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Aalter is near the E40, the highway connecting Liege, Brussels and Oostende

Belgian town will donate cash from speeding tickets to help traffic accident victims

Belgian town will donate cash from speeding tickets to help traffic accident victims

According to the mayor, the Municipality of Aalter does not need the money – but victims’ families do

Recently, the Belgian town of Aalter announced that starting 2022, they will divert all proceeds from traffic tickets to charity funds dedicated to helping traffic victims. Aalter is located near the main road from Brussels to Bruges and Oostende on the coast and it sees a lot of traffic.

With the start of the 2021 school year, the municipality instituted a low-speed zone of 30 kilometres per hour in the urban area. The move has provoked criticism claiming that the low-speed zone is just there to fill the municipal coffers with unreasonable fines.

According to Mayor Pieter De Crem, though, Aalter does not need the money. In an interview for the VRT, he explained that all the revenue will be best spent on awareness campaigns and help for victims. Charity organisations dedicated to this issue, in particular, have the expertise to use the funds.

Helping traffic victims

The two organisations Mayor De Crem named were the Emilie Leus Fund and the Ouders van Overleden Slachtoffers (loose translation: The fund for parents of victims). Both funds have a long track record of road safety awareness campaigns, as well as material and mental health support for parents.

The Emilie Leus Fund, for instance, was born from a tragic accident in 2009, when an inexperienced driver collided with four cyclists. Three of the cyclists perished, and the accident became national news in Belgium and more than 1,700 people attended Emilie Leus’ funeral (one of the victims). The organisation itself was started by her parents as a way to keep her memory alive and offer support for other victims and parents.

Mayor Pieter De Crem doubled down when defending the low-speed zone, explaining that the point of the fines was to increase road safety, not to collect money. He said that the organisations in question have unique experience in the matter and the increased revenue will help them reach more people and have a greater impact on road safety.

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