Axelle, Philippe, Olivier, Timmy, Romina, Corwin, Nathan and Laetitia: these are the names of eight Belgian children and young people who died in recent years after being hit by a drunken driver. As of this weekend, motorists who are caught at an alcohol check in Belgium are getting too much booze on a key chain with the name of one of the young victims.
The action is part of a campaign by the organisation Parents of Accident Children and the Belgian Institute for Road Safety Vias. With the keychains, which look the same as the well-known yellow Bob copies, they want to warn against the consequences of alcohol behind the wheel. Drivers who are given a keychain with the name of a child who has been killed can turn them in for a VIAS course on the consequences of alcohol on driving behaviour.
Extra many beverage controls
The first key chains have already been handed out during the Christmas holidays, the rest will follow from tomorrow evening. Then in Belgium the ‘weekend without alcohol behind the wheel ‘starts, an annual initiative in which the police carry out extra many drinks checks.
According to traffic institute Vias, drivers involved in an injury accident have an average of 1.7 per mille alcohol in their blood. For comparison, experienced motorists are not allowed to go on the road with more than 0.5 per mille in their blood. That amounts to about two glasses of alcohol.
Under the influence of drugs
In Belgium, the number of accidents involving drinking has fallen by about 20 percent over the past ten years. Nevertheless, motorists who drank too much in 2019 caused 4106 accidents, says Vias.
In the Netherlands, the number of deaths caused by alcohol in traffic increased significantly between 2016 and 2019. There were also more accidents during that period, in which booze was involved: in 2018 it was 2731 accidents. The police mentioned this increase striking, because the trend in the years before was precisely that there was less alcohol in traffic.
The number of motorists who were under the influence of drugs has also fled in recent years. At the beginning of 2020, about a thousand “drug drivers” were held every month, almost as much as the number of motorists caught under the influence of booze.