Minister Gilkinet to involve citizens in traffic safety discussion
Traffic safety is essential to move around freely. Unfortunately, there are still far too many traffic accidents, and we desperately need safer (shared) mobility. That is why Vice-Premier and Minister of Mobility, Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo), wants to organize a large-scale online public consultation.
People will be invited to participate in an online survey and citizen panels to share their ideas and suggestions. ‘All for Zero’, as the campaign is called, is meant to improve safety on the road.
In the last twenty years, the number of traffic victims went down from 1 500 a year (in 2001) to 640 in 2019. A positive trend. Sensitizing campaigns, more road checks, fines, and training have clearly been effective. “Unfortunately, we still see too many tragedies on our roads,” says Gilkinet. “Too many people lose their lives, too many families are destroyed. Our ambition is clear: we want zero fatalities.”
The minister hopes to incite all Belgians to participate and contribute to a safer traffic situation. He wants to bring all citizens, associations, and authorities together around one common goal: ‘All for Zero’.
On June 22nd, the minister invited the federal commission for traffic safety, among which federal partners (FPSs, traffic safety institute Vias, police force…), local authorities, federations, and interest groups (Agora, Touring, Febiac…), and associations (of pedestrians, cyclists…).
“We have to join forces to safe lives,” Gilkinet said. “We can achieve more if we pull together, and together we will decide on the best preventive, correcting, and repressive solutions.”
Between July 7th and September 30th, people can fill out the online survey. This way, they can contribute to better future mobility. Later, on September 21st, several citizen panels will be organized to start a public debate. They will meet physically and discuss three specified themes.
Federal Traffic Safety Plan
First theme: How can we make public space safer and meanwhile respect everybody’s needs? Second theme: Risk behavior: why do we endanger ourselves and others? And the third one: Which fines or sanctions are best for those who break the rules (regularly)? The conclusions of all those discussions will form the basis for the first ‘Federal Traffic Safety Plan’.
On the Flemish side of the country, we see similar initiatives to tackle traffic unsafety. In March, the Flemish Minister of Mobility, Lydia Peeters (Open Vld), said to be working on an innovative plan to reduce traffic deaths drastically. She also said she would use innovative technology – cameras, drones, automatization, and artificial intelligence – to analyze driving behavior.
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.