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Italian Bus Lane Infringement, with Hire car with German rego
Waggy
post Mon, 7 Jan 2019 - 11:17
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Hi.

I have today picked up a signed for delivery letter from the Municipal Police in Verona, in Italy. It's a Violation report dating back to a contravention on 9th Sep 2017.
The Violation documentation makes it clear that Avis the hire car company has provided the Municipal Police with my information.

I was in Verona with a German hire car. The violation report states that i 'Occupied Lane Dedicated to Public Transport' and a fee of Euro 81.90 is due.

Having logged on to the Internet site for payments there is indeed a picture of the rear of my hire cart, in some sort of what appears to be a bus lane. From memory, at the time of the violation,
there was some very heavy rain. I cannot dispute if I was in the bus lane, obviously I was unaware of this probably due to lack of signage,
non knowledge of the applicable signage or even the amount of rain/reduced visibility.

The original violation was 9/9/2017. I have received nothing in the mean time and this registered letter is the first time I have been informed about the violation.
The violation report states there is a 'reopening date for notification deadlines: 10/11/2018'.
This gives me staggered days to appeal, by the looks of things, with the fine increasing from Euro 81.90, to Euro 106.20 to EURO 188.20.

So the questions are,

- why have I not heard anything about this violation up until today the 7/01/2019?
- it is dated the 9/9/2017. Is it still enforceable?
- seeing the picture provided as evidence is a dark picture showing the rear of my hire vehicle, it does not show me driving it. In fact it is pretty nondescript and could have been taken anywhere at any time.

Does anyone have any advice?

thanks in advance.


Attached Image


The online payment portal states...


Attached Image



I am guessing the 5 day counter for reduced amount starts as soon as they have seen me log-in/or checked that I have signed for their signed for letter.
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post Mon, 7 Jan 2019 - 11:17
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cp8759
post Mon, 7 Jan 2019 - 12:47
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Experience tells us that if you just ignore this, noting will happen. They might send you a bunch of scary letters, but that is likely to be the end of it. There is a cross-border enforcement mechanism whereby they could enforce this through your local Magistrates' Court, but in practice this is very rare because the Italian authorities wouldn't get the money (when the relevant EU law was drawn up, it was decided that the local court would get to keep the money).

In any event, as far as I recall, Italian law says you must be notified of an offence within 365 days of the offence (or maybe from the detection date), so I don't see them being able to pursue you know. In any case it would be a breach of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights for them to pursue this at this point, so that's your trump card if they take it any further than scary letters.


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I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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baroudeur
post Mon, 7 Jan 2019 - 13:50
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QUOTE (Waggy @ Mon, 7 Jan 2019 - 11:17) *
Hi.

I have today picked up a signed for delivery letter from the Municipal Police in Verona, in Italy. It's a Violation report dating back to a contravention on 9th Sep 2017.
The Violation documentation makes it clear that Avis the hire car company has provided the Municipal Police with my information.

I was in Verona with a German hire car. The violation report states that i 'Occupied Lane Dedicated to Public Transport' and a fee of Euro 81.90 is due.

Having logged on to the Internet site for payments there is indeed a picture of the rear of my hire cart, in some sort of what appears to be a bus lane. From memory, at the time of the violation,
there was some very heavy rain. I cannot dispute if I was in the bus lane, obviously I was unaware of this probably due to lack of signage,
non knowledge of the applicable signage or even the amount of rain/reduced visibility.

The original violation was 9/9/2017. I have received nothing in the mean time and this registered letter is the first time I have been informed about the violation.
The violation report states there is a 'reopening date for notification deadlines: 10/11/2018'.
This gives me staggered days to appeal, by the looks of things, with the fine increasing from Euro 81.90, to Euro 106.20 to EURO 188.20.

So the questions are,

- why have I not heard anything about this violation up until today the 7/01/2019?
- it is dated the 9/9/2017. Is it still enforceable?
- seeing the picture provided as evidence is a dark picture showing the rear of my hire vehicle, it does not show me driving it. In fact it is pretty nondescript and could have been taken anywhere at any time.

