Flanders caught 1,6 million speed offenders in first half of 2021

During the first half of 2021, more than 1,6 million drivers in Flanders – 11% more than in the same period in 2019 – were caught speeding. More than half of them (27,4%) drove more than 10 km/hour faster than the allowed speed limit. The figures are based on statistics of the Federal Police.

“Speeding remains an issue,” says Flemish Minister of Mobility, Lydia Peeters (Open Vld), in a reaction to VSV’s findings. That is why VSV, the Flemish Foundation for Traffic Science (Vlaamse Stichting Verkeerskunde, VSV), and Minister Peeters introduce a new sensitizing campaign. To raise awareness about the dangers of speeding, tackle speeding, and reduce the number of speed-related accidents on Flemish roads and highways.

‘Speed limit is safety limit’

“If you drive too fast, you won’t see him”, is the title of the campaign. The idea of the message is simple: if you drive too fast, you won’t recognize ‘him’ or the actor in the clip. The figurehead of the campaign is the Flemish actor and presenter Sieg De Doncker, staged as a pedestrian crossing the street, on billboards along the highway, and in a video clip on tv.

In the clip, De Doncker addresses the public asking people whether they’ve noticed the billboards and recognized him. “Probably not,” is the answer – and the public feels caught – because they were driving too fast. “The speed limit is the safety limit,” the clip concludes.

Changing mentality

Minister Lydia Peeters: “Speeding remains a problem in Flanders. Speed increases the risk of an accident and the consequences of it. The faster you drive, the more severe the impact, and the higher the risk for serious injuries.” International studies indicate that one-third of fatal accidents are speed-related.

The good news, however, is that mentality is changing. According to a recent survey among Flemish drivers (between 18 and 54), 70% say they think it’s important to respect imposed speed limits. Nine out of ten Flemish car drivers are convinced that speed limits are useful.

Risk perception

Still, one-quarter of them does not consistently respect them. Especially male drivers younger than 45 often are speed merchants. Those who don’t respect the limits in the first place have the impression of losing time.

In 2020, 40% of drivers considered themselves capable of exceeding speed limits without jeopardizing other people’s lives. Meanwhile, this figure declined to 28%. Apparently, risk perception has evolved in a positive way.

Overconfident drivers

According to Minister Peeters, the attitude of Flemish drivers is changing slowly but surely. However, more than one-quarter of motorists still consider themselves better drivers than others, being perfectly capable of driving faster than allowed without causing risks. The new campaign emphasizes the usefulness of speed limits: driving (too) fast reduces your view on the road.

“The faster you drive, the more information you have to process,” Minister Peeters explains. “So, you automatically start focusing on the center field of vision, and, thereby overlook possible crucial elements, like an approaching pedestrian. Speeding indeed increases the risk of accidents.”

 

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