Reporters

Man gets lifetime driving ban for 23rd time, and now also a prison sentence

A 45-year-old man from Zonhoven had received a lifelong driving ban 22 times, but flouted the ban on each occasion. Now, after getting caught a 23rd time, he will also get a prison sentence. 

The man was caught drink-driving by police, and at the same time he had used energy-boosting amphetamines. He got a lifelong driving ban (again), but this time also a prison sentence. The man needs to pay a fine of 8,000 euros and his girlfriend's car - which he was using when he was caught red-handed - will be confiscated. 

It remains a small group, but unfortunately the group of people who just ignore a driving ban, is growing. "In fact, we should take action more quickly", says traffic psychologist Ludo Kluppels of the road safety organisation VIAS Institute. He refused to comment on this particular case, but said that people should receive counselling from the second or third offence. "Why don't they stick to the rules? Why are these rules important? And what will we do to make sure he or she will not ignore the rules again? If you tackle these issues, there is a bigger chance that things will improve." 

In theory, one can get a two-year prison sentence when caught driving when a ban applies, but this punishment is (almost) never inflicted. "For me, this shouldn't happen at a first or second flouting of the ban, but from a third time it's a good idea."