Despite big gains in recent years, Portugal finds itself at loggerheads with the EU over road safety. All-electric FormulaE racing has a very swish new base in the UK. There’s been a terrible bus crash in Turkey; a swingeing congestion charge suggested for Brussels, a vast amount of uninsured drivers in Greece while a new customs dispute threatens courier services to Russia.
PORTUGAL IN THE DOCK OVER ROAD SAFETY.
Commission takes country to task over paperwork.
Despite record low road deaths in 2013 – and more than 60 amendments to its Highway Code from 1 January – Portugal is being taken to court by the European Commission for failing to adopt road safety plans.
EU countries are required to draw up detailed guidance for assessing safety on the trans-European Network (TEN-T) roads within their territory.
Despite the deadlines for adopting the guidance passing in December 2011, and submitting the plans to the Commission in March 2012, Portugal has yet to do so.
Portugal only has the TEN-T ‘Atlantic Corridor’ inside its borders, linking Porto and-Lisbon with Valladolid/Bilbao and Madrid respectively.
Meanwhile, annual road deaths in Portugal have been cut almost in half since 2001. According to the Commission’s figures, 748 deaths were recorded in 2012, a cut of 19% on 2011. That’s 71 deaths per million inhabitants compared to the European average of 55 per million.
The most dangerous parts of the national network are in urban areas (55% of fatal accidents) followed by rural roads (36%). Motorways account for just 9%.
Provisional figures for 2013 put the number of road deaths down a further 10% (though the number of accidents increased by 1%). Portugal is yet to respond to the Commission’s charges.
TURKEY. At least 21 people have been killed and 29 injured in a bus crash near Kayseri, central Anatolia. The recently built vehicle rolled down the embankment on the barrier-less D300 on a cross-country tip from Istanbul. The cause is not known though it was snowing and foggy. BELGIUM. The city would need to charge drivers €12/day to reduce traffic levels says a new report. The amount has been dismissed by one politician as ‘anti-social’. It was recently reported that traffic in Brussels has fallen by 7% in the past decade. The city is shortly to consider two separate reports on congestion charging. GREECE. One million vehicles are uninsured according to an industry body. Pro population that’s an even higher proportion than the 4m uninsured cars in Italy reported last week. There are an estimated 1.2m in the UK. RUSSIA. DHL, DPD, TNT, FedEx and UPS will stop courier deliveries to private customers later this month out of frustration with delays due to new customs regulations says The Moscow Times. It’s not clear if this is a permanent or temporary move.