Vias: ‘7% fewer road deaths in Belgium in 2023’

According to Vias’ latest traffic safety barometer, based on figures from the federal police, there were 7% fewer road deaths last year than in 2022. Last year, 483 people died in traffic, compared to 520 in 2022. The Vias Institute is a Belgian knowledge center that aims to improve road safety, mobility, and social safety.

Injury accidents and injured people decreased slightly by 2% – a positive trend. A possible explanation is the increase in section checks and the abolition of tolerance margins for certain speed checks.

Also, the new safety measures for e-scooters have contributed. Since the introduction of the measures, E-scooters have been forbidden on public roads for minors under the age of 16. Those 16 or older must ride on the bikeway, just like in many other European cities. One person may only use the vehicle and is not allowed on footways.

Best result in Brussels

The strongest drop in road deaths can be seen in Brussels, where the number of fatalities fell from 21 to 5 in one year. In Wallonia, road deaths fell from 228 to 217 (-5%), and in Flanders, from 271 to 261 (-4%).

The number of road deaths has fallen sharply in Limburg, from 49 to 33, the lowest number ever. In the other provinces, we see a mixed picture: an increase in Antwerp (from 65 to 70), a decrease in West Flanders (from 63 to 58).

The number of fatalities is highest among cyclists and people involved in accidents with vans. A positive aspect is the decrease in road deaths among motorcyclists, from 65 to 49. The number of motorcyclist deaths has never been so low.

‘Tragical Thursday’

Slightly more than one-third (35%) of traffic fatalities in 2023 were pedestrians or cyclists. Nearly one in two cyclists (44%) died riding an electric bicycle. In Flanders, the number of cycling deaths increased from 73 to 84, the highest number in the last twenty years.

Another worrying trend is the high number of traffic fatalities on weeknights – four times out of ten on Thursday night. That number has almost doubled in one year: 69 road deaths in 2023 compared to 36 in 2022.

Life-saving measures

Despite some worrying figures, Minister Gilkinet is satisfied with the traffic barometer’s results. “The measures taken since the start of the legislature – new rules for scooters, reinforced measures against excessive speed, alcohol, and distraction behind the wheel – are gradually bearing fruit. They save lives.”


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