Road Traffic Accident Legislation

On 13 August 2010 a new law concerning emergency aid for animals injured on the roads in Italy came into effect.  ( Codice della Strada, pubblicata in Gazzetta Ufficiale n.75 del 29 luglio 2010 – Suppl. Ordinario n.171).

Every year thousands of animals are killed and injured on Italy’s roads. A terrible statistic is that about 80% of domestic animals still abandoned in the country every year are involved in road traffic accidents, some fatal.  And of course non-domestic animals are also innocent victims of traffic accidents.

The new legislation states that injured animals have a right to emergency treatment after a road accident and there is a legal obligation to stop and assist. Anyone who causes an accident and does not stop is liable to a fine of between 389 and 1559 euro. If someone is involved in an accident where an animal is injured and does not arrange prompt medical assistance, they are liable to a fine of between 78 and 311 euro.

The other important new piece of legislation states that anyone transporting an animal in grave condition will not be prosecuted if they inadvertently break road traffic laws (for example a veterinary ambulance caught speeding).

The veterinary emergency services and the animal police (vigilanza zoofila) now have equipment of equivalent standard to the ambulance service and fire brigade  – another positive step forward in animal welfare.

Translated and adapted from an article by Massimo Pradella, Coordinatore Nazionale Guardie Zoofile OIPA