Background Over the last decades, Portugal have made a considerable progress in lowering rates of deaths from road accidents. Between 1975 to 2016 annual road traffic deaths decrease from 2.676 to 445. This results from an implementation, at a large extent, of measures that are considered very effective such as road safety legislation, new road networks and planning.
Objective Evaluate the effectiveness of the measures and actions related to road safety and reflect on what we need to do, in the future, to promote a holistic approach aimed to develop a broad-based and long-term road safety thinking, in search of a new mind-set on mobility in Portugal.
Methods Based on the concept of traffic accidents with mortal victims and the availability of data we made the state of the art characterizing road accidents in Portugal. Combining databases and the measures to identify the relationships among variables.
Findings The traditional road safety measures, such as laws and practices on key risk factors, namely as regulating speed appropriate to road type, drink–driving, and use of seat belts, motorcycle helmets and child restraints shows the effective reduce risk road of traffic injury.
Conclusion At the present stage, further continuous improvements in road safety can be attained by technically, systematic and integrated actions carried out within the scope and framework of a plan, quantified targets and changes on our mind-set putting safety as a precondition for mobility. Future focus needs to be the design and management of traffic systems, investment in safe mobility and retrospective studies of accidents.
Policy implications Much can be gained from improving the safety of vehicles, having better road infrastructure but nothing is more important than promoting sustainable physically active and different systems of mobility as alternatives to car use.
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