Edition 1476
26 May 2018
Edition: 1476

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Pointless system

by Brendan de Beer, in News · 18-01-2018 14:19:00 · 2 Comments

Figures out this week have revealed that only three percent of drivers who have committed serious or very serious traffic offences have had points added on to their licences since the system came into force back in 2016. This comes after Portugal recorded a double-digit increase in road deaths last year, a large part of which is attributable to reckless driving.

Pointless system

In the 18 months since the introduction of the points system, only around 18,000 of the 670,000 serious and very serious driving offenders have been handed penalty points on their licences.
According to figures from the National Road Safety Authority (ANSR) and which were published in Thursday’s edition of newspaper Diário de Notícias (DN) just 24 drivers lost their licences after reaching the 12-point limit on their licences.
ANSR spokesperson Pedro Silva told DN the reason why only one in every 37 serious traffic offenders have been given points is due to the fact that a standard case “takes an average of three years to be settled, starting with an appeal and ending in a final judicial ruling.”
The ANSR explained that the offences which weigh the most points are driving under the influence of alcohol, overtaking on a solid white line, failing to stop at a red traffic light or a stop sign, and also talking on a mobile phone while driving. Speeding remains the most common offence, but does not contribute the most to points.
The decision to introduce the penalty points system came as a result of a lengthy evaluation process based on the country’s National Road Safety Strategy, while also using comparative analyses made with other countries where that system is already in place such as Spain or the United Kingdom.
The idea behind a points system in Portugal was first revealed in the National Road Safety Strategy which came into effect in 2008 and sees drivers handed points for every offence, increasing in accordance with the transgression.
When a driver is left with only four points, he or she will be forced to attend road safety classes, and should it drop to two, the driver will be forced re-take their licence.
Once 12 penalty points have been reached, a driver will, in theory, immediately lose their licence for a period of two years.
This news comes as it emerged that more than five hundred people died on the nation’s roads in 2017 up by 12.5 percent on 2016.
These figures follow Home Minister Eduardo Cabrita saying late last year that the Government would reflect on what action is necessary with regard to the three main issues on Portuguese roads, namely people being run over, drink-driving, and accidents involving motorbikes.
“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 Cabrita, the Government wants to “launch a new and more ambitious way of implementing the national road safety plan”, which includes the current penalty points system.

Comments

Just surprised that having introduced the points system, there's been an increase in road accidents. Not however surprised at these really awful figures - it's very seldom that we drive anywhere without coming across reckless driving on the Algarve roads. Drivers overtaking in the face of oncoming traffic is common, speeding (high speeds in 50km zone, for example), tailgating. We were almost pushed off the road by a driver who was impatient because we were driving within the speed limit. Such a waste of life.
by Jenny from Algarve on 20-01-2018 10:09:00
Come on...we all know why only 24 people have lost their licenses. No license, no can drive, no fines. It's all about the money.
by Tony Vincent from Algarve on 19-01-2018 01:56:00

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Edition 1476
26 May 2018
Edition: 1476

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

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