The Government said this week it is also studying the possibility of installing more fixed radars along with introducing technology that will block drivers’ mobile phone signals.
Officials said that while these plans are ambitious, they are already starting to take effect in countries such as Spain and France. Several states in America also already have road signs warning drivers that the “speed limit is enforced by aircraft.”
The Civil Protection State Secretary José Artur Neves, revealed the Government’s intentions at a presentation of a study of drivers’ behaviour by the Automobile Club of
Speaking of the “worrying” increase in road death numbers, the State Secretary said the use of aerial means to combat dangerous driving “is one of the solutions being followed in Spain and France and there is a possibility we could use that model here too.”
He explained that it would be relatively simple to equip helicopters used by the Civil Protection Service with “highly advanced technology” to be used in enforcing the speed limit.
José Artur Neves added that in previous evaluation, the Government is looking at this system as a “good solution” to counter excessive speeding which causes a large percentage of accidents.
Officials are also studying the use of “applications in conjunction with mobile phone operators to reduce the use of mobile phones behind the wheel”, including “blocking signals” along with “automatic text messages being sent to callers informing that a driver is at the wheel and cannot take the call.”
The State Secretary further argued that “hands-free systems do not resolve the problem of distraction.”
“An increase in the number of radars, reducing the speed limit in urban areas to 30km/h and geo-referencing accident black spots” are among other measures the Government is looking to employ to meet the targets set in the National Road Safety Plan and to once again reduce the number of fatalities on Portuguese roads.
Internal Affairs Minister Eduardo Cabrita meanwhile echoed the position of the State Secretary, saying that Portugal was open to studying measures used by other countries which have proven successful in reducing road deaths.
He explained that “effective measures” will be taken during the first half of this year to ensure 2018 ends with fewer accidents, injuries and fatalities.
Minister Cabrita said aerial enforcement of the speed limit and the Highway Code will be studied, and that Portugal will be closely following the progress in this field in countries like France.