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Portugal: Xmas, New Year period saw 26 killed in over 7,000 road accidents

The road safety operation over the Christmas and New Year period in Portugal recorded 26 deaths, three more than in 2022, following more than 7,000 accidents, according to the balance sheet presented on Thursday.

The figures relate to the period between 15 December 2023 and 2 January 2024, during the road safety campaign “The best present is to be present”, and show that there were 7,072 accidents documented on Portuguese roads, 689 fewer than in the same period last year. These more than 7,000 accidents resulted in 26 fatalities, 125 serious injuries and 2,049 minor injuries.

“Compared to the same period in 2022/2023, there was a 13% increase in the number of fatalities and a 6% increase in the number of serious injuries, despite an 8.9% decrease in the number of accidents,” said the national road safety authority. Speaking to journalists at the end of the balance sheet presentation, the secretary of state for civil protection said that the figures were “not comforting in any way”.

“On the other hand, they call on us to continue this comprehensive work, this serious work, which is a medium and long-term endeavour. There is no single answer, no single solution to this problem. It’s an integrated response,” argued Patrícia Gaspar. In this regard, she emphasised the “zero vision” that is embodied in the new road safety strategy, a system that she described as “safe” and which is currently being implemented.

“We want safe roads, we want safe vehicles, we want a good pre-hospital response, we want drivers who are increasingly aware of their role. It is the combination of these different approaches that, we are absolutely convinced, will allow us to reduce or recover the path of success that has been travelled over the last two decades,” pointed out the secretary of state. The data presented today also showed that 11.5 million vehicles were inspected, 57% more than in the same period last year, both in person and using radar control, something that the secretary of state guaranteed would continue to be done during 2024.

According to Patrícia Gaspar, enforcement will not only continue in relation to alcohol, speed or mobile phone use, but also with “special attention” to motorbikes, a dimension that the secretary of state admitted worries the government. Of the total number of inspections carried out on vehicles, there were 78,600 offences, mainly for speeding (45,387).

Of the 11.3 million vehicles checked by radar, 45,387 were speeding. On the other hand, of the 140,900 drivers tested for alcohol, 2,509 had a blood alcohol level higher than the maximum allowed, which resulted in 1,260 arrests and 1,249 infractions.

SV/AYLS // AYLS

Lusa

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