About: Driving offences and penalty points

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4th Oct 2016

Driving Licences and Points System.
In some countries, a “clean license” is one that has no violation points or endorsements due to misdemeanours such as speeding. Points for offences are then added up to a maximum allowed; at that point, a driver is “banned” for a specified period from operating a motor vehicle, and may have to re-qualify to drive.

However, in Portugal, the system works in reverse. Drivers receive a license with points and have them deducted if they commit misdemeanours. A “clean” Portuguese licence has 12 points  – the maximum allowed when it is issued. For every violation-free period of three years, 3 points are added to a driving licence – up to a maximum of 15 points.

 1. Traffic Offences: Points are deducted on a sliding scale – depending on the seriousness of the violation.

  • (a) If licence points are reduced to 4, the driver must undergo road safety training.
  • (b) If licence points are reduced to 2, the driver must take the written theory section of the driving test (in the Portuguese language).
  • (c) In the case of the licence’s points being reduced to 0, a driving ban is imposed for 2 years. Following the expiry of that period, the banned driver must take the full driving exam – both the practical and written parts.

    2. Road Crimes: These may involve more than one offence and thus result in multiple deductions, heavy fines and a possible prison sentence.
    For example:

  • (a) Dangerous / negligent driving
  • (b) Causing death or injury to other road users
  • (c) Driving without a valid licence
  • (d) Driving with a blood alcohol concentration in excess of 1.2g/l
  • (f) Refusing to undergo a breathalyser or blood test (unless because of a medical condition such as haemophilia)
  • (g) Submitting a false declaration and or documents

    3. Very Serious Offences: 5 points are deducted for each one.

  • (a) Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • (b) Speeding – for cars & motorcycles in a non-urban area, exceeding the speed limit by up 30km/hr.
  • (c) Speeding – for cars & motorcycles in an urban area, exceeding the speed limit by up to 20km/hr.
  • (d) Speeding – for other vehicles (trucks etc.) in a non-urban area, exceeding the speed limit by up 20km/hr.
  • (e) Speeding – for other vehicles (trucks etc.) in an urban area: exceeding the speed limit by up to 10km/hr.
  • (f) Driving at a speed considered unsafe for the conditions, including adverse weather, traffic or roadworks
  • (g) Failure to maintain a safe distance between vehicles
  • (h). Dangerous overtaking or reversing in an unsafe place
  • (i) Stopping or parking on the side of a motorway or national road
  • ( j) Disregarding traffic rules or signs
  • (k) Not giving way to pedestrians using designated crossing areas
  • (l) Cars not having all lights functional and/or operating during conditions or times required
  • (m) Motorcycles and mopeds not using dipped headlamps (in daylight hours)
  • ( n) Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, e.g. with a blood alcohol level at or above 0.5g/l. * See the scale of fines below.
  • (o) In case of a breakdown, accident or necessary stop on the road, failure to use legally required safety equipment and warning signs of danger ahead (fluorescent tabard, flashing warning lights, red reflective triangle.
  • (p) Using a mobile phone, computer tablet, electronic game, or programming a device such as a GPS unit while driving 
  • (q) Stopping or parking cars in lanes and areas marked for pedestrian crossing or cycles
  • (r) Driving without use of seat belts
  • (s) Driving without the required passenger safety accessories, such as correctly fitted rear seat safety belts and child seats
  • (t) Riding on a motorcycle, tricycle, quad-cycle or mopeds without an approved safety helmet.
  • (u) Driving a vehicle without liability insurance (third party cover as minimum)

Fines for neglecting these rules normally range from from €120 – €600.

Fines for driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

  1. 1. From €250 to €1250 for a blood alcohol concentration between 0.5g/l and 0.8g/l-
  2. 2. From €500 to €2500 for a blood alcohol concentration between 0.8g/l to 1.2g/l .
  3. 3. The drug and alcohol limits referred to above are reduced to 0.2g/l and 0.8g/l for all drivers under probation, and for drivers of rescue or emergency vehicles, passenger minibuses/public service passenger carriers, taxis, heavy vehicles,  transporters of dangerous goods and vehicles used for the collective transport of children under 16 years of age.

Source: Nº 1, artigo 146 – 148, Lei No 114/94, 03 de Maio 2016

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