Exactly 6,158,323 drivers ran into the lamp in our country last year because they drove too fast. A figure never seen before. That’s more than 510,000 every month, or nearly 17,000 daily. This means that speeding offenses account for eighty percent of all traffic violations, according to detailed figures published by the federal police on Tuesday.
Remarkable: the majority of those speeding offenses were found in Flanders. In concrete terms: 4.4 million or slightly more than 70 percent of the 6.2 million speeding fines last year. Wallonia accounts for 1.4 million fines, about 20 percent. The Brussels Region has almost 400,000.
Although there are also serious differences within Flanders – 1.6 million fines in the province of Antwerp compared to about 517,000 in Limburg – the major difference between Flanders and the other side of the country is particularly striking. The province of Liège – comparable in terms of population to the province of West Flanders – accounts for barely 192,000 fines. In West Flanders, on the other hand, more than 620,000 drivers were rationed.
Only the province of Hainaut and Namur come somewhat close to the Flemish figures. Red lantern is the – albeit sparsely populated – province of Luxembourg, with barely 92,000 speeding fines.
“They don’t care”
“The figures prove what we have been saying for some time: Walloon politicians pretend they want better road safety, but when a measure is put on the table that could lead to more fines, you suddenly see a huge cold feet and they are afraid of the reaction of the people,” says N-VA Member of Parliament and traffic specialist Wouter Raskin.
Criticism is also harsh within the majority. “The figures prove once again that Walloon politicians are simply not interested in better road safety,” said Joris Vandenbroucke (Vooruit). “However, they absolutely should be, because apart from a few remote regions in Poland and Romania, no other European region is doing so badly in terms of road safety. The mortality rate – the chance of a fatal accident – is almost twice as high as in Flanders.”
“But what do Walloon politicians do in practice, PS and MR in the lead? At the federal level, they are blocking the introduction of the driver’s license with points, and they are blocking stricter enforcement of controls on mobile phones behind the wheel, another killer in traffic,” says Vandenbroucke. “Only in dribs and drabs do they install trajectory checks, yet they are very effective against excessive speed. There are now ten times as many in Flanders.”
The cabinet of Walloon Minister for Road Safety Valérie De Bue (MR) maintains that Wallonia is “in the process of drastically improving road safety by installing extra speed cameras and speed checks”. According to the minister, the idea in Flanders that you can and are allowed to do everything by car “in the Walloons” has “long since disappeared”.
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