Traffic fines and tax penalties are responsible for most of the 907 million euros injected into the state’s depleted coffers during the course of last year.
Overall, fines rose by 15 percent on the previous year for a new record.
The Accounts Tribunal highlights the work of the tax office in helping to set the new record, with the forced collection of tax fines up 145 percent on 2014.
Sources have admitted that there has been a strong focus on collecting money from taxpayers by means of fines since Portugal sought a financial bailout in 2011, when less than 600 million euros had lined the state’s coffers from fines and penalties.
But traffic officials did not fare to badly either, with officers issuing 30.7 percent more fines than the previous year for an additional boost of just over 21 million euros, with the National Authority for Road Safety and the GNR accounting for the overwhelming majority of all fines written out to transgressing drivers.
Based on 2015 totals, motorists in Portugal pay an average of 10,000 euros every hour in traffic fines.
Latest efforts by the government suggest the increase in traffic fine revenue could continue in the future.
The Home State Secretary Jorge Gomes announced earlier this year that 30 mobile speed radars will be set up in 50 positions.
“We are going to install the first radar in September and by next springtime we are going to have the 50 radar boxes up and ready”, he said, adding that the 30 new radars would not be fixed, but would rotate round the boxes.
Jorge Gomes hoped that this system would reduce the number of fines reaching the statute of limitations without being paid.
“We are going to make some alterations that can reduce the processing”, he said, adding that the national radar system would allow for the misdemeanours to be processed automatically by crossing data from different sources.
“When the fine goes to the vehicle owner, it will be accompanied by a photograph of the speeding and the radar certificate”, he added.
The secretary said about 200,000 fines lapse each year, which if collected, would boost the state’s revenue substantially.
Earlier this year, César Nogueira, chairman of the GNR Association, said the increase in fines can be explained by the rise in police stops versus a drop in patrols.
“We are short in terms of manpower, but police operations focussed on traffic violations have increased, with officers increasingly strained to carry out their tasks”, Rodrigues argued.
Paulo Rodrigues, who leads the PSP Police Union, shared this point of view.
“Much value is given to quantity and very little to quality. Praise and promotions are based on the number of fines issued. While it appears that police are out persecuting motorists, we have to comply with a predetermined number of operations set out each month and every year”, Rodrigues explained.