Seven die on nation’s roads over weekend

Seven die on nation’s roads over weekend

At least nine others suffer serious injuries

Seven people lost their lives last weekend in accidents on the nation’s roads; at least nine others suffered serious injuries.

Today, as yet another road safety campaign gets underway, families up and down the country are in mourning.

The accidents involved young, old and middle-aged. 

The most dramatic, according to Correio da Manhã, was in Alijó around dawn on Sunday when a car carrying five young people following a party suffered a “brutal collision” with a vehicle driven by a 23-year-old. In all, two died outright, a third is in critical condition in hospital. The others suffered lighter injuries (non-life threatening).

Eye-witnesses talk of an absolutely “horrific scene”. Victims ‘incarcerated’ within the twisted wreck of metal, two already dead. It appears the driver had been ‘overtaking’ when the accident happened.

A little later, in Valpaços, another driver returning from a party – this time a 54-year-old man – came off the road in his car, and died on impact. His passenger survived, and was transported to hospital in a ‘serious condition’.

On Sunday afternoon, a 71-year-old driver died following an accident on the A1 with his wife and daughter. The details of this accident are unclear, but both women were seriously injured and are now in hospital.

Earlier that morning (around 3am), an accident involving a motorbike and a car on the ICI in Grândola resulted in the death of the motorcyclist. The man’s female pillion passenger was injured, but not seriously.

And on Saturday, a couple lost their lives after a ‘violent collision’ near Barbuda, Vila Verde, with a BMW driven by a 27-year-old man.

The couple, in their 60s, were in a ‘classic’ VW ‘beetle’.

It seems they were on the other side of the road to the BMW. The BMW driver however was ‘overtaking’ another vehicle and collided with the beetle head on.

The causes of this accident, the accidents in Alijó and Valpaços are now being investigated by authorities, as today the ‘Cinto-me Vivo’ campaign begins. A play on words (Sinto-me vivo, meaning “I feel alive”, and a ‘cinto’, pronounced the same way, being a seatbelt).

The campaign is designed to reinforce the use of safety systems of all kinds: seatbelts, helmets and children’s car seats.

Tragically, none of the accidents (or deaths) over the weekend are likely to have been avoided with or without the proper use of seatbelts or helmets. The main issue in these tragedies appears to have been speed and, possibly, lack of attention.

natasha.donn@portugalresident.com