Compulsory driving course 6 months after passing test

From 1 July Flemings will be obliged to take a driving course six month after having passed their driving test. The course will last half a day and will consist of a group discussion and a driving skills course in an enclosed are.

The Flemish Transport Minister Ben Weyts (nationalist) hopes that the new measures will make for safer roads and reduce the number of road traffic deaths and injuries.

"Young drivers are relatively over-represented in the accident statistics. Once young people have gained a couple of months’ driving experience they tend to overestimate their own ability and underestimate the risks. This is why we would like to call them back after 6 months for an extra half-day course. They won’t have to take another test, we just want them to come out of it a better driver. In Austria this has led to a fall in the number of traffic fatalities", Mr Weyts said.

The Flemish Government still hasn’t given any details about what the half day course will entail. Jeroen Smeesters of Federdrive, the federation of driving schools and training centres believes there are plenty of possibilities. Youngsters could for example sit together in a group and exchange experiences. Another part of the course would take place on an enclosed test track where road traffic killers such speed, alcohol and distractions from for example smart phones could be highlighted.

"We could for example let the youngsters swerve while they were trying to send a message on their smartphone. This would enable them to see at first-hand what the consequences are of letting you attention slip for a few seconds”.

The extra course will probably cost around 100 euro. Those not turning up will face fines of up to 4,000 euro.

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