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Bid to make roads safer failing as deaths rise again

by Brendan de Beer, in News · 08-11-2018 09:39:00 · 0 Comments

The number of people who have died on Portuguese roads this year is once again up on the year before. This comes following decades of advances in road safety, which resulted in fatalities dropping to a quarter their original number in the space of 20 years.

Bid to make roads safer failing as deaths rise again

With a substantial rise in deaths in 2017, the Government said last December that it was aiming to build on the fact that Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world, by making roads safer in 2018.
But with figures released this week for the first ten months of the year showing an increase in victims, the Government has this year been unable to reverse this.
The National Road Safety Authority (ANSR) revealed that a total of 422 people had lost their lives on national roads this year, up from 420 over the same period in 2017 and well above the 372 fatalities recorded in 2016.
When taking the last 12 months into account dating from 1 November 2017 to 31 October 2018, the numbers make for even more stark reading, with deaths jumping from 493 to 512.
There were however slight improvements both in terms of serious and slight injuries suffered in traffic accidents.
Setúbal remained the deadliest region for motorists and their passengers with 61 deaths, followed by Porto (46) and Lisbon (42). The capital meanwhile recorded the highest number of serious injuries (218), followed by Santarém (178) and Faro (164).
Earlier this year, the European Union singled out Portugal in a report for failing to follow the example of other member states in cutting back road deaths.
A report by the EU revealed that the number of deaths on Portuguese roads rose 14 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year, which it said was the second highest increase recorded in the EU, where the average actually fell by two percent.
In 2017, an average of 62 people per million died in Portugal (in the EU, this average was 49 per million), whereas in the previous year there were 54 deaths (EU 50) per million.
According to the ANSR, more than 130,000 accidents were registered in 2017, while there were just under 2,200 serious injuries. A further 41,591 slight injuries were also recorded last year.
Internal Affairs Minister, Eduardo Cabrita said in December, after receiving the road death statistics that while “in 2016 we had a quarter of the fatalities we had 20 years ago, we cannot rest on our laurels. We want this positive evolution to consolidate and, in 2018, with public institutions, local authorities, security forces and services, and agents within the sector, we will take stock of how to improve the points of risk already identified: road accidents on urban roads, two-wheeled vehicles and alcohol consumption”.
“Portugal is one of the safest countries in the world. We want it to be the case with road safety too”, he said.
According to Mr. Cabrita, the Government wants to “launch a new and more ambitious way of implementing the national road safety plan”.
The government has repeatedly said it will reflect on what intervention is necessary with regard to the three main issues, namely, people being run over, drink-driving, and accidents involving motorbikes.
With a rise in road deaths for the first time in decades, the ANSR admitted that traffic fines issued had dropped by 20 percent in 2017. However, additional data indicated that the number of fines handed to foreigners visiting the country in their cars had risen from little over 7,000 in 2014 to 30,458 in 2016.

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Edition 1500
10 November 2018
Edition: 1500

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

Twitter

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