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Two Traffic Fines in Florence...?

Old Jan 13th, 2008, 07:52 AM
  #21  
 
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J62, If mdtravel wants to go to Florence and plead his case in court, he probably can.

But just as in NY, this "cannot be done by mail, over the internet or by phone."

So, unless you happen to live in or near Florence or want to fly to Florence to contest a ticket, I really don't see what application this would have to "potential future problems".



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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 07:58 AM
  #22  
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If it is in fact true that it can't be done remotely for Florence, then that in and of itself is knowledge that would apply to potential future problems. "Don't bother trying to find a way to reduce the fine unless you're willing to show up in court."

There ARE jurisdictions in the US that do allow for pleading remotely. I've 'heard' of this being done in Texas by phone.
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 08:11 AM
  #23  
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Thanks Zerlina...good information.

If the credit card charges had appeared sometime close to the rental I probably would have questioned EuropCar about it. The fact that 7 1/2 months had lapsed though gave me pause. I hadn't mentioned it, but we went to Italy again in November...without a rental car. I had assumed that during that trip my credit card had been used by a merchant and the numbers sold off and that the charges were a result of that. My rationale stems from exactly this happening on my first trip to Italy in 2003...just figured it happened again.

I am thinking that I may try writing a letter to each of the three addresses provided by EMO, using babelfish to translate it to Italian and mail it off asking for the fines to be reduced to their original amount. Doubt that will work but at least I'll have tried.
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 08:13 AM
  #24  
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Oh, I have been looking for an excuse to go back to Florence so maybe going to contest or plead in person is just what I needed!

I'll take cabs though, of course!
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Old Jan 13th, 2008, 08:16 AM
  #25  
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Just found this fairly helpful website as well:

http://blogfromitaly.com/2006/09/14/...ines-in-italy/

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Old Jan 14th, 2008, 06:31 AM
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There's useful if somewhat alarming information on this subject here: http://www.bella-toscana.com/traffic...ions_italy.htm
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 06:19 PM
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I received two tickets in the mail this week for fines incurred in July, 2007. I drove through a ZTL twice in the same day. I now owe some outsourcing company nearly 200 Euros

Interestingly, our hotel was in a ZTL (I didn't know what a ZTL was until yesterday). I am fluent in Italian (my mother's family still lives there) and I have visited and driven all over Italy many, many times. I speak with a very noticable English accent and I presented my Canadian passport on arrival at the hotel so clearly, there was no mistaking that I was a tourist. When I ask where I should park my car, I would expect the hotel employee to have the common sense (and courtesy) to know that my car probably doesn't have 'authority' to drive through a ZTL so she shouldn't have sent me past the second camera. She should also have asked for my license plate and called it in to the Police (had I known what the ZTL sign was, I would have done this myself!). I assume that it's too late for the hotel to call now...7 months have passed.

When I bought my International Drivers License, I received a book with laws and signs specific to Italy which I actually studied. The book I received (from CAA - the AAA equivalent in Canada) did NOT include the ZTL sign. The "Do Not Enter" is a red circle with a horizontal white line going through the middle - same as it is in North America. I have since notified CAA and AAA of my incidents and of their ommission.

I am not saying that tourists should be exempted from these rules - the municipality of Firenze is free to make and enforce any rules they deem necessary. But for a city that relies heavily on tourists for income and prosperity, they should have considered the fall-out this sort of gouging will have on their tourism industry. I have absolutely no way to appeal or discuss this with anyone in authority and I think that is what upsets me the most. I spent over 2000 Euros in Firenze last July and we had a fantastic vacation. Unfortunately, as a direct result of this, we will not be returning to Firenze and I have cancelled reservations I made for three separate groups this coming summer. Funny - I actually had them staying at the same hotel we were at. There are beaches, museums, wineries and art in other more tourist-friendly areas of Italy. I am also using the internet to my advantage and posting my story on well-respected sites like Fodor's so others avoid what so many of us are going through now.

This is such a black eye for the city of Firenze. It's a trap really - if your hotel is in the core area of the city, there is no way to avoid these ZTL areas. You either call the Police yourself or hope that the hotel employees remember to do it on your behalf.

Imagine had I known what the ZTL sign meant and tried to stop my car in the middle of a busy street. That would surely upset the people behind me. Italy is not known for their patient or courtious drivers.
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Old Jan 26th, 2008, 11:29 PM
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I can understand your frustration.
Some hotels in Florence have very clear information about the ZTL already on their website, yours did not even inform you when you were there in person. I think you were right to assume that they could have warned you.

For further travels:
The red circle with a horizontal white line, i.e. the Do not enter sign you also know from the States, means just that: No entry. Posted usually at the "wrong" end of one way streets. Sometimes you find exemptions, e.g. for cyclists which then are allowed to use the one-way street in the opposite direction.
The main message of that sign is: You must not enter, and you usually can not enter (unless you want to go in a head on collision in a one-way).

