Friday, July 5, 2013

Beware The Drunk Gondoliers

Gondoliers are [now] subject to spot breathalyzer checks as part of a crackdown on Venice's increasingly unruly and crowded canals.

Italy's navigation code does not cover the entire Venetian lagoon, so boatmen are able to escape police checks on the use of alcohol or drugs, the London Telegraph reported Sunday.

The city is closing the legal loophole and imposing other regulations to ease congestion in Venice's canals.

"In the lagoon right now only part of the navigation code can be applied," said Annibale Tagliapietra, an aide to Venice Mayor Paolo Costa. "Police are unable to check a person's mental state and hence his ability to skipper a boat, or subsequently to impound the boat or suspend his license."

Speed traps were introduced six years ago, but a series of accidents and increased congestion in canals have drawn attention to safety. A woman drowned last July when a boat whose skipper was believed to have been drinking hit a water bus.

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