Belgium: call for zero tolerance for novice drivers caught drink-driving

  • July 12, 2019

Vias Institute, one of ETSC’s Belgian members, has reiterated calls for a zero alcohol limit for novice drivers – as a survey showed most youngsters approved of such a move.

Most EU Member States now have a lower Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit for novice drivers of 0.2 or below.  Belgium, along with Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland and Scotland have a limit of 0.5, the rest of the UK has a limit of 0.8. See ETSC’s latest list of BAC limits.

According to an opinion survey carried out by Vias earlier this year, 69% of drivers under 35 support a zero tolerance limit for novice drivers.

An international survey of driver attitudes published in June, showed Belgian drivers to have among the worst attitudes to drink-driving in Europe with a quarter saying they had driven in the last month with a BAC level probably over the national limit (0.5).

And within a few days of that survey being published, the acting president of the Flemish Parliament Kris Van Dijck was caught drink-driving with a BAC of 1.4 following a crash involving his car and another vehicle.  He later resigned from his post but only after separate unrelated allegations were made against him by a news magazine.

After the car crash came to light he apologised and made an offer to tour a rehabilitation facility – but did not face any calls to resign.  A Belgian campaigner against drink-driving suggested he should voluntarily install an alcohol interlock in his car.  Van Dijck could face a fine, but will not necessarily face a driving ban despite the high BAC level.