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Meeting with representatives of the Italian traffic and railway police, the Argentine-born pontiff yesterday spoke of an "increasingly complex and tumultuous" reality on the roads.
"We must take into account the limited sense of responsibility of many drivers, who often do not seem to realise the serious consequences of their distraction, such as their misuse of mobile phones or their non-compliance of safety laws," Francis said.
He added: "This is caused by a haste and a competitiveness that have become a lifestyle, which views other drivers as obstacles or adversaries to be overtaken, transforming the streets into Formula One tracks".
However, the pope said police officers should show "mercy" towards the rule-breakers, which he said meant not associating the person with the crime and trying to understand the reasons behind the person's actions.
But showing "mercy is not a sign of weakness," the pontiff said, "nor does it require giving up the use of force".