Police will soon be able to check the insurance status of any car simply by scanning its number plates, after being given access to the insurance register maintained by the Common Guarantee Fund.
The measure covers all cars registered in Belgium, and uses automatic number plate recognition to read the number plate and connect to the Guarantee Fund to check if the car is insured.
Scanning can be done at a distance, the car does not need to be pulled over and the driver will not be aware the scan has taken place.
“This will allow them to be more proactive,” said Johan Muyldermans, deputy director of the guarantee fund.
As an example, any insurance irregularity would give police a reason to pull over any driver without need for further justification. And that can happen on the spot, instead of having to submit a request for information through channels to the Guarantee Fund.
The measure is intended to come into force on 21 February, in less than a week. All that is required now is a decree setting out the procedure for requests, Muyldermans said.
As well as police services, various other instances will be allowed access: police courts, investigating magistrates, the security service and the police and intelligence standing committees.
Last year, the fund recorded 5,610 cases of driving without insurance, compared to 7,147 in 2019.
“This 21.5% drop is clearly a consequence of Covid-19 and the sharp reduction in traffic last spring,” Muyldermans said.