In statements to Lusa, the secretary of state for civil protection, José Artur Neves, said that the intention is to approve these changes within the current legislature.

Currently the use of mobile phones while driving carries with it a two-point penalty.

Neves did not specify by how much the penalty would increase.

Notification periods will be reduced so that on receipt of a fine shortly after an infringement, offenders feel that they have made a mistake and are less likely to repeat the offence immediately afterwards.

Neves said that the government, together with schools, is acting to reduce the number of deaths on the roads, but changing road behaviour "tends to take a long time to internalise."

Data from the National Road Safety Authority (ANSR) showed that the number of deaths on Portuguese roads increased in 2018, for the second consecutive year.

According to ANSR, 445 people died in 2016, rising to 510 in 2017 and 513 in 2018.

Between January 1 and July 15 this year, 242 people have died on the roads, the same number as the same period last year.