Does anyone have any advice?

thanks in advance.


Attached Image


The online payment portal states...


Attached Image



I am guessing the 5 day counter for reduced amount starts as soon as they have seen me log-in/or checked that I have signed for their signed for letter.


Did Avis charge a fee - have you checked your account?


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Churchmouse
post Mon, 7 Jan 2019 - 15:24
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UK posties usually just drop the "signed for" slip through the letterbox with the rest of the post, which means the sender never gets the delivery confirmation they need in order to comply with the Italian requirements. Shame...

If you're easily spooked, you could have a go at paying it. But most people seem okay with ignoring these things. That's what I did re the last one I got (it wasn't me driving, and I had proof I was elsewhere at the time of the event), but I never signed for the notice as I was never asked to do so.

--Churchmouse
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progbloke
post Mon, 7 Jan 2019 - 15:36
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Seventy-odd pounds for driving in a bus lane seems like a bargain compared to whatever extortionate amounts TFL charge...
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roythebus
post Mon, 7 Jan 2019 - 21:41
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Just make sure the hire company don't suddenly deduct the charge from your credit card if you ignore it.
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baroudeur
post Tue, 8 Jan 2019 - 11:27
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QUOTE (roythebus @ Mon, 7 Jan 2019 - 21:41) *
Just make sure the hire company don't suddenly deduct the charge from your credit card if you ignore it.



The hire company, almost certainly, would have supplied the hirer's details a year ago and made any charge, incorporated in the contract, at that time so the OP needs to look back into his account.

It seems, from other threads, that Italian legislation causes these claims to appear more than a year after the event.
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cp8759
post Tue, 8 Jan 2019 - 12:23
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QUOTE (baroudeur @ Tue, 8 Jan 2019 - 11:27) *
QUOTE (roythebus @ Mon, 7 Jan 2019 - 21:41) *
Just make sure the hire company don't suddenly deduct the charge from your credit card if you ignore it.



The hire company, almost certainly, would have supplied the hirer's details a year ago and made any charge, incorporated in the contract, at that time so the OP needs to look back into his account.

It seems, from other threads, that Italian legislation causes these claims to appear more than a year after the event.

As I understand it the time limit under Italian law is 360 days, but there's a 90 day extension for hire cars, making it a total of 450 days in the case most favourable to the Italian authorities. As the notification was served some 486 days after the date of the alleged offence, it is time-barred.

Apparently an appeal form should have been enclosed, and in principle if you write back pointing out the error they should cancel it. I suggest you post a redacted copy of the paperwork.

QUOTE (baroudeur @ Tue, 8 Jan 2019 - 11:27) *
QUOTE (roythebus @ Mon, 7 Jan 2019 - 21:41) *
Just make sure the hire company don't suddenly deduct the charge from your credit card if you ignore it.



The hire company, almost certainly, would have supplied the hirer's details a year ago and made any charge, incorporated in the contract, at that time so the OP needs to look back into his account.

If the authorities had got the money that way, I don't see why they'd bother sending him anything now.


--------------------
I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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baroudeur
post Tue, 8 Jan 2019 - 16:54
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Tue, 8 Jan 2019 - 12:23) *
If the authorities had got the money that way, I don't see why they'd bother sending him anything now.



The hire company's fee for handling a traffic penalty wink.gif
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Churchmouse
post Tue, 8 Jan 2019 - 17:08
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Tue, 8 Jan 2019 - 12:23) *
QUOTE (baroudeur @ Tue, 8 Jan 2019 - 11:27) *
The hire company, almost certainly, would have supplied the hirer's details a year ago and made any charge, incorporated in the contract, at that time so the OP needs to look back into his account.

If the authorities had got the money that way, I don't see why they'd bother sending him anything now.

It would probably be cheaper if they had done! But I suspect the hire company is "not liable" if they name the vehicle's hirer, similar to the legal situation in many other countries, so there would be no later come-back by the authorities after the failure of their debt collection efforts re the hirer.

