Seven percent of Belgians watch videos on their smartphones while driving

Seven percent of Belgians watch videos on their smartphones while driving
Credit: Belga

Seven percent of Belgian drivers admit to watching videos on their mobile phones at least once a month while driving, a survey by the Vias Institute showed on Monday.

The study is part of a vast national survey on road insecurity, conducted among 6,000 people to find out their driving behaviour.

Brussels has the highest percentage of drivers watching videos, 16% of respondents, compared to 8% in Wallonia and 5% in Flanders.

“We notice that the percentage of Belgians who take photos or film themselves while driving is the same as those who watch videos,” added Vias spokesman Benoit Godart. “The rate even climbs to 8% when it comes to people who hold video-conference meetings while driving.”

Mr Godart pointed out, however, that although dangerous and punishable by fines, smartphone use while driving is not completely banned if the phone is installed on a device intended for this purpose.

“On the other hand, even if the device is placed in the car in a lawful manner, if it leads to dangerous behaviour such as zigzagging, for example, the person behind the wheel may, in that case, be fined,” the spokesman explained. “The same applies if the person is caught with their phone in their hand, because there it is prohibited.”

The offender will then have to pay a fine of €174 for a so-called third degree offence.

“This is a relatively new and worrying phenomenon, as people tend to consider their cabin as an extension of their living room, whereas constant attention is needed on the roads with the increase in density on the road network and the ever-increasing number of users,” Benoit Godart said.

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