Tougher penalties for hooligan road users

Members from the ruling coalition parties PvDA and VVD want to introduce increased penalties, and even imprisonment, for "hooligan drivers" who repeatedly break road rules.

In presenting the plan to Parliament, PvDA Attje Kuiken said that there needs to be an end to the anti-social behaviour of drivers who continually demonstrate no respect for rules or other users.

"We must stop these hooligans from always getting away with a relatively light sentence and returning to re-offend," she said.

The instigators want to introduce a "progressive penal system," where the fine for a first offence is relatively lenient, but increases with each new violation. If after increased fines the motorist is still breaking the law, they may have their licence taken away or be sent to prison.

Accoring to Kuiken, this system is better than a points system, such as that used in other counties.

"Anyone can make a mistake," she said. "I don’t want the vast majority punished for the misconduct of a few."

Hooligan drivers

The offences targeted by this plan included driving too fast in residential areas, drunk driving, tailgating and ignoring traffic lights. Recent research has shown that a single group of drives, around 0,1 per cent of all road users, are responsible for 6 per cent of all accidents.

The Foundation for Road Safety Research (SWOV) recently called for exactly this sort of penal system with fines. Their researchers found that such a system would make anti-social road users adjust their behaviour more quickly.

A poll of 8.000 people on AD showed that 80 per cent were in favour of higher penalties for repeat offenders.

Customised scooters

Kuiken had asked the Minister for Security and Justice Ivo Opstelten to increase the fine for people who customise their scooters.

She does not think it right that people on a souped-up scooter get a lower penalty than moped riders for speeding. For safety reasons, she said, it would be better to increase the financial penalty.

Opstelten said he was surprised at the current relatively low penalty for hotting-up a scooter.

He plans to discuss with the Public Prosecution Service under which circumstances, if any, scooters can be customised.

The problem of road safety does not only lie with power vehicles, however: the government has also recently targeted bike riders who text while cycling.

Sources: Trouw, Nu, AD


Alexandra Gowling


Alexandra Gowling

Alexandra is an Australian citizen and an experienced expat, having spent (quite a bit of) time in Asia before coming to the Netherlands a year ago. She enjoys writing, reading...

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