Safety first in New Year's festivities

2nd January 2006, Comments 0 comments

2 January 2006, BRUSSELS — Many restaurants decided not to open on New Year's Eve as large swathes of the Belgian population opted to celebrate the night at home with family and friends.

2 January 2006

BRUSSELS — Many restaurants decided not to open on New Year's Eve as large swathes of the Belgian population opted to celebrate the night at home with family and friends.

The fear of intensified alcohol controls, accidents and bad weather prompted many Flemish revelers to stay at home, newspaper 'De Morgen' observed further.

As a result, one in two restaurants in Brussels remained closed and a similar trend was reported in other cities. However, caterers and takeaways enjoyed a busy night on Saturday.

The end to 2005 also saw a swell in the number of SMS messages. The largest mobile phone network, Proximus, processed 17.2 million text messages, broadcaster VRT reported.

Smaller mobile phone companies BASE and Mobistar said that between 8pm and 8am more than 6 million SMS messages were sent on each network.

Meanwhile, those who did head out for the night largely used public transport, with Flemish transport firm De Lijn reporting a record 150,500 passengers.

The scheme, Responsible Young Drivers, also ensured that 700 cars were taken home safely, accounting for 1,800 partygoers. The number of cars transported was 10 percent higher than last year.

Saturday was the 14th time that the scheme was put into action as 350 volunteers helped bring partygoers and their cars home safely.

Each call for assistance led one volunteer to drive the partygoers home in one of the 120 available Renauts while another volunteer drove the partygoers' car to the same destination.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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