On this day in auto history – June 19th

Fri 19th Jun 2020

It was on this day in 2007 that much fun was poked at the Vatican after it issued a bizarre set of "10 commandments” for motorists, warning drivers against the sins of road rage, abuse of alcohol and even simple rudeness.

The commandments were part of a 36-page document which urged Roman Catholics to make the sign of the cross before setting off on a journey, whilst warning that driving can bring out “primitive behaviour” in motorists, including speeding, cursing and blasphemy. 

The document - which even included guidelines addressing prostitution - did go on to extol the benefits of driving, namely family outings, getting the sick to hospital and allowing people get to their place of work or worship.

The document was put together following a spike in deaths on Italy’s roads but there wasn’t much speeding going on in the Vatical City itself where a strict 30km/h (19mph) speed limit was rigidly enforced and only one accident had been recorded in the preceding two years.

Legendary Italian movie director Dino Risi seemed to capture the mood of the public when he quipped: “Overtaking is a sin? Well, then I’m a murderer, I’ll turn myself in immediately. I think the Vatican has lost its marbles.”