A speed-check marathon lasting 24 hours started this morning at 06.00, with police suspending a protest action to allow the marathon to go ahead. For the next 24 hours, until 06.00 on Thursday, police across the country carrying out lightning strikes at various unannounced locations in 130 police zones to check drivers’ speed. This is the tenth such speed marathon organised by police.
Some of the locations are based on tips from members of the public, collected during an online action calling for suggestions of speed hot-spots. They include locations in Antwerp, Ghent and Leuven, as well as Oosterzeel, Kalmthout and Hasselt. In all, over 9,000 tips were received.
The main reasons given by tipsters: the presence at the location of a large number of cyclists and pedestrians, and the presence of a school in the vicinity.
Police unions have, for the duration, suspended an industrial action which earlier in the week saw large numbers of police officers reporting sick. In the Brussels-Ixelles zone, three out of four officers called in sick.
Police recorded 1.3 million speeding offences last year, with excess speed estimated to be the cause of 30% of the 200 fatal accidents that took place. During the last organised marathon in April, 1.3 million checks were carried out, with over 35,000 offences recorded – just over 2.5%, and slightly fewer than the 36,500 recorded during the marathon a year ago.