Belgians often drive under the influence
Around 34 percent of Belgians admit they sometimes or often drive after more than two glasses of wine or beer. No other country in Europe sees so many drunk, tipsy or slightly befuddled drivers who seem determined to get behind the wheel.
The only Europeans doing it more often are the Luxemburgers (40 pct), a survey commissioned by car insurer Axa has revealed.
The discrepancy with other countries is significant. Next in line for drunken or tipsy driving is Portugal (22%), followed by the Swiss (20%) and the Italians (19%). In Germany (9%), Great Britain (5%) and Ireland (4%) where, however, this is considered taboo.
It seems to be the men in particular who have no qualms about driving under the influence and moreover it’s not the young drinkers who display the worst behaviour, but experienced drivers in the age group 45 to 64. Eight in ten women, on the other hand, have indicated that they never drive after more than two glasses of wine.
Emergency doctor Luc Beaucourt of the University Hospital in Antwerp blames the outrageous tolerance towards Belgian drunk drivers on the negligible prospect of prosecution, saying that apart from during the Christmas and New Year period the chance of control is almost non-existent. `I see the consequences each weekend when I am on duty: 40 to 60% of all road accident victims have had too much to drink’, he laments.
Het Laatste Nieuws /Oostkust 17 December 2008
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