“Traffic stops largely ineffective”

By Brendan de Beer, in News · 11-04-2019 09:52:00 · 0 Comments
“Traffic stops largely ineffective”

The Portuguese Road Prevention agency (PRP) has this week called for more and improved traffic stops in Portugal. The agency has also deemed current actions by law enforcement officials as ineffective in dealing with the majority of serious traffic offences.

According to the PRP, current inspections of drivers are bureaucratic and incapable of verifying reckless driving. Besides checking documents and the possibility of driving under the influence of alcohol, the agency said traffic stops fail to verify dangerous manoeuvres on the nation’s roads, perpetuating bad driving habits.

PRP President José Miguel Trigoso launched his criticism of traffic stops at a conference organised by the National Insurance Association to discuss pay outs received by the occupants of vehicles involved and injured in road accidents.

“There is hardly any surveillance of reckless manoeuvres. The system is bureaucratic and traffic stops are only to check paperwork”, charged the PRP chief.

He added that current efforts by traffic police to check on transgressing drivers is “minimal and not very good” at that.
“Taking away alcohol checks, traffic stops are logistical and bureaucratical exercises”, José Trigoso was quoted as telling Lusa News Agency on the sidelines of the conference held this week in the Portuguese capital.

He added that traffic stops fail to check on a series of transgressions, such as changing lanes or direction without using indicators to do so, illegal overtaking and failure stop at red lights or stop signs.

Trigoso also said that inspecting paperwork “does not solve everything” and the key to improved road safety was to encourage better behaviour by drivers on Portuguese roads and create a generalised state where there is respect and compliance of the Highway Code.

The road safety agency was also critical of the current system of issuing fines.

“When fines are written out there have to be near immediate consequences and there are not. A person who is caught speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol then waits two years for something to happen which goes against everything good practices would recommended”, he said.

According to figures obtained by the PRP, Portugal also has one of the lowest rations of speeding fines.

“I am not saying that speeding fines will solve all problems, but it is an important instrument and we have a complicated issue when it comes to speeding, especially in cities and towns where small differences often have great consequences”, reasoned José Trigoso.

According to the latest figures published by the National Road Safety Authority (ANSR), fatalities on national roads have once again increased this year, climbing by four to 116 during the first quarter of 2019.

The number of road deaths in Portugal has been rising since 2017, having steadied from 2012 after almost two decades of substantial and successive reductions.

In related news, the PRP has called on the ANSR National Road Safety Authority, municipalities and police to promote “the correct use” of scooters and electric scooters on public roads.

This follows growing calls to ban the use of the scooters on roads, especially in congested city streets.

But José Trigoso said that would be impossible as these modes of transport do not have to be registered and are therefore covered by the same laws regulating bicycles and called for civil educational campaigns to deal with issues surrounding their increasing popularity.


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