Belgium’s national road safety plan has ambitious goals, including reaching zero deaths on the roads by 2050, compared to an average of 650 today.
In order to achieve its objectives, the federal government’s plan features broader use of traffic cameras, tougher penalties for traffic violations and an update to the Highway Code, according to RTBF.
“The Highway Code has been amended 42 times in the last 10 years,” said Benoît Godart, spokesperson for VIAS, the Belgian road safety institute.
“Today, it has become a big jumble of rules that are intertwined but no longer have a structure. There are new phenomena that have appeared, such as electric scooters, and so the Highway Code must evolve to meet the challenges of current mobility.”
A total of 32 measures have been drawn up by the Ministers of Mobility, Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo), Justice, Vincent Van Quickenborne (Open Vld) and the Interior, Annelies Verlinden (CD&V).
One of those measures is the use of smart cameras to penalize people who use their mobile phones while driving.
“It is estimated that around 50 people are killed each year on the road because of mobile phone use while driving and thousands are injured,” said Godart.
“There is no doubt that something must be done. Current repression is not enough. We will have to use cameras, which will themselves be able to detect drivers who use their mobile phones at the wheel via artificial intelligence, and fine these drivers.”
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Not every measure is easily implemented, as some require changes to laws or agreements between regions, which may take more time.
“Some of these measures are already ready and can be implemented quickly,” said Mobility Minister George Gilkinet.
“Others require negotiation or technical adjustments, but we know exactly where we want to go: towards 0 road victims. And how? By implementing these measures.”
One of the easier ones to implement concerns adding warnings to the packaging of medicines determined to have a negative effect on a person’s ability to drive.
Another is revoking the driving licence of people who don’t pay their traffic fines.
The federal road safety plan intends to cut in half the number of deaths and injuries on the road by 2030. All of the measures in the plan are expected to be in place by 2025.