Belgium is tightening its approach to unpaid traffic fines, as it was announced on Monday that driving licences will be automatically withdrawn if a fine is not paid following a traffic violation.
A small group of people that violates traffic laws still neglects to pay their fines. In response, Federal Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne announced that a stricter approach to withdrawing driving licences will be taken to “avoid impunity in traffic,” according to reports from De Standaard.
“The intention now is to make the procedure for suspending the right to drive automatic. Step by step, we are working on automating the entire procedure for traffic fines,” Sharon Beavis, spokesperson for the FPS Justice, said.
“This has already happened for the immediate collection, the amicable settlement and also the order to pay.”
Under the current system, some 93% of the 4.5 million traffic fines issued in Belgium are eventually collected or paid. Although an improvement has been made in recent years, Van Quickenborne hopes to be able to cash in on the remaining 7% – about 300,000 unpaid fines.
Helping to save lives
It is already possible to revoke a driving licence if the owner refuses to pay a fine. However, the procedure has hitherto required the cooperation of various government services, including the FPS Finance which is responsible for the collection of the outstanding fine. If this is not possible, the file is sent to the police prosecutor’s office where a driving ban had to be pronounced.
As part of the Federal Plan for Traffic Safety, these processes will be automated so that driving licences can be revoked more quickly.
Van Quickenborne hopes that this will reduce the number of deaths and make our roads safer. With 56 road deaths per million inhabitants, Belgium’s traffic mortality is higher than the EU average for road deaths, which is 49 per million inhabitants.