One in every three drivers has had to stop in the emergency lane along a highway and in 10% of cases, the stop was unjustified, according to a survey conducted by Vias, the Belgian road safety institute. About 80% said they did not feel safe there. Fewer than half of respondents who stopped in the emergency lane conformed to the safety regulations, particularly the need to place a danger triangle and wear a fluorescent jacket, the survey showed.
According to the study, 69% of drivers who stopped in the emergency lane did so because they had a breakdown, while 10% had an accident. However, 1 in every 10 stopped for a totally unjustified reason, such as a sanitation requirement, regulating the navigation system or making a phone call. This is a second-degree misdemeanor, carrying a fine of 116 euros, and it is also dangerous, Vias said.
Moreover, only 49% of respondents said they had used the danger triangle and only 4 out of 10 knew where to place it, i.e. 100 metres from the vehicle. About 48% put on their fluorescent jackets when they stopped, while more than 53% remained standing in the emergency lane instead of standing behind the safety barrier.
Worse yet, one in 10 respondents said they had driven in the emergency lane over the past five years; 40% had driven along it to take the next exit and 10% to pass queues, which is an offence by law.