The Belgian driver still has a foot that is too heavy. For example, over half (55%) drive too fast in built-up areas at least once a month. One Belgian in four also uses his cell phone behind the wheel.
E-step users are also indifferent. Half of Belgians (49%) say they have driven two on such a vehicle in the past month, while almost half (46%) admit sometimes driving through a red light. This is according to Vias’ European ESRA survey that compares the behavior and attitudes of road users in 22 European countries.
In general, Belgians score worse than the European average regarding respecting speed on highways and in built-up areas. For example, 57% of Belgians say they sometimes drive faster than the maximum permitted freeway speed every month – the European average is 50%.
Belgians also often drive too fast in built-up areas: 55% drive too fast at least once a month, compared to the European average of 48%. However, the chances of being caught locally are high due to additional route controls.
Distraction caused by cell phone use behind the wheel remains a problem throughout Europe. One in four Belgians surveyed admits to occasionally reading a message or checking social media while driving.
In doing so, Belgians are doing as poorly as the rest of European drivers. In the past month, one in five Belgian drivers made a phone call with their cell phone in their hand. The European average is even slightly higher at 25%.
Driving under the influence of medication
Belgium is also in the top three of the lowest-scoring European countries regarding taking medication while driving. For example, 19% of Belgians state that they have driven at least two hours after taking medication, which can impact their ability to drive. Vias has been requesting for some time that the medicine packaging be color-coded to indicate the potential impact of the medication on driving ability.
When it comes to drugs, Belgians are not doing so well either. One in eight drivers (13%) drive one hour after taking illegal drugs. This is slightly higher than the European average, at 11%.
Still often two on an e-scooter
As for e-scooter users, almost half (46%) of Belgians say they sometimes drive through a red light, and another half (49%) admit to having driven two-on-one in the past month. This makes Belgium score worse than the European average, at 38% and 34%, respectively. Some 61% also occasionally drive on a footpath, even though that has been explicitly prohibited in the Highway Code since July of last year.
It also appears that 40% of e-step users have driven around at least once in the past month while they had too much to drink. Vias points out that the legal alcohol limit of 0,5% also applies when riding an e-step. The number of accidents involving e-scooters has exploded in recent years.
ESRA is a large-scale survey in 39 countries worldwide, including 22 countries from Europe. The same questionnaire is submitted to a representative sample of at least a thousand road users in all those countries. In Belgium, two thousand people participated.