Conference Proceeding

Long-Term Effects of More Punitive Legislation Concerning the Use of Mobile Phone During Driving in Portugal

  • Mário B Godinho (Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal)


The purpose of this study was to determine whether a change in legislation regarding the use of handheld cell phones in Portugal provoked a substantial reduction of their use and if one year latter this reduction was still visible. Drivers’ handheld cell phone use was observed prior to the implementation of more punitive legislation, immediately after, 6 months and one year after the change in legislation. Estimated age (+ or – 40 years old) and gender was also registered for cellular telephones users. The counts were taken over 20 one-hour occasions equally divided over the four periods of observation and they were performed at the IC19 near Queluz, which is one of the roads with the most intense traffic flows of the region, for a total of 66841 observations. Results showed a considerable reduction from 1.29% of drivers before the law to 0.67% immediately after. However, one year later, the results (1.27%) were analogous to the initial observations. Phone users were predominantly male (75.35%), but this percentage is equivalent to all road users, so a gender trend was not found. On the contrary, we found a higher trend of younger drivers using mobile phones while driving. One of the most probable reasons for the main effect found was that as time goes by, drivers realize the low risk of being charged and punished for phone use while driving. The more punitive measures implemented with the new law regarding phone use showed no long-term effects.

How to Cite:

Godinho, M., (2007) “Long-Term Effects of More Punitive Legislation Concerning the Use of Mobile Phone During Driving in Portugal”, Driving Assessment Conference 4(2007), 381-386. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2007 the author(s)

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Published on
11 Jul 2007
Peer Reviewed