The white sign with the red circle is a more generic sign, meaning "no motorized or vehicular traffic beyond this point". This sign is very widely used throughout Europe with a multitude of additional signs that usually show possible exemptions. In France you often see it with a "sauf riverains" exemption, or in Germany at the beginning of pedestrian zones with exemptions for delivery trucks for certain times.
The main message is: Technically you could enter this street (if there are exemptions mentioned) -- but make sure that you understand the exemptions and qualify for them.
When in doubt that you have fully understood the message (which can often be a multitude of possible exemption), do not enter.
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Old Jan 27th, 2008, 12:19 AM
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As Cowboy1968 and others say the round white sign with red border means do not drive on this street. Anyone driving in Europe should know this sign and the other important signs. The radar camera boxes have been used for over 30 years in Europe to enforce traffic laws. I have a souvenir photo from Germany. You can request the photo and it will be sent to you.

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Old Jan 28th, 2008, 05:34 PM
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I should apologize for the tone of my letter. Yes, I am frustrated, especially since I thought I took all the precautions of researching our hotels and the best routes to get there. I specifically researched any new and updated laws of the roads I planned on travelling that may have changed since the last time I drove in Italy (2005). Clearly, I missed this one.

I can gripe all I want about this but it doesn't change the fact that I broke the law and I have to pay the financial penalties associated with it. I have also decided to have my cousin (who is a lawyer near Ancona) to help me write a more, um, politely-worded letter to the municipality to express my disatisfaction at not being able to appeal. Perhaps some good will come of it; For example, they may ask their hotels to try and be more proactive with guests who are driving rental cars. I have since asked my particular hotel to add ZTL info to their website to warn potentials guests...
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Old Jan 28th, 2008, 11:27 PM
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For future reference:

With my rather rustic command of Italian, I think that the ZTL ordinance says that your hotel (and only your hotel) can put the number plate of the vehicle on the so called "White List". The hotel is supposed to have the appropriate software since they seem only to be able to do it online. The hotel should have 2 days to accomplish that.
Even if they do it properly, that will only give you access to the ZTL to unload (or load) your luggage, and is not like a temporary pass which would allow you access for the whole time of your stay. Either park in the hotel garage (if possible), or get out of the ZTL after unloaded and park in a public parking until the day of your departure.

IMO, multiple ticket can result from the fact that Florence's ZTL consists of several different zones, so you may be caught by cameras in zone A and C on your way to your hotel. Since permits get issued for these sub-zones I would guess that you can also violate access regulations on a sub-zone by sub-zone basis, i.e. "collect" up to five tickets if you went zig zag thru the Old Town.

Asking your cousin in Ancona for help sounds like a good idea. He will surely be able to offer better legal advice on this than most or all of us here.
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Old Feb 15th, 2008, 01:52 PM
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Hi,

Dide someone learn anything new about those tickets cause I just received 6 of them... not a pretty sight... We are talking aobut a huge amount of money (more than 600$) for a crime I did not know I was doing.

I could definetaly use more info (facts) on how to handle days and please skip the little opinions like you should have known... I already have a mother, thanks.


thanks for all your REAL help.
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Old Feb 18th, 2008, 03:51 AM
  #33  
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Start here:

http://slowtalk.com/groupee/forums?a...3&r=5511010704

From what I have found, you're screwed and you will not believe how many people and companies are going to keep coming at you and coming at you for this. Your $600 will likely go to $800 by the time it is all over.
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Old Feb 18th, 2008, 05:44 AM
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Ignorance is no excuse of traffic laws. If you rent a car and drive in a foreign country, you are obligated to learn the laws. Stop being such a big baby, you are guilty. It doesn't make any difference if you claim you didn't know the local language and didn't bother to learn the traffic laws so think you can do whatever you want. I live in an area with a lot of inconsiderate tourists who drive around doing all kind of things that affect traffic, which are illegal, and you better believe I hope they get slammed with tickets. Maybe it will teach them a lesson.
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Old Feb 18th, 2008, 10:57 AM
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I was not ignorant of the law, but short of being able to fly I was completely unable to avoid the restricted zone because of the construction and detours. Further, I had asked the hotel to register the car so that I could drive it to the garage. Nonetheless, I got a ticket, which I paid simply to avoid hassle. And I did and do feel ripped off. I knew the law, made every effort to comply with it, and was ticketed anyway.

el
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Old Feb 18th, 2008, 03:48 PM
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Wow, someone (Christina) sure is grumpy and not all that helpful. After that tantrum, I thinketh you the baby.
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Old Feb 18th, 2008, 07:08 PM
  #37  
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We were in Italy in Oct and I had read about the restricted areas of Florence and driving in them would result in a ticket. None the less, there we were driving from Tuscany into Florence with our terrible directions to autoeurope car return. Even w/ a nav system we circled the area and could not find a way to it without going thru the restricted area. After an hour of arguing we finally gave up and said forget it and knowingly drove thru the restricted area right to the autoeurope and were there in minutes. Have no idea how we could have gotten there otherwise. Guess what showed up in our mail last month? Yes, a ticket for 30EU plus handling fee to autoeurope that was charged to our cc card. I was not surprised. The only thing that I don't get is the non-specific printout from the Polizia Munipale -- it has our car license plate number and the time of the infraction but doesn't say what it was for -- speeding, restricted area, etc? I'm just guessing restricted area, but it seems like it should have more info!
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