Speeding to be punished by mobile red lights
Local authorities of Bree (Limburg, Belgium) want to start an experiment by punishing speed merchants with red traffic lights. Instead of winning time, they have to wait.
Green smiley, red warning
The municipality of Bree has several digital traffic signs showing a green smiley as a reward for exemplary drivers. Speed merchants, on the contrary, get a red warning. But the effect of the signs is waning.
“That’s why we want to start a pilot project with a direct link between the digital signs and traffic lights”, explains Alderman for Mobility, Mario Knippenberg (N-VA). “When the sign registers somebody driving too fast, a traffic light further on will switch to red light. So, instead of winning time, the speed merchant has to wait before the red light.”
Those traffic lights will be mobile, so they can easily and strategically be moved to another place. “Drivers ignoring the red light will be flashed and fined. This way, we hope to correct misbehaviour in traffic and avoid accidents.”
Other countries, like Spain, already use this system and in Belgium there were earlier – successful – experiments with it. The system, however, has opponents too, saying that exemplary drivers are punished as well.
Traffic expert Chris Tampère of the university in Leuven (KU Leuven) is in favour, though. “It’s a way of having permanent and unmanned control. Moreover, the red lights have a psychological effect because they immediately punish the speed merchant. It is true, though, that exemplary drivers are punished too, but it increases social pressure. The system puts speed merchants in the pillory.”