New speed limits At the beginning of this month, Spain raised the speed limit on its motorways from 120 km/h to 130 km/h, more than in the UK but about the same as in the US.
Other countries within the EU are expected to do the same. The Portuguese government is being strongly urged to follow Spain’s example.
Portugal is in serious danger of being left behind, according to campaigners for a higher speed limit. They are planning a series of go-slow protests on motorways all across the country next weekend.
They believe that if Portugal is to avoid a second bailout and get on track to compete with northern Europe, the nation’s drivers must hurry up.
Germans can drive as fast as they like on their motorways. Anti-austerity left-wing politicians here say the promotion of higher limits elsewhere in the eurozone is a plot by Angela Merkel to quicken the international distribution of German products and thus Germany’s programme of economic domination.
A spokesman for the Portuguese Automobile Safety Society (PASS) acknowledged that Portuguese drivers were the worst in Europe but said the imposition of speed limits was an infringement on their human rights. His members are demanding that freedom of movement on the country’s roads be enshrined in Portugal’s constitution.
The National Union of Truckers (NUTS) insists on parity with their Spanish counterparts, arguing that anything less and they will be left bringing up the rear in the highly competitive Iberian delivery business.
A cavalcade of honking horns along Lisbon’s Avenida de Liberdade yesterday highlighted a Pussy Riot-inspired protest on a zebra crossing. A group of little old ladies, who recently upgraded from donkeys and carts, want the minimum speed limit on motorways (50 km/h) abolished and the elderly given the right to park on hard shoulders.
Noting that the rate of road accidents has been dropping in recent years, the Portuguese ambulance services union says that raising the speed limit would reduce the risk of job cuts and unemployment among its members.