More than three thousand drivers have been fined for not following new rules when driving on roundabouts. According to figures released this week by Jornal de Notícias, the three thousand drivers were mostly fined for not exiting roundabouts from the right-hand lane.
Drivers were also reportedly fined for remaining in the right-hand lane even though they only intended to exit at a later stage.
Motorists are also required to indicate to the left should they intend to remain in the roundabout before indication to the right to reveal their intended exit.
The new roundabout traffic laws were introduced in 2014, but remain a constant topic of debate among confused motorists who face hefty fines for not following the law.
The numbers were supplied by the National Authority for Road Safety (ANSR), which indicated that 3,195 drivers have been “caught” breaking the law at roundabouts.
Rules on roundabouts continue to be at the centre of many road traffic legislation debates, not only by drivers, but also
police officers and insurance brokers.
According to the law change introduced at the beginning of 2014, “it is now expressly prohibited to travel on the lane furthest to the right unless it is used to take the next immediate exit.”
However, it allows for certain exceptions, such as “animal drawn vehicles, bicycles and heavy vehicles which can use the outside lane irrespective of the exit they intend taking, though priority should be given to exiting vehicles.”
The transgression of these new roundabout laws can result in fines ranging from 60 to 300 euros.
In response to a brief story posted on www.theportugal-news.com, a reader argued that the “main problem it seems is that all the illustrations of the correct procedure show three lanes, when most roundabouts only have two lanes.”
Another said that the “use of mobile phones, failure to indicate intended direction, understanding of right-of-way signs and roundabout approach knowledge and etiquette are far worse repetitive offences in Portugal”.
According to Major Paulo Gomes of the GNR police’s traffic and road safety division, another problem faced by Portuguese motorists is that “roundabouts are all different and do not follow a set standard” which would make it easier for motorists to be compliant with the existing legislation.
In other road-traffic related news, accidents on Portugal’s roads have, between January and November this year, caused 409 deaths, 30 fewer than the same period of last year. However, figures from the National Road Safety Authority show that the number of crashes registered this year has risen by four percent in relation to 2015.
Nonetheless, the number of serious injuries caused by the crashes has dropped in comparison to last year, as has the number of people only suffering slight injuries in accidents.