Minister Peeters: using drones to reduce traffic deaths
The Flemish Minister of Mobility, Lydia Peeters (Open Vld), is working out an innovative plan to reduce the number of traffic deaths drastically. She will use innovative technology – cameras, drones, automatization, and artificial intelligence – to analyze driving behavior, newspaper De Zondag revealed first.
According to Peeters, traffic safety is definitely a priority that has to be tackled on all government levels. Cooperation with local authorities is, therefore, a must. That is why the minister will organize five digital safety meetings, in which local authorities and police zones can participate. The common goal is to improve traffic safety in Flanders.
The ‘modus operandi’ the minister wants to apply is called ‘MIA’ – ‘Mobiliteit Innovatief Aanpakken’ – or to tackle mobility issues in an innovative way. MIA should become a process methodology to better solve mobility and infrastructure problems. Most frustrating is the bureaucratic delay before dangerous problems are solved.
“We want to discover how drivers behave at particular traffic spots. And this knowledge should help us to avoid creating new dangerous traffic points, the so-called ‘black points’. The first pilot starts in Limburg; a second one will follow in West Flanders.
Traffic safety plan
“Limburg will be the first structured test environment,” the Minister explains. “We have reserved 6 million euros to invest in unsafe traffic spots and cycling infrastructure in the province.” As soon as construction works start, there will be a research project going on as well. The main goal of the initiative is to find out how problem situations can be detected and solved sooner.
Any input is welcome and will be used in the preparation of the new traffic safety plan. This plan should be the translation of the Flemish Government’s Vision Zero with zero traffic deaths by 2050 as the final goal.
Even in the ‘corona year’ 2020, almost 500 people lost their lives in traffic. “It should be our daily ambition not to tolerate any victims in traffic. It’s unacceptable that children die on their way to school.”
Using drones to check on drivers? And what about people’s privacy? According to Minister Peeters, there will be no privacy issues. “After all, we’re not interested in who’s driving or who’s doing what in the car. Traffic safety is our starting point. We only want to study people’s behavior in particular situations and learn from it. Our final goal is to prevent traffic accidents.”