Record number of traffic fines for De Lijn, accounting for over €173 000

The business newspaper De Tijd reports that drivers of the Flemish public transport company De Lijn received a record number and amount of traffic fines last year. Altogether, 2,531 traffic violations were recorded, accounting for a fine amount of over 173,000 euros. Compared with 2022, the previous record year, the number of offenses recorded is almost 17% higher.

However, a bus driver who is fined usually does not have to pay it himself. Last year, some 118,000 euros of De Lijn’s operating fund flowed into fines.

Worrying trend

“It is not abnormal for drivers to once commit an offense on the many hundreds of thousands of kilometers they travel,” Flemish MP Orry Van de Wauwer (CD&V) says of the figures that he and colleague Sofie Mertens requested from Flemish Mobility Minister Lydia Peeters (Open VLD). “But a doubling of fines compared to 2019 is worrying and should not be accepted. A driver of De Lijn should set an example on the road.”

In more than nine out of 10 cases, speeding is the reason for the fine. The number of minor offences—speeding less than 10 km/h after correction—is rising sharply. The pressure on drivers to meet their time schedule also plays a big role here, considering that traffic always gets denser.

In addition to the more than 2,300 speeding fines, 79 drivers were caught driving through a red light. Another 28 fines came for using a mobile phone behind the wheel. Compared to previous years, that figure is noticeably lower.

De Lijn paid €118,000 in fines

However, a bus driver who receives a fine usually does not have to pay it himself. Only in case of repeated offenses does De Lijn recover the fine from the driver. In 2023, the transport company was responsible for 68% of all traffic fines issued. Some €118,000 of De Lijn’s operating funds flowed into fines.

Due to varying agreements, there are significant regional differences in the share that drivers must bear. In the cities of Antwerp and Ghent or the Kortrijk-Bruges region, drivers pay less than 20% of fines last year.

Elsewhere in the province of Antwerp, it is barely 11%. By contrast, drivers pay more than a third in the rest of East Flanders, Brussels, and the Flemish Periphery. In Limburg, drivers must cough up about half of the fines themselves.

Additional speed cameras are doing their job

Minister Peeters stresses that De Lijn is strongly committed to increasing road safety, both in training and in-service training for drivers. “The speed limit is the safety limit, and all drivers should realize that. Even a little speeding can be extremely dangerous,” the Open-VLD politician says.

At the same time, De Lijn drivers are following a trend that manifests itself across Flanders and Belgium: 2023 was generally a record year for traffic violations. The additional 30 Zones, lowering of the tolerance limit, and extra speed cameras play a role in this.

Statistics from the federal police show that Flanders, which has installed many more speed checks, signed for as much as 72% of the speed fines issued in the first half of 2023.

Experts say stricter speed checks are urgently needed. In 2022, 540 people lost their lives on Belgian roads. Last year, there were 483. This means Belgium is doing a lot worse than neighboring countries.


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