Belgian courts may force people who commit serious traffic offenses to take a reintegration course from 2024. The aim is to reduce the risk of recidivism, which is currently very high.
“It is necessary to take effective long-term measures to correct this dangerous behavior behind the wheel,” says federal Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo). He wants special attention to repeat offenders, “known to be involved in one accident in three in Belgium”.
Course more effective than fine
Figures from traffic institute Vias show that 86% of people sentenced to a driving ban are later re-convicted. To deal with or redirect those thick-headed drivers, the judge may require someone convicted of a serious traffic offense to attend a reintegration course as a discussion group starting next year.
According to the minister’s office, research shows that a course is more effective than a fine. The risk of recidivism for drivers who have received such training is almost 50% lower than for drivers who were fined.
Small talk groups
The courses will cost 250 to 350 euros, but the court may decide to deduct that cost from the fines imposed for such traffic offenses. Different modules have been developed for the education program to link the training to offenses like speeding, drunk driving, and smartphone use behind the wheel.
Specifically, the courses take place in small groups of ten to twelve people and are delivered by independent organizations recognized by FPS Mobility. It involves two four-hour sessions. The course comes instead of, or in addition to, retaking driving tests.
Once the courses are set up throughout the country, an information campaign will be organized for all magistrates to inform them better about these options. Every year, 130 000 people have their driving licenses revoked in Belgium.