17 May 2005
BRUSSELS – Stiff new fines for running a red light, talking on a cellphone at the wheel and other motoring faux pas are due to enter into force on 1 October, the Belgian government has announced.
Although road accidents are in steady decline in Belgium, this should not prevent the government from intensifying its efforts to crack down on motorists who flout the law, Mobility Minister Renaat Landuydt suggested at the weekend.
While some penalties will be lowered, others will increase dramatically, depending on how dangerous the infraction is deemed, the RTBF news site and French-language daily Le Soir recently reported.
The new system will place motoring infractions in four categories, from one to four, according to the gravity of the crime.
Parking illegally, for instance, used to incur a stiff penalty of EUR 150, which will drop to a mere EUR 50 in future.
The fine for using a cellphone while driving, by contrast, will double from EUR 50 to EUR 100 – although this particular new penalty will not kick in until March 2006. Running a red light, meanwhile, will cost EUR 100 as of 1 October.
A strict new system of speeding tickets will also enter into force. Anyone caught speeding within 10 kilometres per hour above the posted speed limit will be fined EUR 50.
Above and beyond that, each additional excess kilometre per hour will cost the motorist an additional EUR 10.
And in the event of a motorist getting caught driving more than 30 km/hour above the posted speed limit, he or she will be ordered to appear before a court of low, receive a stiff penalty and possibly even have their licence revoked.
In the new system, level four infractions are those which irrevocably lead to an accident, according to Landuydt.
Luckily there is still ample time for motorists across Belgium to invest in a ‘hands-free’ kit for their car cellphones, Le Soir suggested.
Subject: Belgian News