“Five deaths, 600 accidents” … and that’s the good news!

It sounds horrendous but the tally for last weekend’s extended holiday came to six deaths and 46 accidents less than the same time last year. In other words, the GNR’s third phase of Operation Hermes – Travel in Safety has been deemed a success.
Along with the five road traffic deaths came 14 serious injuries (same as last year) and 242 light injuries (an improvement on 2013 by no less than 122) in a total of 600 accidents.
Operation Hermes has been set up to “regulate traffic fluidity and help citizens as they set out on their holidays”. But still, it hasn’t been enough to offset the effect of motorway tolls.
According to Diário de Notícias, which covered the subject in detail last week, the majority of accidents in August take place on national roads – and most of them come down to people driving dangerously and too fast.
The first two weeks of the month proved this point only too well, writes DN, with almost 5,000 accidents recorded until Sunday August 17 – the day many Portuguese set out for their annual holidays.
With the headline “Fleeing tolls increases summer accidents”, the story attracted endless commentary, with many readers (rightly) pointing out that it is not the roads that cause the accidents, but the people driving the cars that travel on them.
Balancing the pros and cons of motorway driving, one reader put the national road system into perspective: “You save on tolls but you spend more on fuel, wear and tear on brakes, take longer to get there, have to spend money on lunch and drag your family to collective suicide”.
Happy holidays!
By NATASHA DONN – [email protected]