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    A quarter of Belgians drink and drive: survey

    An international road safety survey found that Belgian drivers were some of the most irresponsible behind the wheel. Credit: Pixabay

    A quarter of Belgian drivers have admitted to drinking and driving during the past month – as well as to driving under the influence of illicit substances – an international survey into road users’ driving safety habits has shown.

    The survey, led by national road safety institute VIAS, found that Belgians were the “worst pupils” when it came to drinking and driving.

    “Our results are significantly more negative than the European average of 13%, and we are the worst pupils among the 32 countries surveyed,” the report said.

    One out of four Belgian drivers admitted to drinking with blood-alcohol-concentration levels that were “probably” higher than the legal limit, accounting for 24% of respondents.

    By contrast, drivers in Hungary, Finland and Poland were found to have the most responsible attitudes when it came to drinking and driving, with only 4% in the two former countries admitting to driving under the influence, and only 6% in the case of Poland.

    One out of seven Belgians (14%) surveyed admitted to driving only an hour after having used an illicit substance —with cannabis being the most common drug— while 7% of Belgian drivers said they had driven after using drugs, a figure slightly higher than the European average of 5%.

    Over half of Belgians admitted to speeding on highways (68%) and in urban areas (72%), compared to the European average of 62% and 68%, respectively.

    While more than one out of four Belgians (28%) admitted to texting or emailing behind the wheel, Belgians were found to be slightly more responsible when it came to speaking on the phone while driving, as only 22% admitted to doing so, compared to a European average of 28%.

    The E-Survey of Road Users’ Attitudes questioned 35,000 people from 32 different countries. In Belgium, a total of 2,000 drivers took part in the survey.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times