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Road safety associations call for stronger enforcement of Zone 30 rules
Several road safety associations have called for stricter controls on compliance with the 30kph limit in Brussels which has been in place since January.
According to the associations, recent reports suggesting a relaxed approach to people caught speeding in the Brussels Region, with warnings and fines temporarily being issued to drivers travelling at more than 46ph, undermines the whole idea of Zone 30.
This coalition of road safety associations calls for "unambiguous communication concerning Zone 30, accompanied by a combination of measures - in terms of implementation, training and infrastructure - necessary to effectively improve the safety of all road users."
"In law and in practice, the government must be able to enforce the rules,” the coalition said in a joint statement on Monday. “The manner in which this decision was reported in the press gives the impression that the speed limit of 30kph does not really need to be respected. Meanwhile, excessive speeds continue to put the lives of Brussels residents at risk. If we want to improve safety on our roads, it is necessary to send a clear and understood message by all.”
Regulation needs to be supported by effective implementation, according to the coalition, but also through complementary measures. "We must give ourselves the necessary means to enforce the rule and to ensure its judicial follow-up,” the statement continued. “Some police areas take the problem seriously: we want this trend to become widespread throughout the region."
The associations suggested that additional monitoring measures may help to persuade drivers to comply with the regulations, such as an increased and obvious police presence during school drop-off and exit hours; the installation of more cameras and screens that alert drivers of their speed; and specific speed awareness driving training. The associations also said that the design of the streets, in terms of a visual appearance that indicates its inclusion in Zone 30, could be beneficial.
The ambiguity that has raised the concerns of the road safety coalition arose after an article in Sudpresse revealed that, according to a memo from the Brussels prosecutor's office, zero tolerance in Zone 30 is no longer the norm but the exception.
"The findings of speeding offences will only be the subject of a report if the corrected speed exceeds the maximum speed limit, increased by 10kph," the memo, seen by Sudpresse, stated. This suggests that a speed of up to 46ph in a Zone 30 area would go unpunished.
"It had been agreed with the public prosecutor's office and the police areas that, at the beginning of 2021, we were more in the pedagogical approach to Zone 30,” said a spokesperson for Brussels Mobility. “We didn’t want to photograph and fine everyone for the sake of it especially during the Covid period, this would add oil to the fire. On the other hand, this memo has a limited duration, from 3 February 3 to 2 May. An evaluation will take place in April."