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12 recommendations to improve road safety in Belgium
A memorandum from Belgian traffic safety institute Vias features 12 concrete measures aimed at improving road safety in the country.
Released under the slogan "Action Now!", the recommendations come in advance of next year's elections and target a reduction of road casualties.
There were 540 road deaths in Belgium in 2022, a great deal more than the target of no more than 320 road deaths by 2030, said Vias.
While figures for 2023 are not yet complete, the first six months of this year show a decline in deaths by 21% over the same period last year.
But if nothing is done, Vias said “it will not be possible to achieve this 2030 target”.
The institute said that some of its proposed measures have already proven their worth elsewhere and have also been on the table for Belgium for years, including zero tolerance for driving under the influence of alcohol, a standard that already exists in eight European countries.
A driving licence with a points system which can penalise repeat offenders in particular already exists in 22 European countries but is also not present in Belgium.
Other items of the list include smart cameras that detect drivers using their phones behind the wheel, mandatory helmet laws for people on e-scooters (and mandatory wearing of a fluorescent safety vest at night), lowering the technical tolerance margin of speed measurements (currently six kilometres per hour or 6% above 100 km/h), and mobile section controls for roadworks that are longer than one kilometre and last more than a week (with Vias suggesting these section controls be in place at all times).
Vias also advocates for the introduction of a digital driving licence to detect driving licence violations more easily, plus a ban on warning systems for police mobile controls and more rewards for people who obey traffic laws (for example, reward tickets for those who pass a road check).
Along with a call for more traffic checks for drugs, Vias recommends that the sale, possession and transport of nitrous oxide should also be banned everywhere.
Belgium’s federal minister for traffic safety is already working on that last issue, having submitted a bill to that effect some time ago which has not yet made it to parliament.