September is the deadliest month for drivers since onset of pandemic
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September is the deadliest month for drivers since onset of pandemic

Illustration picture shows the scene of a traffic accident in Maasmechelen, where two cars crashed into each other on Saturday 12 September 2020. © BELGA/PINO MISURACA

Over two dozen people lost their lives on Belgian roads in September alone, breaking with a decline in road insecurity registered throughout much of the lockdown.

The back-to-school period in September triggered a rise in serious and deadly road accidents, with a total of 48 road deaths recorded by road safety institute VIAS — accounting for more than half of all deaths (59) recorded in the first three quarters of 2020.

The institute said that August was also a particularly deadly month for motorists in Belgium, with 42 deaths recorded.

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“The placid weather which encouraged excursions also led to an increase of risk exposure,” VIAS wrote. “Further, traffic was more fluid than in previous years, which led certain drivers to take more risks.”

While the overall number of road accidents diminished throughout the year by comparison to last year, VIAS said that “overall, the accidents that did take place had not been this serious since 2015.”

VIAS also said it was “worrying” that, despite the lockdown, the number of deaths on the roads remained higher over the first three quarters of 2020 (59) than those recorded in the years 2016 (52), 2017 (56) and 2018 (58), but lower than those recorded last year (77).

By vehicle type, the institute found the biggest increase in deadly accidents among moped drivers, for whom the death rate doubled to ten, in comparison to last year’s five.

In a rise described as predictable by VIAS, as more people opted for cycling as a mode of transport, accidents involving a cyclist also rose sharply, with 21% (843) more incidents recorded in Wallonia and 16% (870) more in Brussels.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times