make cash with the fines, but it is necessary to protect people’s safety,” the mayor said.
The speed cameras were installed as a trial in September, but the mayor is now considering making them permanent after discovering the extent of the problem. He said he also wanted to install signs to warn drivers of the cameras and to appeal to their sense of responsibility.
The speeding epidemic in Acquetico is not an isolated case in Italy, where road accidents are a major cause of death. According to the World Health Organization, Italy had 6.1 road fatalities per 100,000 population in 2016, higher than the European Union average of 5.1.
The Italian government has been trying to reduce speeding and improve road safety through various measures, such as lowering speed limits, increasing fines, and introducing a points system for drivers’ licenses. However, some drivers still ignore the rules and put themselves and others at risk.