Flanders needs to invest more in traffic safety, says Imob

Summary

Flanders has some specific traffic phenomena that are stalling the decrease in road victims, says the Institute for Mobility, including a large percentage of young drivers and a prevalence of cyclists

Alcohol and speeding

To significantly reduce the number of victims of traffic accidents, Flanders has to improve its efforts in traffic safety, according to a new report released by the Institute for Mobility (Imob) at Hasselt University. The report is the basis for the new Traffic Safety Plan that mobility minister Ben Weyts wants to have ready by the end of the year.

Figures show that Flanders has made major progress in traffic safety over the last two decades. In the period between 2001 and 2013, there was a decrease of 51% in the number of traffic deaths. This decrease has stalled in the last couple of years, and there was even an increase in 2014.

The statistics confirm specific phenomena in Flanders, such as an over-representation of young drivers, among the victims. Imob also pointed out that a shocking 82% of the dead and wounded victims of traffic accidents in cities, are “vulnerable road users” – pedestrians, cyclists and car passengers – rather than drivers. Outside city limits, this number drops to 38%. 

In 2013, Flanders formulated an ambitious programme of goals to be achieved by 2030. The number of traffic deaths, according to the plan, should be lower than 133 and the number of seriously wounded lower than 1,000 annually. In 2013, there were 384 deaths and nearly 3,000 seriously wounded.

Imob proposes a traffic safety campaign focused on motorcyclists during the summer months, elderly cyclists and pedestrians in the inner city and young male drivers, particularly in the weekend. Alcohol and speed are mentioned as major risk factors among the young male group.

Photo by Tijmen Maessen and Wietse Lemmens / C.H.I.P.S. StampMedia 

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