At 06.00 today, the federal police started a 24-operation to clamp down on speeding, with a mammoth campaign of speed traps set up all across the country.
The word ‘mammoth’ is not lightly chosen. The federal police, which operates on the country’s motorways, is working together with 119 police zones to set up speed checks at 621 locations on motorways, expressways and local roads.
“You could come upon us anywhere, at any moment,” said Koen Ricour, director of the federal traffic police.
The plan behind announcing the traps before springing them is to create a change in mentality among drivers.
“Speed is still the biggest killer in traffic. Even now in Covid times, speed enforcement is important. We see that there is less traffic on the roads, and yet we observe relatively higher speeds. That is unacceptable. We behave safely so as not to get corona, so let us also behave safely not to have or cause traffic accidents,” he said.
The last such marathon took place in October, and saw 35,443 speeding fines being handed out, and 331 drivers forced to hand in their driving licences.
“We hope, of course, that we have to give out as few fines as possible, that people keep to the speed and that way safely get to their destination,” Ricour said. Last time we had 3.77% of drivers in violation of the law, who went on to receive a fine in their mailbox. We hope – if we’re allowed to ideal dream – to one day register zero fines.”
However that time could still be some way off, with news from the Vias traffic institute that Belgian drivers incur a speeding fine on average once every two years.
In 2019, police gave out just over four million speeding fines, an 8% increase on 2018. Also in 2019, a poll showed 68% of Belgian drivers admitting to driving too fast on the motorway – more than the European average of 62%.
In town, 62% admitted speeding, compared to a European average of 56%. according to Vias, an increase in speed of 10km/h increases the chances of serious injury in an accident by 80%, and of fatal injury by 120%.