Belgium

Rise of e-bikes and speed pedelecs prompt safety questions in Germany and the Netherlands

Rise of e-bikes and speed pedelecs prompt safety questions in Germany and the Netherlands

Bicycles that offer electric assistance and faster models that can travel at speeds of up to 45km/h are prompting policy changes in EU member states including Germany and the Netherlands.  One in four bikes sold in the Netherlands is either electrically assisted or is a so-called ‘speed pedelec’, now subject to similar legislation to mopeds. According to official data, there are now around 1.4 million electric bikes in the Netherlands.  Dutch research carried out by the SWOV Institute for Road Safety Research has found that while electric bicycles are […]

ETSC announces 2017 work-related road safety award winners

ETSC announces 2017 work-related road safety award winners

The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) has announced the 2017 winners of the PRAISE awards, in recognition of outstanding efforts taken by companies to improve road safety at work. The large company award goes to National Vehicle Distribution (NVD), a family-owned vehicle transportation and storage company in Ireland.  The small and medium-sized enterprise award goes to ATF, a Belgian road construction company. Jacobs, one of the world’s largest construction services firms, has been highly commended by the award judges. The winners will be honoured […]

Belgian study says lower, variable speed limits will speed up commuting

Belgian study says lower, variable speed limits will speed up commuting

Reducing the speed limit on Belgian motorways, particularly during periods of high congestion, would increase average speed and reduce journey times according to research by ETSC’s Belgian member VIAS institute.   Simulations showed that a reduction of the speed limit at peak times, together with a ban on changing lanes would lead to an increase in the actual speed.   “Now the average speed during rush hour is only 44 km/h. The lower limit would see an increase to 57 km/h,” said Wouter Van den Berghe of VIAS Institute. With dynamic limits, traffic flow would improve because everyone drives at a similar speed […]

Video campaign puts speeders face to face with the families of victims

Video campaign puts speeders face to face with the families of victims

A powerful new video created by the Belgian police and a traffic victims organisation has been viewed more than half a million times on Facebook.  The short film shows speeding drivers pulled over by the police and then invited to step into the back of a car where they meet a stranger who has lost a loved one due to speeding.  The campaign, which uses the hashtag #SpeedTalk, uses the slogan “There are conversations that you never forget.”  Watch the film on YouTube or Facebook.  

29 September 2017 – ISA on all policy levels, Brussels

29 September 2017 – ISA on all policy levels, Brussels

29 September 2017, 13:00-14:00 ITS.be Congress Bluepoint Conference Centre, Boulevard Auguste Reyers 80, 1030 Brussels The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) held the Knowledge Sharing Session “ISA on all policy levels” during the ITS.be Congress on Friday 29 September. Speakers included David Schoenmaekers (Belgian Federal Government, Department of Mobility and Transport), Ben Van Roose (Agoria), Bert Boterbergh (Ministry of Mobility and Public Works, Flemish Government), and Graziella Jost (ETSC). ISA – Intelligent Speed Assistance – is an overridable system that communicates the current speed limit […]

Alcohol interlock programmes finally get a boost in France

Alcohol interlock programmes finally get a boost in France

Three French départements are trialling wider use of alcohol interlocks in the fight against drink driving offences. Drivers who have had their license suspended for a drink driving offence will be able to get back behind the wheel if they agree to install an alcohol interlock at their own expense and to accept medical and psychological check-ups. The programme, which requires authorisation of a doctor and the local administrator responsible for driving licenses, should lead to more drivers using the devices. Judges in criminal […]

Shock or humour? Belgian campaign lets the viewer decide

Shock or humour? Belgian campaign lets the viewer decide

Does graphic imagery and a serious message work better than light-hearted themes when it comes to successful campaigns to change road user behaviour? A new Belgian campaign has been launched with two endings and viewers are being asked to vote for the most effective. The social media campaign begins in a car with a young driver and passengers. The passengers encourage the driver to slow down, but he initially ignores them. To select what happens next, log on to https://www.ralentissezsinon.be/ and pick your ending. […]

Several countries looking to crack down on mobile phone use at the wheel

Several countries looking to crack down on mobile phone use at the wheel

A ban on mobile phone use while driving, tougher enforcement and a driving mode for devices are some of the options being explored by governments around Europe as data show distracted driving’s deadly impact continues unabated. The Dutch Transport Minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen told the AD newspaper last November that the government was considering several options to reduce the risk of distracted driving, including a full ban or requiring that certain features, such as Pokémon Go, be switched off automatically above a certain […]

EU transport ministers back ‘ambitious’ vehicle safety improvements

EU transport ministers back ‘ambitious’ vehicle safety improvements

Eight EU transport ministers have called on the European Commission to ‘speed up’ plans to upgrade vehicle safety standards saying road safety should be ‘top priority’. In a letter to the European Commissioner for industry Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the transport ministers of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg and The Netherlands said ‘ambitious’ new vehicle safety standards are needed ‘to help Member States halve the number of road deaths by 2020’. 26,000 people die on European Union roads annually, with at least 135,000 suffering life-changing […]

Flanders reduces out of town speed limits

Flanders reduces out of town speed limits

The Northern Belgian region of Flanders has reduced the default speed limit on roads outside built-up areas to 70km/h from 90km/h previously. The new limit, which doesn’t apply to motorways or separated highways, is designed to improve road safety but also to standardise the proliferation of lower limits already in place on many inter urban roads across the region.  Instead of 70km/h being a signposted exception, it now becomes the default – with 90km/h only permitted under specific conditions such as separated bicycle paths […]

