Road deaths remain high

Portugal remains at the top of the list when it comes to child mortality on the roads. Findings based on the last 20 years show that road accidents killed an average of 6.2 Portuguese children for every 100,000 people under the age of 15. Along with Portugal, three other countries are at the top of the list – South Korea and New Zealand head the list and the US is in fourth place.

The news comes as the government’s annual Road Accidents Report claims that overall there were 93 fewer deaths on Portuguese roads in the first five months of the year, than in the same period last year. Secretary of State for Internal Administration, Nuno Magalhães, commented: “All the numbers are important because they represent a human tragedy.” But he insisted that the results comply with the objectives of the National Road Safety Plan, a plan launched in 2002. Since then, 1,536 fewer people have died on the roads. In addition, there were 4,659 fewer serious injuries and 50,599 fewer minor injuries.

Last year, Sunday was the day with the highest mortality rate on the roads: a total of 72 passengers and 159 drivers were killed on the traditional day of rest. But Saturday was the day on which there were most injuries – 464 serious and 4,516 minor injuries were reported. According to specialists from the OCDE – the Organisation for Co-operation and Economic Development – many deaths could be avoided if there was better education and drivers assumed more responsibility for the safety of younger passengers and children. Technicians from the OCDE are also seeking further improvements in the quality of the country’s roads.