New driving regulations – Conclusion

SINCE MY last article about the new legislation regarding the registration of driving licenses of European Union citizens domiciled in Portugal, I received a large number of emails from readers with queries about the process of registering their license document with the Portuguese authorities.

There were even cases of people going to their regional DGV branch (The official entity that regulates all matters related to driving) and the clerks not even being aware of this new legislation. Some even believed they were being asked to exchange the original driving license for a Portuguese one, which was clearly not the case.

After further contact with the DGV’s head office in Lisbon, they confirmed that the legislation came into force on May 23. They also stated that for the time being, the best thing to do was to send a letter to the DGV (Direcção Geral de Viação) head office at Avenida da República, 16 – 1069-055 LISBOA enclosing a copy of the original driving license and current address in Portugal, asking for the driving license to be registered, according to the Decreto-Lei 45/2005.

I would also like to take this opportunity to draw your attention to some specific new mandatory driving rules.

From June 23, it will be mandatory to have a reflective vest in all cars. It should have a label bearing the CE brand, the name of the manufacturer, an instruction manual (how difficult can it be to put on a reflective vest?) a size label, and comply with the applicable European norms (EN 471 or EN 1150)…the EU can really be bureaucratic beyond belief!

Finally it is worth pointing out that being caught driving under the influence of alcohol now carries much heavier fines. A person is considered to be driving under the influence of alcohol when the breath test registers more than 0,5 g/l of alcohol in the blood.

When it is less than 0,8 g/l fines may vary between ¤ 250,00 and ¤ 1,250.00. When the reading is over 0.8g/l and less than 1,2 g/l fines vary between ¤ 500.00 and¤ 2,500.00. Above 1,2 g/l is considered a crime.

This concludes a series on legal aspects concerning motoring. My next article will cover other legal matters that are of interest to the Expatriate community.

By Gonçalo Figueira