New ‘Highway Code’ 2014

The article below is an edit of the Portugal News article link: http://www.theportugalnews.com/news/road-code-revamp/30318

The new Highway Code came into force on New Year’s Day, with the National Authority for Road Safety (ANSR) publishing a series of sweeping changes to Portugal’s Código da Estrada.

1. roundabouts
Rules on roundabouts in particular, the centre of many road traffic legislation debates by drivers, police officers and insurancce brokers over the years, have been given additional clarity.
According to the ANSR, “it is now expressely prohibited to travel on the lane furthest to the right unless it is used to take the next immediate exit.”
However, it allows for certain exceptions, such as “animal drawn vehicles, bicycles and heavy vehicles which can use the outside lane irrespective of the exit they intend taking, though priority should be given to exiting vehicles.”
Trangressing these new roundabout laws can result in fines ranging from 60 to 300 euros.
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2. present a tax card or cartão de contribuinte for drivers who do not possess the new single Portuguese identity document.
Another rule which is sure to catch many motorists unaware is the need to present a tax card or cartão de contribuinte for drivers who do not possess the new single Portuguese identity document.
This particular law is to enable authorities to verify whether a driver is in debt with the taxman and failure to present the card will result in a fine of 30 euros.
Motorists are also now prohibited from using double earpieces while driving.
3. drivers will now have to purchase single earpieces in order to listen to their iPods or have a hands-free telephone conversation.
Even the use of only one earpiece while leaving the other out is no longer permitted and drivers will now have to purchase single earpieces in order to listen to their iPods or have a hands-free telephone conversation.
4. Professional motorists, such as taxi drivers, and those who acquired their licences in the past 36 months…drink-drive limits reduced to 0.2 grams of alcohol
Professional motorists, such as taxi drivers, and those who acquired their licences in the past 36 months have seen their drink-drive limits reduced to 0.2 grams of alcohol versus the previous 0.5 g/l threshold.
5. a 20km/h speed limit in urban areas or “zones of co-existence” where pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles tend to use the same stretch of road.
The new Code has also introduced a 20km/h speed limit in urban areas or “zones of co-existence” where pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles tend to use the same stretch of road.
6. greater rights of circulation for cyclists
and
7. a reduction in the height of children required to use booster seats from 1.50m to 1.35m.
Other major reforms to the Highway Code, which number 60 alterations in total, include greater rights of circulation for cyclists and a reduction in the height of children required to use booster seats from 1.50m to 1.35m.
8. Drivers can settle their fines in installments
All drivers can as of 1 January also apply to settle their fines in installments. The only requirements now are that the offence carries a fine in excess of 200 euros while the monthly payments cannot be less than 50 euros.
But while legislation has been brought into effect to bring it in line with norms in other European countries, the ANSR admitted on Tuesday it had failed to collect the monies resulting from 270,000 fines which expired during the course of 2013. This figure translates into about 20 percent of all offences recorded in the past year.
ANSR chief Jorge Jacob said this figure was still an improvement on 2012’s total of 24 percent, but said that the Authority was looking to reduce this percentage even further in the coming 12 months to an ambitious figure of around ten percent.
The ANSR explained the reason for this high rate of non-payment was due to “specialised law firms” who he said know all the loopholes and manage to avoid paying fines until they expire due to the statute of limitations.
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