Flemish mobility minister Ben Weyts has announced the Flemish government will next year introduce cameras to catch truck drivers who ignore the law forbidding overtaking in wet conditions. Speaking on VTM, Weyts said the cameras would be installed in the course of 2019, and would be linked to a pluviometer which measures the amount of rainfall at the time.
According to estimates by motoring organisation Touring, one in three truck drivers ignores the rule forbidding overtaking in rain, and about 90% of those who do are driving a vehicle with foreign number plates.
“The Belgians appear to be aware of the rules, but there’s a lot of work to be done regarding foreign drivers,” said Danny Smagghe of Touring.
The law – the only one of its kind in Europe – was introduced in 2007, and states that trucks must stay in the right-hand lane during rainy periods. The fact that so many ignore the rules would tend to suggest not that drivers are unaware of a law that has been in place for 11 years, but that in most cases, they fear no consequences.
“It’s possible that they take the risk because they think they won’t be fined, because they drive with foreign plates, and think that will make them more difficult to trace,” Smagghe said.
Weyts said he saw the usefulness of better informing drivers. “But that is not enough; you also have to carry out checks and deal with offenders,” he said. And he called on the federal government to come up with a legal definition of how much rain is required before the ban on overtaking comes into force.
“That is for minister [François] Belott to lay down in the law,” he said.