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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 June 2007, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
Vatican's 'driving commandments'
Pedestrians cross a street as motorists drive past St Peter's square in Rome
The Vatican City has a 30km/h (19 mph) speed limit
The Vatican has issued a set of "10 commandments" for motorists to promote safer driving.

The "Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of the Road" call on drivers to respect speed limits, refrain from drinking before driving and avoid cursing.

Roman Catholics are also urged to make the sign of the cross before setting off on a journey.

This is said to be the first time the Vatican has specifically dealt with the growing worldwide problem of road rage.

'Occasion of sin'

The 36-page document was put together by the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Migrants and Itinerant People.

We know that as a consequence of transgressions and negligence, 1.2 million people die each year on the roads
Cardinal Renato Martino

"Thou shalt not drive and drink", "thou shalt not make rude gestures behind the steering wheel" and "help accident victims" are among the 10 recommendations for motorists.

The document also warns that driving can bring out "primitive" behaviour in motorists, including "cursing, blasphemy, loss of sense of responsibility".

It says that automobiles can be "an occasion of sin" - particularly when they are used for dangerous overtaking or for prostitution.

Cardinal Renato Martino, who heads the Vatican's council, said it was important to address the issue because driving had become a big part of contemporary life.

"We know that as a consequence of transgressions and negligence, 1.2 million people die each year on the roads," he said.

"That's a sad reality, and at the same time a great challenge for society and the Church."

There is not much speeding going on in the Vatican City itself, the BBC's David Willey in Rome says.

A 30km/h (19 mph) speed limit has been enforced for years in the tiny state.

The last recorded accident there was a year-and-a-half ago, our correspondent says.

The advice offered by the Vatican

Factfile: Roman Catholics around the world
01 Apr 05 |  Special Reports

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