Coming a week after 12 Portuguese were killed outright in a head-on collision in France, news that the number of road traffic accident deaths in Portugal has reduced by 33% over the last five years seems almost too much to comprehend.
Figures for the Algarve, where news of road deaths on the EN125 has become commonplace, were also not mentioned in the press conference in which Brussels’ Transport commissioner Violeta Bluc said Portugal was the third European country where deaths as a result of road accidents had reduced the most between 2010 and 2015.
Against an EU average of 17%, Portugal’s 33% – on paper at least – looks impressive.
Greece (down 36%) and Denmark (- 35%) also have reasons for celebration.
Taking data further, Bluc explained that if figures for 2014 to 2015 were compared, the EU average was for a 1% increase in road deaths, while Portugal registered a 2% drop.
But the conference was dominated by questions on the horror that had unfolded on France’s so-called road of death, the RCEA (Route Central-Europe Atlantique), the week before, when 12 Portuguese returning to their homeland from Switzerland for Easter were killed outright after the minibus they were travelling in crossed into the path of oncoming traffic and collided with a truck.
The 19-year-old driver and his uncle – both involved in a passenger transport service – have been detained by the French authorities.