In the first edition of a new regular feature, Road Safety News explores the latest headlines from across Europe – courtesy of TISPOL.
Every fortnight, TISPOL – the European Traffic Police Network – publishes a news bulletin highlighting the latest initiatives, campaigns and laws from around the continent.
The latest edition, published on 17 July, features a new mobile phone detection system recently launched in Norfolk – as well as stories from Belgium, Spain and Germany.
In Belgium, alcohol interlocks became mandatory for high-level and repeat drink-drive offenders from 1 July.
Previously, the alcohol interlock requirement was a ‘little-used legal option’, but it has now become mandatory in most cases.
According to research cited by the Belgian Government, reoffending is reduced by 75% for drink drivers who have an alcohol interlock installed in their vehicle, and follow the accompanying rehabilitation programme.
Elsewhere, Spanish authorities have announced plans to increase penalties for drivers caught using a mobile phone at the wheel.
Pere Navarro, the new head of Spain’s national traffic authority (DGT), announced plans to stiffen the penalties for the offence on 12 July.
Mr Navarro says the time has come to revamp Spain’s point-based driving license – subtracting more points for recurring and dangerous traffic violations, such as using a mobile phone at the wheel.
Mr Navarro told the El Pais newspaper: “We’re going to update the point-based license. After 12 years, my own roadmap says we need to stop, take stock and use our accumulated experience to update and review the system.”
Finally, Germany’s transport minister, Andreas Scheuer, has expressed his desire to see trucks fitted with compulsory ‘blind spot’ safety systems to prevent pedestrians and cyclists from being killed.
Mr Scheuer says properly arranged mirrors normally ensure that a truck driver can see all areas in front of and beside their vehicle – however a series of fatal collisions in recent months has strengthened calls from road safety activists for more stringent measures.
Mr Scheuer now plans to meet with truck manufacturers, freight companies, cycling advocates and police to discuss the use of sensors to aid drivers.