Section speed checks spread rapidly along Flemish roads

Summary

More than 30 sectional speed cameras were installed along roads in Flanders at the weekend, and more are on the way

‘Fairer’ for motorists

The number of section speed checks on Flemish roads is growing rapidly, with 34 new locations along regional roads activated over the weekend. This brings the total to 55, including two stretches of motorway.

In contrast to conventional speed checks, which register a driver’s speed at a single point, section – or trajectory­ – checks register speed over an extended length of road. According to mobility minister Ben Weyts, this approach is both fairer and more effective.

“You are not caught on the basis of a snapshot,” he explained. “You will only get a fine if you keep driving too fast over longer distances. And section control is a very efficient way to avoid traffic accidents based on excessive speed.”

The number of accidents – particularly serious accidents – falls spectacularly when section checks are introduced, according to road safety institute Vias. While conventional speed checks reduce accidents by 20%, section checks cut them by 30%. Incidents resulting in serious injury or fatality decline by a whopping 56%.

Public support

There is also a more general improvement in driver behaviour. Taking the 7km section check on the E40 between Wetteren and Erpe-Mere as an example, Vias says that average speed fell by 5km/h and the number speeding violations by 71% once the check was in place.

A similar effect on speed was found before and after the section control, with traffic flowing more evenly and drivers changing lanes less frequently. The simple explanation is that drivers slow down for a single speed camera and then return to their original way of driving, while a section check prompts them to modify their driving behaviour.

Trajectory speed checks are also supported by the public, according to research by motoring organisation VAB, also released over the weekend. A survey found that 75% of Flanders’ residents thought trajectory checks were a fair way of assessing speed on motorways, and 52% favoured them on local roads. Some 55% also said the measures made traffic flow smoother and reduced congestion.

The locations of the new section checks can be found on Weyts’ website. Another 70 locations on regional roads will follow in the next year, along with 40 motorway locations.

Photo: A test carried out on the E40 found that speeding offences plummeted by 71% following the introduction of trajectory speed cameras

©Jasper Jacobs/BELGA