More hit-and-run convictions
30 July 2007
BRUSSELS – The courts convicted 11,920 motorists for hit-and-run accidents last year. That is the highest number in five years. 18 motorists were sentenced to prison because the accident had claimed a life. Starting in September, repeat offenders risk up to four years in prison and permanent suspension of their license.
The rise in the number of convictions is not surprising. In 2005 the five procurators general decided to crack down on hit-and-run perpetrators. The figures from the justice ministry show that they followed through on this commitment. 11,920 motorists were caught last year after leaving the scene of an accident. This was the highest number since 2000, when 12,153 hit-and-run motorists were arrested.
Most of the motorists (67 percent) were penalised for fleeing the scene of an accident which had only caused minor vehicle damage. In 20 percent of cases the driver was under the influence of alcohol. Another 1,045 motorists (10 percent) left one or more injured victims behind. 18 cases involved a fatality.
It is conspicuous that two to three times more hit-and-run offences are committed in Flanders than in Wallonia or Brussels. Courts will be imposing even stricter sentences from September. Repeat offenders in particular will be facing up to four years in prison, a fine of EUR 10,000 and a permanent suspension of their license.
[Copyright Expatica News 2007]
Subject: Belgian news