Revolution in sight for driving licenses in Belgium? “We are lagging behind, it is a way of giving adequate follow-up to traffic offenses”

During the week, the former “Belgian Institute for Road Safety” announced that it had completed a new study on the points-based license, analyzing the Belgian system for monitoring repeat offenders at the request of the Minister for Mobility, Georges Gilkinet. Conclusion: “Belgium is lagging behind when it comes to monitoring and penalizing traffic offenses that are not serious enough for their perpetrator to appear in court” and “the driving license with points is a means of giving adequate follow-up to these offences”.

The Minister indicated in the process that he would put a proposal for a Belgian-style license on the government’s table in the coming weeks, if possible before July 21. This prospect was greeted with reservations in the Chamber in the ranks of the PS and the MR.

The system recommended by Vias, “would be less blind than in France”, because “semi-automated”: there would be no “blind withdrawal” of permits, but rather passage before a judge from a certain point , said Sunday Benoit Godart, spokesperson for the institute. “Today, for example, you can drive every day at 150 km/h on the motorway, later be caught with a blood alcohol level of 0.7, then 15 days after being caught for GSM while driving, and never be worried (beyond fines to pay, editor’s note). And that, the study shows, does not exist anywhere else. The license with points would be a response to this shortcoming”.

Perverse effects feared

Fears of an exaggerated multiplication of license withdrawals (when the points are exhausted) are unfounded, according to him. “The majority of citizens are not concerned: in France, 86% of drivers still have all their points or have only lost one or two. Lose their license only to those who have committed all major offences, in particular speeding and alcohol”, the “big repeat offenders”.

Some, like the ex-Minister MR for Mobility François Bellot (also present on the set of RTL-TVi), put forward as a perverse effect of the license with points the multiplication of drivers driving without a license, on the basis of the estimate that 700,000 people without a license drive on French roads. “This represents 2% of French drivers, but in Belgium there are around 100,000 in this case, i.e. 1.7%. We are already in the same average, and the reason for the slightly higher figures in France would be the difficulty of obtaining the permit there”, nuance Benoit Godart on Sunday.

As for the doubts about the effectiveness of the system in terms of road safety (and ultimately the number of road deaths): “in Norway we see a clear effect on drivers who are about to lose their licence, they adapt their behavior,” he concludes.

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