Protesting police promise fine-free week
Traffic offences including driving without a seat belt and illegal parking will be overlooked this week as police protest against the proposed raising of the retirement age
Solution promised by Friday
Among the offences that will be ignored are failing to wear a seat belt, using a mobile phone while driving and illegal parking. Serious offences, such as speeding and driving under the influence, will continue to be treated normally.
Police are protesting because of a ruling by the Constitutional Court that set the minimum retirement age for police officers at 62, declaring an agreement more than a decade old to be discriminatory. Police unions are looking for a commitment from government negotiators that the incoming coalition will pass legislation to give them back the status they had before.
After a meeting last week with the four main unions, formateurs Kris Peeters and Charles Michel promised to work out a solution to the problem by this Friday. If the fine-free week does not produce a clear signal from negotiators, unions promise further protest action.
One possibility is a strike during the planned speed-trap marathon planned for 10 October. On that day, police zones across the country plan 24 hours of intensive speed checks. A marathon in April caught more than 20,000 speeding motorists.
The Belgian Institute for Road Safety (BIVV) said that motorists should continue to drive carefully even if there is no threat of a fine. “The announcement from the police that they will not be writing tickets for traffic offences doesn’t mean a free-for-all for drivers,” said the BIVV’s Koen Peeters. “We would ask everyone to make a special effort to stick to the rules.”
Photo courtesy bert76/Wikimedia