Belgium

Belgium to launch emergency corridor system from October

Belgium to launch emergency corridor system from October

Belgium will be the ninth EU country to implement the emergency corridor system to enable emergency response teams faster access to crash sites when a new requirement comes into force on 1 October.  The news was reported in July by Flemish news channel VRT.    The system, which has been shown to reduce response times by 4 minutes, and increase survival rates by 40%, is already used in Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovenia and Switzerland. The system was a focus of […]

E-scooters: Calls in Germany for licenses, speed limits for new users and indicator lights

E-scooters: Calls in Germany for licenses, speed limits for new users and indicator lights

ETSC’s German member DVR – the German Road Safety Council, together with ETSC’s newest member DEKRA, specialists in vehicle inspection, have published 11 recommendations for improving e-scooter safety, one year after the vehicles were legalised in Germany.  The recommendations focus on the vehicles themselves, but also how they are used, particularly in the city e-scooter rental market.   The organisations are calling for e-scooter users to be required to pass an AM driving test, equivalent to the test required for mopeds and motor scooters.  The […]

Pontevedra, Spain, wins the first EU urban road safety award

Pontevedra, Spain, wins the first EU urban road safety award

The European Commission has announced the winners of four sustainable mobility awards including the first ever prize for urban road safety, awarded to Pontevedra in Spain. Pontevedra has reduced road deaths consistently since 1999, impressively achieving zero road deaths between 2011 and 2018. A host of measures ensure that safety and sustainability go hand-in-hand. The city used a clear and careful monitoring strategy to identify which policies are effective and which need to be updated, resulting in increased active mobility, such as walking and […]

COVID-19: Cities adapting road infrastructure and speed limits to enable safer cycling and walking

COVID-19: Cities adapting road infrastructure and speed limits to enable safer cycling and walking

Berlin, Brussels, Milan and Paris have all announced infrastructure changes to promote cycling and walking during the COVID-19 confinement period. Berlin has already temporarily widened cycle lanes to allow safe overtaking with social distancing limits in mind. Milan, meanwhile is closing 35km of streets to car traffic, introducing more 30 km/h limits and converting streets  to cycling and pedestrian-priority. In France, Paris and several other large cities have announced large rollouts of cycle lanes for during and after the lockdown. In the Belgian capital […]

COVID-19: Huge drop in traffic in Europe,  but impact on road deaths unclear

COVID-19: Huge drop in traffic in Europe, but impact on road deaths unclear

Unprecedented reductions in traffic volumes have been reported across Europe since confinement measures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic took effect.  Early reports based on limited data show that road deaths have not been reduced to the same degree, and, in some areas, have stayed the same or risen.  It is too early to draw firm conclusions. Data analysis by Tom Tom, of a number of major European cities has shown traffic volumes reduced by between 70 and 85% in countries where confinement measures are […]

Dutch study confirms effectiveness of alcohol interlock programmes

Dutch study confirms effectiveness of alcohol interlock programmes

The Dutch alcohol interlock programme was twice as effective as other sanctions at reducing recidivism, and the effects continued after participation in the scheme, according to new research by the Dutch Ministry of Justice research centre (WODC). According to the researchers, 4% of those who followed the programme were re-convicted of a drink-driving offence within two years, compared to 8% for a control group who faced other sanctions. An education programme for drink-driving offenders had a recidivism rate of 7%, compared to 9% for […]

Brussels-wide 30 km/h zone confirmed as Lille reaches 88% street coverage

Brussels-wide 30 km/h zone confirmed as Lille reaches 88% street coverage

Almost the whole of the Belgian capital will be covered by 30 km/h limits from January 2021 the city’s new minister of transport has confirmed. The announcement of the policy was accompanied by the news that automated speed enforcement capacity in the city will be increased and 30 high risk sites will be treated.  A publicity campaign encouraging drivers to respect the new limit ahead of its formal launch has also been running across the city since the announcement. Public pressure for road safety […]

