Belgian MPs approve higher fines for driving up grade crossings
The Belgian Parliament has approved a bill to impose higher fines for people driving up a grade crossing when traffic is obstructed Thursday evening. Fines can amount to between 160 and 2 000 euros.
Driving up a grade crossing when traffic is obstructed can be very dangerous. According to figures from rail manager Infrabel, in 2019, 45 accidents occurred on grade crossings. Seven people died, six were injured.
Until now, driving up a grade crossing when traffic is obstructed was an infringement of the first degree, the lowest category of traffic regulation. But, according to the Commission for Mobility, this could give drivers the wrong signal.
“People don’t consider it a ‘serious’ infringement and often aren’t aware of the possible consequences,” Marianne Verhaert (Open Vld) said when she introduced a law proposition to increase fines. “I want to make it an infringement of the second degree. This means it can endanger people’s lives. So it’s important to increase consciousness about the danger.”
Fines up to €2 000
On Thursday evening, the bill she introduced was voted, and fines for the above-mentioned infringement will cost between 160 and 2 000 euros.
Ignoring a red light at a railway crossing is an infringement of the fourth degree, with fines from 320 to 4 000 euros and the possible withdrawal of people’s driver’s license for eight days to five years.