Landmark decision could free drivers from massive m-way toll fines

A landmark decision by Braga court this week could free thousands of drivers from the misery of misplaced motorway tolls.

The decision to throw out “various cases” is reported to have been based on the fact that fines are issued according to vehicle registration plates.

The contention is that plates do not correspond to named drivers. It could be that a driver has sold the vehicle (without ensuring that change of ownership was registered), or it could be that the vehicle was being used by another driver – or was even stolen.

Another argument up for debate is the justice in the sheer scale of fines.

As numerous Portuguese papers have been pointing out, drivers with minuscule fines have been hit with hundreds of euros worth of court payments as their missed payments are multiplied up to 15 times.

Thus there is the argument of “disproportionality” which Público reveals is now being taken up by legal experts.

Unsurprisingly, the AT tax authority is taking a dim view of the Braga court decision.

Público writes that AT lawyers are considering an appeal and may well advance with an embargo on the fine amnesties next week.

Whatever happens, the issue of motorway toll fines – described by one expert in fiscal law as a “screaming illegality” – is now well and truly in the public domain.

By NATASHA DONN [email protected]