Bellot wants prison cell for ‘cowardly’ hit-and-run drivers
Transport and Mobility Minister François Bellot (MR) confirms that his new anti-reckless drivers plan will be applied in 2018. Caught hit-and-run drivers will encounter a prison sentence of at least 2 years.
“The draft that we wrote with my colleague from Justice Koen Geens (CD&V), has returned from the State Council with minor adaptations to be made. It will go for a second reading and will be put up for parliament as soon as possible”, explains François Bellot, “we hope that it will be voted by the last semester and be put in place in the first months of 2018”.
Harsher drunk driving sentences
In the new plan, judges will be forced to impose an alcohol-lock to a drunk drivers’ car, when more than 1,8 g of alcohol per litre of blood is tested. That represents 10 to 12 beers in a 2 hour time span for a normal person. This sentence will also be applied to offenders caught twice with more than 1,2 g and the fines could go as high as € 6.000.
The offender can also choose to turn in his driving licence for 1 to 3 years, the period the alcohol lock would otherwise be enforced. But he will have to pass all his driving tests again afterwards. “The message is to make people aware that driving and drinking are incompatible”, adds the minister.
Prison for hit-and-run
In the case of hit-and-run drivers, the text provides a sentence of 2 to 4 years if the victim dies or is seriously injured. “We really want cowards to go to prison if they killed or seriously injured someone”, explains minister Bellot.
Hit-and-run happens in 13% of accidents and one out of three times the driver is caught. The plan also stipulates that offenders committing a serious traffic offense such as driving without a licence or insurance, can get a two-year prison sentence. Repeating offenders will get even heavier punishment.
Lease car companies will have to provide a list of all their car drivers to the authorities to help them identify offenders more quickly. If the company doesn’t want to reveal the identity of the driver, its main responsible will be held accountable and get the punishment instead.