Drivers without license become major traffic safety problem
Every day somebody who’s appearing before the police court has no drivers license. It is becoming a major problem because control of possible suspension is practically non existent.
“The chance that drivers without license are caught is far too low”, says Antwerp police judge Erwin Van Damme. “Of course you can’t control everybody everywhere and people take advantage of this, they try to stay under the radar.”
Fleeing becomes a habit
“Another smaller group is even worse. They commit traffic offenses, cause accidents and above all they flee when they’ve hurt other people” adds Van Damme. “When we catch them we notice that more and more of them had their license already suspended.”
In the future information from different authorities will be cross-examined, but at this moment this ‘Kruispuntbank’ called permanent information exchange is not possible yet.
“For the moment we meet these cases everyday in the police court and we punish them with effective jail sentences, but in the end there has to be a change of mind”, concludes Van Damme.
Is suspension useful?
The question is: is suspension of drivers licenses in these circumstances really efficient? Police judge Kathleen Stinckens (Leuven) responds affirmative: “It’s the only measure we legally have to prevent people from driving for a certain time. The problem is that we can’t control them permanently.”
In September a so called alcohol lock on every car was suggested, but there is no political consensus on that.
The fact that federal Justice Minister Koen Geens and Mobility Minister François Bellot have a joint law proposal to increase punishment of some traffic offenses seriously (at least doubling the penalties) may help. Normally these new rules will become official next spring.