Belgium strengthens alcohol interlock programme

Belgium strengthens alcohol interlock programme

The Belgian Minister of Mobility François Bellot is planning to strengthen drink driving laws to require judges to impose alcohol interlocks on recidivist and high level first time offenders and in cases of drunkenness. Belgium’s alcohol interlock programme began in September 2013, but judges have only imposed the requirement in 42 cases. By far the most common sanction since then was a temporary driving ban, imposed on 19,510 individuals. Mr Bellot is preparing legal changes that would require judges to impose alcohol interlocks to […]

Young men targeted in Christmas drink drive campaigns

Young men targeted in Christmas drink drive campaigns

Official drink driving campaigns are increasingly using social media to reach target groups. The UK government’s Think! campaign is using events such as major football games and video game launches to point out to young males what they could miss out on if they have one extra pint.  The social media images use messages written on the side of beer glasses to get the message across. The campaign specifically targets young males, as figures show they account for almost two thirds of drink drivers […]

Belgium and The Netherlands introduce new rules for fast electric bikes

Belgium and The Netherlands introduce new rules for fast electric bikes

Fast electric bikes that can travel up to 45km/h will be treated the same as mopeds according to new rules in place in Belgium from last month, and in The Netherlands from next year. The new rules for ‘speed pedelecs’ in Belgium require riders to be over 16 years of age, have a valid driving license for a moped and wear a helmet.  The vehicle must also be registered and insured. The rules for so-called ‘pedelecs’, electric bikes offering pedal assistance up to a […]

The US government wants a mobile phone ‘Driver Mode’ to reduce distraction

The US government wants a mobile phone ‘Driver Mode’ to reduce distraction

The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued new guidelines aimed at encouraging phone manufacturers to introduce an automatic ‘Driver Mode’ to cut down on distracting apps and messages while driving. The proposals, announced earlier this month, are voluntary. They envisage a simplified display, and a block on distracting apps, both of which could be activated automatically while driving.  Samsung’s popular Galaxy series of phones offer a drive mode already but it must be activated manually. Apple’s ubiquitous iPhone has no such feature, […]

17-18 November – European Road Safety Campaigns Conference 2016, Brussels

17-18 November – European Road Safety Campaigns Conference 2016, Brussels

Road safety campaigns have evolved. Organisations across Europe are responding to new risks, changing media consumption patterns and new technologies with innovative, targeted campaigns designed to target hard-to-reach groups and help change behaviour. The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC), the Belgian Road Safety Institute (BRSI), the Flemish Department of Mobility and Public Works (MOW), the Flemish Foundation for Traffic Knowledge (VSV), the Walloon Agency for Road Safety (AWSR) and the Brussels Region organised the second European Road Safety Campaigns Conference on 17 – 18 […]

HGVs: Widespread tachograph manipulation detected in Germany; Belgium fights overloading

HGVs: Widespread tachograph manipulation detected in Germany; Belgium fights overloading

One in four lorries checked on German roads last year showed signs of tachograph manipulation according to a report published by the German transport ministry in September. 22,000 trucks were checked specifically for the tachograph records, with issues detected on 5533 vehicles. Experts cited by DPA, the German news agency, suggested that tachograph software could be hacked. But the Federal Office of Goods Transport (BAG) did not specify how the devices had been altered. In Belgium’s Wallonia region, new dynamic weighing systems are helping […]

Belgium takes action on speeding

Belgium takes action on speeding

New technology and legal changes are the latest weapons in the fight against speeding in Belgium, with new safety cameras being trialled in the Northern region of Flanders and a change to the legal status of speeding fines in French-speaking Wallonia. Four police zones in Flanders have installed safety cameras with an invisible infra-red flash system, reports DHnet.be. The system is designed to reduce the numbers contesting fines and help prevent dangerous braking near the cameras. At one site, the system was reported to have […]

More than half of drivers go more than 10km/h too fast in 30 km/h school zones

More than half of drivers go more than 10km/h too fast in 30 km/h school zones

An investigation by the Belgian Road Safety Institute (BRSI) has found that 90% of drivers exceeded 30 km/h speed limits near schools with more than half travelling at 40km/h or more. In areas away from schools, drivers appeared more likely to stick to the limit. The BRSI says the zones need to be accompanied by infrastructure measures such as traffic humps. This is sometimes not the case for schools on main roads where, out of school hours, the limit can be up to 70 […]

13 – 15 September 2016 – Alcohol Interlock Symposium, Brussels

13 – 15 September 2016 – Alcohol Interlock Symposium, Brussels

Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Brussels The Traffic Injury Research Foundation and ETSC are hosting the 15th annual Alcohol Interlock Symposium on 13-15 September in Brussels. Alcohol interlock programs have expanded greatly in recent decades. Today, programs combine technological advances with more tailored and efficient monitoring strategies to deliver high-quality services. The theme of the 2016 Symposium is “Efficiency Through Automation”. As alcohol interlock technology evolves, it becomes increasingly important to understand how intelligent devices can be embedded in sophisticated vehicles and linked to database […]

22- 26 August 2016 – Road Safety Summer School, Mechelen

22- 26 August 2016 – Road Safety Summer School, Mechelen

The European Road Safety Summer School 2016 is an initiative of the Flemish Foundation for Traffic Knowledge (VSV), the Transportation Research Institute(IMOB) of Hasselt University, the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) and the Polis network of European cities and regions cooperating for innovative transport solutions. It will take place from 22 to 26 August 2016 in Mechelen (Brussels North area – 15 minutes by train from Brussels Airport and central Brussels). Find out more at the event website.

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