The annual ‘Transport Scoreboard’ published in Brussels, shows that, in terms of road quality, Portugal ranks second among the 28 Member States, behind only the Netherlands and ahead of France, who is placed third.

The data in question used to compile the report, refers to a period up until 2017.

But despite having some of the best roads, Portugal remains among the worst for road fatalities.

In terms of road accidents, the report notes that “Portugal has seen a decrease in the number of road deaths since 2010 and is now close to the EU average”, but still only ranks 19th among the 28 Member States.

The study uses a rating system of 1 to 7 to assess the quality of a nation’s roads, with Portugal finishing with 6.05 points, while the Netherlands were handed the top score of 6.18 points.

The worst roads in Europe can meanwhile be found in Romania (2.96 points) and Malta (3.24 points). The overall EU average was set at 4.78 points.

In terms of road deaths, Portugal continues to lag behind its European partners, with 58 fatalities for every one million of its inhabitants.

The safest country for drivers and their passengers remains Sweden (25 deaths per million inhabitants), followed by the UK (28) and Denmark with 30.

Romania is once again at the bottom of the list, with 99 fatalities, followed by Bulgaria (96) and Croatia (80).

Upon the release of the report, the Ministry of Internal Affairs said it was going to launch awareness campaigns among drivers and pedestrians in order to reduce the high number of fatalities in towns and cities.

Minister Eduardo Cabrita said that more than 70 percent of all incidents occur in urban areas along with half of all fatalities, with a third of all these victims being pedestrians.

Last 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.

The Portuguese 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 National Road Safety Agency admitted that traffic fines issued had dropped by 20 percent in 2017.

Latest data by the ANSR has meanwhile also shown that the number of deaths onPortuguese roads fell from 98 to 96 during the first two and a half months of the year. Serious injuries were however up more than 20 percent, and some of these victims could still be counted as fatalities due to the nature of their injuries.

For the year ending on 15 March, road fatalities did drop from 522 to 510, with most regions reporting improvements.

The region that saw the biggest increase in road deaths was the Algarve, jumping 30 percent to 41 in the past 12 months. This total is only one fewer than the Greater Lisbon Metropolitan Area, which has a population almost seven times greater than that of the Algarve.