Road deaths to be cut by half in 2009  .jpg

Road deaths to be cut by half in 2009  


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THE GOVERNMENT has announced that it predicts a 50 per cent reduction in road deaths in 2009 from the average between 1998 and 2000.

Roads in the Algarve have already seen significant safety measures recently with more planned this year in an effort to achieve this goal.

Despite a greater transport police presence on the roads and infrastructure improvements, 73 people died in the Algarve in 2007, 22 more than in 2006. Lisbon registered six more deaths in 2007 while six fewer deaths occurred in Porto than the previous year.


Despite annual fluctuations, road deaths have reduced gradually over the past decade. In 2000, there were a total of 1,629 fatalities on Portuguese roads and in 2009 patterns indicate a decline to 874.

In 2007, there were 858 deaths on Portuguese roads, eight more than in 2006, but the government had initially predicted that there would be nearly 200 more deaths than the actual figure.

The government said it was working closely with transport police divisions and tackling problem areas together. Several awareness campaigns have been launched and the government has said they have produced encouraging results.

One such campaign, which came into effect on November 25 and ended on Monday, involved 7,000 officers from police and civil protection divisions across Portugal. The role of the officers was to inform, help and support drivers as well as to ensure that the law is upheld on the road.

During the campaign, around 30 fewer deaths were registered than the same period the previous year and between December 21 and January 1, there were seven fewer deaths in 2007 than the respective 2006 period.

Last year marked the fourth successive year that actual deaths were significantly lower than the government’s predictions but a spokesperson for the national road safety authority, ANSR, said that this should not be a reason to become complacent. “Despite the reduction in deaths and accidents, road safety continues to be one of the most important internal safety problems.”

Safer roads

Ruben Faria, head of the regional development commission CCDR, told The Resident that improvements to Algarve roads would be facilitated “in two or three zones with heavy investments and half a dozen zones with moderate investments”. He said all projects would aim to respect the environment. The locations of the specific areas to be redeveloped will soon be announced.

One solution, which has proved effective so far, has been the construction of roundabouts across the region. This has not only improved traffic flow, but it has also served to replace potentially dangerous junctions and more roundabouts are planned in 2008.

´´The ANSR spokesperson told The Resident: “We all have to be more aware of other drivers as well as ourselves. Fewer road fatalities are only possible with the co-operation of all drivers.”

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