Random drug, alcohol tests suggested for Venice's gondoliers

July 4, 2013 at 11:28 AM

VENICE, Italy, July 4 (UPI) -- Officials in Venice, Italy, say they are considering instituting random drug and alcohol tests for the city's famed gondoliers.

The proposed testing is in response to complaints that the water taxi pilots have been tooling up and down the picturesque city's canals while inebriated, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Thursday.

Gondoliers Association President Nicola Falconi said the random testing proposal to be discussed at a council meeting Monday will cover all workers associated with transport operations.

"From water-bus drivers to ship hands," he said. "Given that the complaints are rising, I called the meeting to propose the tests, which could also be random. "We don't know if [the idea] is doable, but at least we're trying to face an ever-mounting problem. "

ANSA said a video posted last week on YouTube showed a group of gondoliers allegedly hazing an aspiring assistant by forcing him to strip off his clothes and swim in a canal near St. Mark's Square in order to get the job. The alleged hazing was thought to involve alcohol.

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