Lockdown led to deadlier traffic accidents

Lockdown led to deadlier traffic accidents
© Belga

The lockdown has led to fewer but deadlier accidents on Belgian roads, as the absence of traffic led some motorists to drive at higher speeds.

During the first quarter of 2020, road accidents have been twice as deadly than during the same period last year, a new report by traffic institute VIAS found.

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Compared to 2019, the number of deadly accidents so far this year dropped by 6%, at the same time as the overall number of traffic accidents dropped by 12%.

"The accidents that occurred during the confinement were twice as deadly as those before this period," VIAS wrote, noting that reduced traffic appeared to "incite" certain drivers to floor it, a trend which negatively impacting road security.

Despite the fact that the lockdown was only in place for two weeks of the first quarter, VIAS found a "worrying" increase in the number of deaths on motorways, noting that the number (28) had not been this high in ten years.

In the second half of March, VIAS recorded 26 deaths per 1,000 accidents, compared to 12 during the first 15 days of the month —ahead of the confinement, which came into force on 18 March.

Overall, VIAS said the lockdown saw to a drop in the number of accidents for all road users, in particular, motorbike drivers (-22%), car drivers (-18%) and pedestrians (-18%).

In comparison to last year's figures, the institute also recorded a significant drop in the number of deadly accidents involving pedestrian (from 24 to 16) and cyclists (12 to 5).

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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