New plan was presented this Wednesday
Portugal’s new road safety strategy, which aims to reduce the number of deaths by 50% by 2030, wants to change driver behaviour and remove critical accident points on national roads, the country’s interior minister said on Wednesday.
José Luís Carneiro presented the Strategic Road Safety Plan 2021-2030 – VisãoZero2030 to the members of the parliamentary committee on Constitutional Affairs, Rights, Freedoms and Guarantees, during a hearing that took place behind closed doors.
“The Vision Zero integrated road safety strategy has very clear goals by 2030: to reduce fatalities and serious injuries by 50%. To this end, it provides measures fundamentally in three areas, firstly in attitudes and behaviour, secondly in the so-called accident black spots on national and municipal roads and, thirdly, work on post-accident assistance,” the minister told journalists at the end of the hearing.
The minister explained that it is necessary to involve the whole of civil society in order to change drivers’ attitudes and behaviour, since the three main causes of road accidents are speeding, drunk driving and using a mobile phone at the wheel while driving.
“We therefore need to work together at all levels of society, from the central administration to the local administration, including schools, to create a collective awareness that we have to tackle these issues,” he said.
Regarding the work on removing accident black spots on municipal and national roads, José Luís Carneiro said that a partnership is already underway with the ministry of infrastructures, namely between the National Road Safety Authority and Infraestruturas de Portugal (the country’s road and rail infrastructure authority), so that part of the work that is currently being planned or put out to tender can include these road safety concerns and establish a multiannual framework of objectives for reducing accident black spots on national roads.
The minister said that with regard to municipal roads, local action plans are to be carried out, namely local road safety contracts that identify black spots in the planning stage.
José Luís Carneiro also emphasised the strategy’s focus on post-accident assistance, which is planned to strengthen the response capacity to provide support “as soon as an accident occurs” by investing in the purchase of more rescue vehicles.
The road safety strategy, which received more than 500 contributions from civil society, was presented to the members of parliament so that they could also contribute suggestions on a matter that the minister described as “public health.”
José Luís Carneiro highlighted the effort that has been made to reduce road accidents and fatalities, pointing out that between 1985 and 2019 the number of deaths and serious injuries fell by more than 80%, but “even so” it is necessary to continue with this goal.
The latest report from the National Road Safety Authority indicated that in the first quarter of the year there were 7,585 accidents with victims on the mainland, resulting in 101 fatalities, 493 serious injuries and 8,828 minor injuries.
Compared to the same period in 2022, there were 813 more accidents (+12%), two more fatalities (+2%), 21 more serious injuries (+4.4%) and 1,003 more minor injuries (+12.8%).
The Road Safety Authority, making a comparison with 2019, as it is the reference year for monitoring the targets set by the European Commission and Portugal for reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries by 2030, found that in the same period there were 464 fewer accidents (-5.8%), 16 fewer fatalities (-13.7%), four more serious injuries (+0.8%) and 819 fewer minor injuries (-8.5%).