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I am going to italy, and I have a full australian driving licence and an international drivers permit. My friend has a car and has his learners permit only.

Can he drive with me as his passenger with my full Aussie licence?

  • How long have you had your licence for? In Italy the road code requires having obtained your driving licence more than 10 years ago to be legally allowed to supervise a learner. Should you be allowed to supervise on an Australian permit I assume this rule would still apply. – JoErNanO Mar 17 '15 at 8:19
  • @JoErNanO that could be turned into an answer: something along the lines of 'yes, if you've held it for x years...plus details, and link' – Mark Mayo Mar 17 '15 at 8:52
  • 1
    Also, does your friend have an Italian learner's permit (foglio rosa) or an Australian one? From the title I would say the former but it's worth checking. @MarkMayo I'm trying to look up the legalese for this even though I assume that the Italian road code is unlikely to mention foreign permits for this particular case. – JoErNanO Mar 17 '15 at 9:23
  • Do it the italian way: drive and hope not to be caught! ;-) (just kidding) – Alessandro Da Rugna Mar 17 '15 at 16:47
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Supervising a Learner Driver in Italy

The Accompanying Driver

Quoting from Article 122 of the Italian road code, comma 2:

  1. L'autorizzazione consente all'aspirante di esercitarsi su veicoli delle categorie per le quali è stata richiesta la patente o l'estensione di validità della medesima, purché al suo fianco si trovi, in funzione di istruttore, persona di età non superiore a sessantacinque anni, munita di patente valida per la stessa categoria, conseguita da almeno dieci anni, ovvero valida per la categoria superiore; l'istruttore deve, a tutti gli effetti, vigilare sulla marcia del veicolo, intervenendo tempestivamente ed efficacemente in caso di necessità. Se il veicolo non è munito di doppi comandi a pedale almeno per il freno di servizio e per l'innesto a frizione, l'istruttore non può avere età superiore a sessanta anni.(2) 

Which states that the accompanying driver must be younger than 60 years old if the car is not fitted with double pedals (I.e. on both driver and passenger sides as a driving school car would be), and in possession of a valid superior class driving licence (class B in this case) for a minimum of 10 years for him to be allowed to supervise a learner driver.

The Learner

The learner must be in possession of a valid authorisation allowing him to drive a vehicle as a learner driver (in Italian slang: foglio rosa).

Quoting from Article 122 of the Italian road code, comma 1:

  1. A chi ha fatto domanda per sostenere l'esame per la patente di guida ovvero per l'estensione di validità della patente ad altre categorie di veicoli ed è in possesso dei requisiti fisici e psichici prescritti è rilasciata un'autorizzazione per esercitarsi alla guida, previo superamento della prova di controllo delle cognizioni di cui al comma 1 dell'art. 121,  che deve avvenire entro sei mesi  dalla data di  presentazione  della  domanda  per  il  conseguimento  della patente. Entro il termine di cui al  periodo  precedente  non  sono consentite più di due prove. (1)(1a)

The Vehicle

The vehicle must be fitted with a "P" (for Principiante = beginner) sign to the back, which symbolises the fact that the driver is a learner.

Quoting from Article 122 of the Italian road code, comma 4:

  1. Gli autoveicoli per le esercitazioni e gli esami di guida devono essere muniti di appositi contrassegni recanti la lettera alfabetica "P". Tale contrassegno è sostituito per i veicoli delle autoscuole con la scritta "scuola guida". Le caratteristiche di tali contrassegni e le modalità di applicazione saranno determinate nel regolamento.

Foreign Licences

Q. Can I Supervise With a Foreign Licence? -- A. Yes.

Nowhere does the road code mention foreign driving licence. Only the driving licence class is mentioned. This makes me presume that an EEA licence would be allowed, since driving licence classes have been standardised across the EEA. Having said this, I found various references (see here and (more authoritative) here) according to which the driving licence of the accompanying driver needs not be Italian, without any distinction between EU and non-EU. Quoting from the second website:

Istruttore

[...]

  • patente della stessa categoria conseguita da almeno 10 anni – se la persona ha una patente di categoria superiore, il limite di "anzianità" della patente non viene applicato (quindi se il candidato si fa accompagnare da un ventenne con la patente C, è in regola). La patente può anche non essere italiana.

Nevertheless, whether non-EU licence-holders would be allowed to supervise is up for interpretation. In my opinion you would be gambling your luck should you be stopped in Italy by the police. Ever more so if you are stopped for a road code violation as opposed to a routine check. In the latter case you might be able to talk your way out of it with an "I'm sorry officer, it won't happen again" and taking the wheel after that.

Q. Can I Drive with a Foreign Learner's Permit? -- A. Probably not.

This too is not mentioned and thus open to interpretation. Once again you can always try to talk your way out of a ticket but that's obviously a risk. Most probably the answer to this question can be found by reading the road code relative to the country issuing the learner's permit. For example, the Italian learner's permit does not allow the holder to drive abroad (see section Il foglio rosa permette di esercitarsi on this website). It is safe to assume that this might be a common limitation across various countries.

The Limitations

Note that learned drivers in Italy are subject to the same stricter limitations as new-drivers i.e. drivers who obtained their permit less than 3 years ago. These include a speed limit of 100km/h on paying highways (as opposed to 130km/h) and 90km/h on extra-urban motorways (as opposed to 110km/h). Quoting from the Italian Police website:

La limitazione generale indicata in premessa prevede che i titolari di patente delle categorie A2, A, B1 e B: per i primi 3 anni dal conseguimento della patente, non possono guidare a velocità superiore a 100 km/h sulle autostrade e 90 km/h sulle strade extraurbane principali, indipendentemente da cilindrata o potenza del veicolo.

The engine-size-to-power limitations that apply to new-drivers (see the Italian Police website) on the other hand do not apply to learner drivers. Quoting from the Verona Police website:

Non sono previste limitazioni per quanto riguarda la potenza del veicolo utilizzato per le esercitazioni: questa regola subentra infatti solo successivamente, a patente ottenuta e per i primi 3 anni dal rilascio (vedi limitazioni per neopatentati).

The Sanctions

Driver and learner driver violating comma 2 will both be sanctioned with a fine ranging between 419€ and 1682€. Leaner driver violating comma 2 will be sanctioned with a fine ranging between 419€ and 1682€ as well as a possible seizing of the vehicle for the months. Comma 4 violations will be sanctioned with a fine ranging between 84€ and 335€. See the aforementioned road code commas 7-8-9 for more details.

  • My Italian is indeed not very good, but doesn't the road code say that the instructor must be younger than 65 years old (sessantacinque anni)? – Tor-Einar Jarnbjo Mar 17 '15 at 10:31
  • @Tor-EinarJarnbjo The inline formatting was hiding an important piece of information: Se il veicolo non è munito di doppi comandi a pedale almeno per il freno di servizio e per l'innesto a frizione, l'istruttore non può avere età superiore a sessanta anni. i.e. the accompanying driver must be younger than 60 years old if the car is not fitted with double pedals (I.e. on both driver and passenger sides as a driving school car would be). If fitted with double pedals the limit is indeed 65 years old. – JoErNanO Mar 17 '15 at 10:47

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