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Mobility minister proposes higher fines for excessive speeders

A car drives through a 30km/h zone in Belgium (BELGA IMAGE)
06:16 23/05/2022

Georges Gilkinet, the federal minister for mobility, wants a better correlation between speeding fines and the seriousness of the offence, reports RTBF. He has submitted a proposal for much higher penalties for very serious excesses of speed.

"If we really want to change things, we must give a clear signal to those who feel entitled to put the lives of others at risk by driving at inappropriate speeds, well beyond the limits set by the Highway Traffic Act,” Gilkinet told SudInfo. “This measure would target speeding exceeding 21 km/h, or a total of 12% of the total fines for speeding, or a minority of drivers, but those whose behaviour is the most dangerous."

Currently, fines for speeding are calculated as such: €56 for the first 10 km/h above speed and then €6, outside urban areas, or €11, in urban areas, per additional km/h. In the minister's view, this does not reflect the risk that is created, which is exponential. He argues for "much higher sanctions" that would be "exponential". However, he does not specify the maximum amount of the fine.

Road safety institute Vias published the statistics of road accidents for the first quarter of 2022 last week: 111 people lost their lives, the same as before the health crisis. According to Gilkinet, road safety must move up the priorities of public policies.

Vias responded to Giliknet’s proposals by saying imposing tougher fines for serious speeding was "a good idea" and that “the net must be tightened, while too many dangerous drivers are not worried by justice.”

"Nine out of 10 road users would not be affected by this measure, which would target the 11% who really exaggerate," a Vias spokesperson said. "Studies have shown that, for example, driving at 140 km/h instead of 120 km/h on the motorway doubles the risk of being killed in an accident. At 160 km/h, this risk triples.”

Vias would even like to "go further". "Currently, if you can afford it, you can pay for your immediate fine every day without going to court. It's the same with alcohol: you can present daily 0.5 to 0.8 grams per litre of blood, and you can pay your fine every day and will never be worried."

For those who escape justice, "we could establish a points system or another system," Vias proposes. "In this sense, Belgium stands out from other countries by its laxity."

Written by Nick Amies