Belgium wants to criminalize street racing glorification on social media
Social media is full of images of cars racing down the road at extremely high speeds, shot from the driver's perspective. Now Belgian Federal Minister of Mobility Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo) wants to criminalize these "glorification" of street racing through videos on social networks. The Brussels and Antwerp police call such behaviour "a major threat to road safety".
Gilkinet has presented a proposal to fine up to 1,000 euros or the withdrawal of the driver's license for up to one year. Drivers and passengers could be penalized if they share images of cars that "drive on public roads at too high speed or undoubtedly endanger the safety of other road users".
Last year, a 34-year-old driver drove into a group of carnivalists in the Walloon village of Strépy killing six people. He was filming his ride with his smartphone and drove 150 kilometers per hour in built-up areas. The Brussels Heysel plain has also been struggling with the problem for several years now.
"With their vehicles, rodeo riders want to show at the weekend how important they are," says Ilse Van de Keere of the Brussels-Capital-Ixelles police zone to the Belgian newspaper De Standaard. "Many street racers copy what they see others do, but don't realize that they can destroy someone else's life that way," she added.
The new regulations should be ready by the end of this year. Gilkinet acknowledges that "perpetrators of such offenses are difficult to identify" and "prosecution can be difficult." Besides, often they have anonymous accounts, which do not necessarily have a link with Belgium.
Another proposal put on the table by the Minister of Mobility concerns the driver's license with points. Mobility experts highlight this measure already exists in almost all neighboring countries and have been asking for the same the last thirty years. However, the idea promises to remain a dead letter once again this legislature, since the political parties PS and MR do not support it for the moment.