The Government is set to go ahead with the introduction of a points system which will replace the current one where the accumulation of fines results in the termination of a driver’s licence. This news comes as it emerged that close to 12,000 drivers in Portugal are on their last strike before losing their licence, though latest figures show that only 41 drivers have had to hand in the prized document over the past four years.
Perhaps as a result of the sometimes ineffective punitive measures in place until now for repeat offenders on the country’s roads, the State Secretary of Internal Affairs recently told Parliament that the points system, as is used in the United Kingdom and Spain, will be tabled for approval by the end of March.
According to João Almeida and in response to questions filed by Lusa News Agency, while the points system is set to go ahead, the actual details of how it will function in Portugal will only be unveiled next month.
The decision to introduce the penalty points system comes as a result of a lengthy evaluation process based on the country’s National Road Safety Strategy while also using comparative analyses made with other countries where that system is already in place.
The idea behind a points system in Portugal was first revealed in the National Road Safety Strategy which came into effect in 2008 and expires this year, pending revision.
It will see drivers handed points for every offence, increasing in accordance with the transgression.
Once a maximum amount of points have been attained, drivers will lose their licence for a period of time and in some cases, it will be terminated and will imply the retaking of a test.
According to the Strategy, the penalty points system is justified in that it raises “the degree of awareness and culpability of drivers in relation to their behaviour on the roads and is a system which is easy to understand.”
This news follows revelations that almost 12,000 drivers are at imminent risk of losing their licence to get behind the wheel of the car should they commit another serious or very serious traffic offence.
According to figures handed to Lusa, these 11,828 drivers are in the process of being notified by the National Road Safety Authority (ANSR). In these letters, they are being notified of their status and being cautioned to exercise restraint while driving.
While the ANSR says it is not obliged by law to send out these final warnings to drivers, they are doing so in a bid to alert them of the imminence of this possibly life-changing event, especially when offenders are reliant on their licences due to their respective professions.
The current Highway Code stipulates that a driver’s licence will be revoked whenever three very serious offences are committed in the space of five years or when five serious offences are accumulated over the same period of time.
Drivers who lose their licences are currently prohibited from driving for a period of two years, and in order to regain the legal ability to drive, a new test has to be undertaken in addition to a series of special driving courses.
According to the ANSR, only 41 drivers have lost their licences since 2010, though it added that there more than 5,000 drivers who have in theory already lost them. It explains that cases have been opened against these repeat offending drivers and they should be notified in due course to hand in their licences for subsequent elimination from the drivers’ register.
Among the most common serious and very serious offences committed in Portugal are speeding, speaking on mobile phones, driving under the influence of alcohol, overtaking on solid white lanes and not stopping at red lights.
Source:- Portugal News