Concerns over zero tolerance blood-alcohol for young drivers

Summary

Flanders’ mobility minister would like to see a different system for punishing drink-drivers than the current federal plan to lower the blood alcohol limit for new drivers

Do you agree with the proposal to lower the blood-alcohol limit to .02% for new drivers?

Wrong target group?

Flemish mobility minister Ben Weyts has spoken out against federal mobility minister Jacqueline Galant’s proposal to lower the blood-alcohol limit for newly licenced drivers to 0.02%, introducing an effective zero tolerance.

Galant intends to introduce the new limit in mid-2016 in response to figures showing that drivers aged 18 to 25 are eight times more likely to have a serious accident than older drivers. They are also more susceptible to alcohol in the blood. An age limit on alcohol levels could be in breach of discrimination laws, however, so the measure would apply to anyone possessing a driving licence for less than three years.

The current limit of 0.05% allows the consumption of one or possibly two (depending on the individual) beers with lower alcohol contents. A level of 0.02% would be exceeded by even one glass.

Weyts argues that a driving licence with a penalty points system would be more effective in combating drink-driving. Galant’s proposal, he says, targets younger drivers, while the biggest risk group is those aged 35 to 50. The points system would be consistent: the same rules and penalties for all drivers for the same offence. “Tough but fair for everyone,” he said.

Photo: Ilya Naymushin/Reuters/Corbis

Traffic in Flanders

Thousands of commuters and foreigners pass through Brussels and Flanders each day, and the two regions have suffered from heavily congested traffic and long and frequent traffic jams for years – with no end seemingly in sight.
Record - According to the 2013 report from traffic information platform Inrix, Brussels and Antwerp have the most traffic congestion of any city in Europe and North America.
Calendar - October is the worst month of the year for traffic jams.
Causes - Year after year, heavy snowfall and railway strikes lead to monster traffic jams. Heavy congestion, infrastructure works and multi-lane accidents cause the more ordinary daily tailbacks.
1 285

largest area covered in traffic ever recorded in Belgium in kilometres

70

time Antwerp drivers spend in gridlock per year in hours

10 000

traffic diversions in Flanders per year