--Churchmouse
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Waggy
post Tue, 8 Jan 2019 - 22:46
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thanks for all your replies. I am currently looking through my credit card statements to see if there were any Avis Admin charges made to it. I would have thought they would have at least notified me
of adding any charges, not just doing it silently - I never got any notifications by post or email.
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Waggy
post Tue, 8 Jan 2019 - 23:11
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Tue, 8 Jan 2019 - 12:23) *
QUOTE (baroudeur @ Tue, 8 Jan 2019 - 11:27) *
QUOTE (roythebus @ Mon, 7 Jan 2019 - 21:41) *
Just make sure the hire company don't suddenly deduct the charge from your credit card if you ignore it.



The hire company, almost certainly, would have supplied the hirer's details a year ago and made any charge, incorporated in the contract, at that time so the OP needs to look back into his account.

It seems, from other threads, that Italian legislation causes these claims to appear more than a year after the event.

As I understand it the time limit under Italian law is 360 days, but there's a 90 day extension for hire cars, making it a total of 450 days in the case most favourable to the Italian authorities. As the notification was served some 486 days after the date of the alleged offence, it is time-barred.

Apparently an appeal form should have been enclosed, and in principle if you write back pointing out the error they should cancel it. I suggest you post a redacted copy of the paperwork.

QUOTE (baroudeur @ Tue, 8 Jan 2019 - 11:27) *
QUOTE (roythebus @ Mon, 7 Jan 2019 - 21:41) *
Just make sure the hire company don't suddenly deduct the charge from your credit card if you ignore it.



The hire company, almost certainly, would have supplied the hirer's details a year ago and made any charge, incorporated in the contract, at that time so the OP needs to look back into his account.

If the authorities had got the money that way, I don't see why they'd bother sending him anything now.



attached the violation report.

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cp8759
post Wed, 9 Jan 2019 - 11:11
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QUOTE (Waggy @ Tue, 8 Jan 2019 - 22:46) *
thanks for all your replies. I am currently looking through my credit card statements to see if there were any Avis Admin charges made to it. I would have thought they would have at least notified me
of adding any charges, not just doing it silently - I never got any notifications by post or email.

This is quite important. As far as I've been able to work out, the 360 deadline runs from the day Avis served the Italian authorities with your details (so the limitation period is effectively 90 + however long it took Avis to answer + 360). If you can establish the notification was out of time you can appeal to the prefect of Verona on that basis and the penalty should be cancelled.

Of course, you could just not bother, as they're not realistically going to enforce it.


--------------------
I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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Churchmouse
post Wed, 9 Jan 2019 - 11:11
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It's interesting that the report mentions that "the driver" of the vehicle "committed a violation", which was not "disputed" because the violation had been "determined" according to some sort of approved device. I'm sure it made perfect sense in Italian.

What most bothered me about the similar notice I received some years ago was that there was seemingly no option to avoid liability by providing the name of the driver (which wasn't me). The hire company was obviously given that opportunity, but the hirer was not. That, and the dodgy English translation raising as many questions as it answered, caused me the question the sufficiency of the due process in such foreign proceedings. Whilst I acknowledge that, as foreigners, we are obliged to follow their rules (as are foreigners visiting the UK), that doesn't mean we lose our ECHR-guaranteed human right to a fair trial (Article 6). If there are logistical difficulties in remotely enforcing laws on foreigners, the state always has the option of using human beings to enforce laws, which they have voluntarily chosen not to do.

The reason I mentioned "the driver" being named in the report is because there are different approaches to liability for traffic and parking violations throughout Europe. In the UK, the driver is usually responsible for traffic violations, which is why the police must send out a request under s.172 for the registered keeper to provide the name of the driver at the time of the alleged offence. If the police do not know who was driving they cannot prosecute (for the underlying offence). However, in some EU countries the owner or keeper of the vehicle can be held directly liable for traffic violations. But, according to the RAC, "Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain and Austria" have "driver liability" legal systems, like the UK. However, that doesn't necessarily tell us whether this particular bus lane restriction is enforceable only against "the driver", or if that was mentioned only because the vehicle was being driven by "a driver" at the time of the violation...

