- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
Driver filmed doing 215km/h in Brussels tunnel
A motorist was filmed driving at speeds over 200km/h in a Brussels road tunnel on the night of 31 October.
The video had been making the rounds on social media before being brought to the attention of French-language news outlet RTL, whose readers had reported it.
“Up to 215km/h in the tunnels is criminal,” one reader told the outlet. “It would be easy enough for the police to find the culprit, if they took an hour to review footage from the cameras in the tunnel.”
The reader said he already contacted the police to report the behaviour, but had yet to receive a response.
The director of traffic services for the Brussels-Ixelles police zone, Thierry Vandenhoute, said members of the public do have the option to pass information along to authorities when they come across footage of criminal behaviour on social media, but that prosecuting such crimes is complicated.
"People can denounce the facts and file a complaint but it will be up to the police to view the images and determine whether there are any exploitable elements that would allow the identification of the offender," Vandenhoute said.
"In this video in question, it is quite complicated to identify the offender. We know that he is driving at more than 200km/h in the Brussels tunnels. Apart from that, there are no other elements."
While serious crimes could entitle authorities to carry out searches with the social media platform on which the footage was posted, Vandenhoute said that speeding offences would be unlikely to help officers “get the necessary warrants”.
If police are able to identify offenders from the footage alone, a report is created.
“The public prosecutor will prosecute and it will be up to the police court judge to decide on the fine,” said Vandenhoute.
“Obviously, driving at 200 km/h in the Brussels region, I think the fine will be high and in any case accompanied by a disqualification of the right to drive which should be quite substantial.”
Vandenhoute said that the Brussels-Ixelles police zone regularly receives reports of videos in which motorists are seen speeding.
“In the last six months, we have received at least three reports, but each time with little or no useable material – often short videos,” Vandenhoute said.
Benoît Godart, spokesperson for Belgium’s road safety institute Vias, nevertheless encourages people who come across such videos to report them immediately.
“There have been cases before in the past,” Godart explained, adding that it is indeed the role of police to identify the driver.
“Often, drivers of this type are not necessarily very discreet. We know that since the Strépy-Bracquegnies tragedy, there are some people who take the public highway for a race track. This is obviously very dangerous, because they drive alongside people who respect the speed limit, depending on the tunnel.”
The danger is magnified in this situation, Godart explained, as it makes it harder for drivers to react to speeders overtaking them.
“It's a pity that in 2022, we're still seeing these kinds of videos,” Godart said. “This type of behaviour has no place on the public highway.”
Godart added that while social networks may give the impression that there are more of such high speeders on the road, this does not necessarily mean that the number of reckless drivers has increased, but rather their visibility has.
Vias does not collect statistics on the number of reports made regarding speeding instances captured or broadcast on social networks, but Godart said that “this phenomenon has tended to increase in recent years”.
Drivers caught driving recklessly face a loss of driving rights (from eight days to five years or even for life), a fine (€208 to €4,000) and risk of imprisonment (eight days to two months).