Brussels to become a 30km/h city

Brussels to become a 30km/h city

The new governing coalition of the city of Brussels has agreed to implement a default 30 km/h speed limit across the city from January 2021. The measure, which will apply to all residential streets, but not to main roads such as the inner ring road tunnels, will be a significant extension.  Only around half of the city’s roads currently apply a 30 km/h limit. The main driver’s club, Touring, welcomed the move, saying it would provide “clarity” for drivers. A number of experts have […]

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

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

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 […]

7 November 2018 – REVIVE Round table, Spain

7 November 2018 – REVIVE Round table, Spain

The fourth REVIVE Round table focused on improving post-collision outcomes in Belgium, France, Italy,  the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. In the framework of the REVIVE Project, experts in Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Rescue/Fire Service (RFS) and road safety from Belgium, France, Italy,  the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain met in Madrid on 7 November 2018. They discussed the way forward for improving post-collision response and emergency care across the EU. The meeting gathered representatives from health agencies, rescue services as well as researchers and other actors […]

Alcohol interlocks now mandatory in Belgium for high-level and repeat offenders

Alcohol interlocks now mandatory in Belgium for high-level and repeat offenders

Judges in Belgium will have to oblige high level or repeat drink-driving offenders to follow an alcohol interlock rehabilitation programme after new legal changes come into force on 1 July 2018. Previously the alcohol interlock requirement was a little-used legal option, but it will now become mandatory in most cases. According to research by VIAS, ETSC’s Belgian member, recidivism is reduced by 75% for those that install an alcohol interlock and follow the accompanying rehabilitation programme. Under the existing rules, only 67 drivers have […]

Belgium: New drivers to get mandatory first aid training

Belgium: New drivers to get mandatory first aid training

The Brussels Capital region will introduce mandatory first aid training for all new drivers from November this year.  20,000 places on courses organised by the Red Cross will be available on an annual basis.  But the requirements only apply in Brussels, one of the three main administrative regions of Belgium.  The costs of the courses will be paid, not by drivers, but by the Brussels authorities. ETSC says first aid training could be useful, and in any case, can prove helpful in a wide […]

Flanders to expand time-over-distance camera network

Flanders to expand time-over-distance camera network

The number of road sections covered by time-over-distance cameras in the Belgian region of Flanders will more than double in 2018, from 31 locations to 68. The Flemish region now has time-over-distance cameras at 27 locations on regional roads and at three locations on motorways.  The expanded network will include 34 new locations on regional roads and 3 locations on motorways. One Flemish MP, Joris Vandenbroucke welcomed the increase. “Speed ​​is a killer on the roads. And we know from experience with the current […]

Antwerp to trial lorry ban at beginning and end of school day

Antwerp to trial lorry ban at beginning and end of school day

The Belgian city of Antwerp has announced a trial of restrictions on heavy goods vehicles in two areas during the early morning and afternoon on school days. Lorries will be prohibited from circulating between 7.30 and 9.00 and between 15.00 and 17.00 when children are travelling to and from school. The Flemish pedestrians organisation Voetgangers Beweging has welcomed the announcement, describing the measure as a ‘Christmas gift to the children of Antwerp’ and called for expansion of the scheme across Flanders.

Belgium: survey says three quarters of drug drivers mix with alcohol

Belgium: survey says three quarters of drug drivers mix with alcohol

Three quarters of people that admitted to driving after taking drugs, usually cannabis, in a poll said they had also mixed the drug taking with alcohol, according to AWSR, an ETSC member in Belgium. Roughly 1 in 10 of those polled admitted to drink driving over the previous twelve months, twice as many as admitted taking drugs before driving. AWSR was particularly concerned about the levels of ignorance of the risks associated with driving under the influence of drugs. Almost half believed that taking […]

Consumer organisation calls for revised child cycle helmet standards

Consumer organisation calls for revised child cycle helmet standards

The Belgian consumer organisation Test-Achats/Test-Aankoop has called for tougher safety standards for children’s cycle helmets after it found large differences in the ability of current models to protect against brain injury. The organisation commissioned the University of Strasbourg to test twelve child cycle helmets using a digital model of the human head to simulate the protection offered. Price offered no indication of performance, as an €80 model was outperformed by one selling for €10.  The best model tested carried a 30% risk of brain […]

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.  

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