In October last year, Jon and I traveled in Tuscany with our friends, Kate and Ray. We thought that trip was becoming another happy, but distant, memory, and then this week (note: six months after our trip), Kate received a couple of charges on her credit card from the rental car company we used in Florence: 92 euros for a traffic violation and 50 euros for an “administrative fee.”
And apparently we had not one, but two, traffic violations while driving in and out of Florence (just to pick up and drop off the car, bookending our trip driving around in Tuscany). So our total fees came to 284 euros. $451. Impressive.
So here’s the thing – I don’t have a problem with using traffic cameras, per se. What I *do* have a problem with is how car rental companies (who are the ones the police contact based on, presumably, photos of license plate numbers) automatically pay the fine and charge the renter. God forbid that the car rental company at least sends along a copy of the photo evidence and traffic ticket to the credit card holder. And don’t even get me started on how the renter then has to pay the car rental company 50 euros for the privilege of having them automatically charge your credit card.
Add in the long passage of time (six months! seriously?) between the alleged infraction and the date a renter actually sees the charge, and your odds of successfully challenging any of these violations are zero to nothing.
The whole thing makes me long for the “old days” of even five years ago, when you got pulled over or ticketed by an actual police officer whom you could actually talk to.
Anyhow, the traffic tickets are not exactly an ideal souvenir, but I guess it allowed Kate, Ray, Jon and me to indulge in some reminiscing this week. All I can say is: beware the driving restrictions in Florence (signs for which we must have missed, assuming these tickets are legit). Someone is definitely watching.