The report does mention that it is possible to "appeal" the imposition of the fine to the Prefect of Verona, or to the Peace Officer of Verona, but all such appeals must be written in Italian (and there are fees to pay in the case of the latter). The same paragraph characterises the fine as being "administrative", rather than criminal, which may affect your ECHR rights as well as the potential effect of ignoring the request for payment. Or, it could just be a translation error!

--Churchmouse
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cp8759
post Wed, 9 Jan 2019 - 11:24
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Churchmouse I don't think it makes any difference that they term the fine as "administrative", I'm not going to dig it up again but there's been several ECHR cases where it's been held that even if member states decriminalise traffic violations, they remain "criminal" within the meaning of the ECHR as the term "criminal offence" has an autonomous meaning for the purposes of the convention that cannot be eviscerated by decriminalisation (or else member states could eviscerate article 6 by "decriminalising" offences and depriving citizens of their Article 6 rights).

Interestingly the owner is jointly and severally liable with the driver for the penalty, based on the "Solidarity principle": https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=a...olidarieta.html

That's one interesting concept of "solidarity" but there you go.


--------------------
I am not on the "motorists's side", nor am I on the "police/CPS/council's" side, I am simply in favour of the rule of law.
No, I am not a lawyer.
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The Rookie
post Wed, 9 Jan 2019 - 11:53
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QUOTE (Churchmouse @ Wed, 9 Jan 2019 - 11:11) *
The reason I mentioned "the driver" being named in the report is because there are different approaches to liability for traffic and parking violations throughout Europe. In the UK, the driver is usually responsible for traffic violations, which is why the police must send out a request under s.172

Except for anything that can be enforced under TMA2004 (where the area is under decrim), which of course amounts to far more 'actions' than anything by the police because, well, kerching.......

ONS data, latest year available was 2009/2010 when it was over 7M PCN's, just over 4M in London.


--------------------
There is no such thing as a law abiding motorist, just those who have been scammed and those yet to be scammed!

S172's
Rookies 1-0 Kent

Council PCN's
Rookies 1-0 Warwick
Rookies 1-0 Birmingham

PPC PCN's
Rookies 8-0 PPC's
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Churchmouse
post Thu, 10 Jan 2019 - 14:33
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QUOTE (cp8759 @ Wed, 9 Jan 2019 - 11:24) *
Churchmouse I don't think it makes any difference that they term the fine as "administrative", I'm not going to dig it up again but there's been several ECHR cases where it's been held that even if member states decriminalise traffic violations, they remain "criminal" within the meaning of the ECHR as the term "criminal offence" has an autonomous meaning for the purposes of the convention that cannot be eviscerated by decriminalisation (or else member states could eviscerate article 6 by "decriminalising" offences and depriving citizens of their Article 6 rights).

Interestingly the owner is jointly and severally liable with the driver for the penalty, based on the "Solidarity principle": https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=a...olidarieta.html

That's true, but I said it "may" affect the OP's rights, as there is also ECHR precedent that "minor" criminal offences need not be afforded the same Article 6 rights as other for criminal offences. For all we know, the reference to "administrative" may be to the Italian equivalent of a "minor" criminal offence for ECHR purposes. The requirement of a "fair trial" still would exist, but maybe not the right to cross-examine accusers. The ECHR's "Guide on Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights Right to a fair trial (criminal limb)" (https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Guide_Art_6_criminal_ENG.pdf) notes as follows:

QUOTE
"However, the criminal-head guarantees will not necessarily apply with their full stringency in all cases, in particular those that do not belong to the traditional categories of criminal law such as tax surcharges proceedings (Jussila v. Finland [GC], § 43), minor road traffic offences proceedings (Marčan v. Croatia, § 37) or proceedings concerning an administrative fine for having provided premises for prostitution (Sancaklı v. Turkey, §§ 43-52)."

I'm not sure what the "solidarity principle" means in the context of this case, but the OP was certainly not the "owner" of the vehicle. This translation reads more like it is codifying principal liability for an agent's actions, but it is hard to tell.

--Churchmouse
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