New Road Code from next month

IN AN effort to improve safety on Portugal’s roads, a series of strict measures will be introduced next month under the new Código da Estrada (Road Code). Heavier fines, drug detection tests and a major crackdown on the use of mobile phones form the main thrust of the campaign. A fine of between 120 and 160 euros will be handed down to anyone caught holding a mobile phone while driving. Those wishing to receive or make calls while driving will have to install a hands-free kit in their vehicle or use an ear piece system. The new code also aims to ensure greater protection for children. From March 1, it will become law for parents to strap under 12s into child car seats. Failure to do so will result in a fine of between 120 and 600 euros per child.

Other safety steps include the obligation for all drivers to carry a luminous jacket in their vehicle, so it can be worn in the event of the car breaking down.

In a bid to clean up the country’s roadsides, those caught throwing rubbish out of their car window will be fined up to 300 euros.

The new code was approved in December and has already been announced by the President of the Republic, Jorge Sampaio. All that remains is for it to be published in the Diário da República national newspaper, this is scheduled to take place over the next few weeks. Thirty days after it is published, the new measures will be enforced on Portugal’s roads.