Minister Blok to raise the sentence for serious traffic offences

Minister Blok of Security and Justice is preparing legislation that will raise the maximum sentence for a number of serious traffic offences. This according to a letter that he presented to the House of Representatives today. The offences in question are driving under the influence, failure to stop after causing an accident, driving without a valid driver's license and dangerous driving without serious consequences. Furthermore, the proposal will amend the interpretation of the concept of recklessness as referred to in the Road Traffic Act 1994 (WVW 1994), so that more instances of reckless driving can be punished. Finally, Minister Blok wishes to allow the police increased investigative authority in situations where a driver has failed to stop after causing an accident that resulted in injury or worse.

In drafting these amendments, the Minister will be guided by the results of a study conducted by the University of Groningen. This study was commissioned by the Ministry of Security and Justice's Research and Documentation Centre (WODC). Minister Blok considers the study to be of great value, as it offers a clear picture of the penalties imposed for serious traffic offences. The measures that Minister Blok will be taking address the points of improvement that were identified by the researchers.

Besides these points of improvement, an important observation made by the researchers is that the overall level of punishment is adequate and that, in accordance with the legislator's intent, the duration and severity of the sentence increase in proportion to the severity of the traffic offence and the gravity of the resulting injuries.