Edition 1505
15 December 2018
Edition: 1505

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Alcohol-related road deaths on the up, in tragic week on Algarve roads

by Carrie-Marie Bratley, in Algarve · 02-08-2018 10:12:00 · 0 Comments

In 12 months, the number of drivers killed in accidents on Portugal’s roads and who were found to have a blood alcohol content reading above the legal drink-drive limit of 0.5 grams per litre of blood, rose by more than five percentage points.

Alcohol-related road deaths on the up, in tragic week on Algarve roads

According to fresh figures out this week, in 2017, 35.5 percent of drivers who died in road accidents had readings above the legal drink-drive limit.
This was significantly up on the 29.3 percent registered in 2016, and also up on the 31.8 percent registered in 2015.
According to data cited by newspaper Jornal de Notícias (JN), many of those drivers had readings that were criminally punishable; 70 percent of them were found to have consumed enough alcohol to give readings above the 1.2 grams per litre of blood, which is a criminal offence.
The numbers were crunched by JN after being sent from the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Science, which autopsied 279 drivers.
More than 99 of the drivers autopsied gave readings of 0.5 g/l or above; ten were under 0.9 g/l; 20 were found to have readings of over 1.20 g/l, and 69 drivers had more than 1.2 grams of alcohol per litre of blood, a rate that, had they have been caught by police, would have made them liable to be sentenced to prison.
Southern Portugal was the region where the most people with alcohol in their blood were involved in accidents, according to data provided to JN by the National Road Safety Authority (ANSR), followed by the central and northern regions.
ANSR’s data is based on deceased whose deaths were declared at the scene of the accident or en-route to the hospital.
On top of that, last year, 98 pedestrians also died as a result of road accidents, 17 of whom had an alcohol rate above 0.5 g/l.
Overall, during the first five months of this year, 182 people died on Portugal’s roads and close to 53,000 accidents were registered, which is three deaths fewer than during the same period of last year, but almost 2,700 more crashes.
The number of serious injuries caused in the accidents was also up.
In the last week of May 2018 alone, from 22 to 31 May, 18 people died on Portugal’s roads and 53 were seriously injured in accidents.
In related news, the start of this week was another stark reminder for the Algarve of the perils of the intense summer traffic currently being experienced on the region’s roads, as a young ex-hockey player was killed in a violent smash on the notorious EN125, and seven tourists were injured in an accident on the A22, on the same day.
Luís Godinho, 20, who formerly played hockey for Sporting, was killed in a crash on Monday morning on the EN125 near Lagoa. Nine other people were injured, two seriously, and the road was closed in both directions, causing massive tailbacks and congestion stretching for kilometres during commuter traffic.
Three cars were involved in the collision, which happened at around 9.30am, at kilometre 47, direction Portimão-Lagoa.
It is understood Luís Godinho, originally from Évora, was driving and had friends travelling with.
The stretch of road was cut off in both directions for emergency services to attend, and only reopened close to midday.
At least a dozen emergency INEM ambulance and VMER resuscitation vehicles, fire engines and bombeiros ambulances were at the scene, which was littered with debris and injured people. Most of the injured parties were taken to Portimão hospital; the two most seriously injured were rushed to Faro Hospital.
The accident happened on a stretch of road with a solid white line down the middle. GNR police are still investigating the cause of the crash.
Later that same day, an accident on the Algarve’s A22 motorway, between Boliqueime and Albufeira, saw seven foreigners injured; four Germans, two Swedes, and the Czech driver.
The group, who had been on a safari tour of Loulé’s rural interior, suffered just minor injuries after the closed-top tourist jeep rolled.
The group was on its way back to a hotel in Albufeira.
The horrific accidents come at a time when the volume of traffic on the region’s roads increases exponentially due to the heavy influx of summer visitors, further aggravated by the number of drivers who opt for the EN125 to avoid tolls on the A22. 
Last year the government said it would be looking to reduce the number of accidents occurring on the country’s roads and tackle the main causes of them in 2018, after 2017 saw a global rise in road-related deaths, severe injuries and crashes.
And while the overall number of deaths caused in accidents on Portugal’s roads up until May was marginally fewer than in the same period of 2017 (down three), it seems the government still has work to do when it comes to seasonal influxes and drink-driving.

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Edition 1505
15 December 2018
Edition: 1505

Read this week's issue online exactly as it appears in print.

Twitter

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