Geraardsbergen/Lierde. In the past summer months, not only did the temperatures rise to unprecedented heights. The complaints to the Geraardsbergen/Lierde police about street racers and disco cars were also considerable. These so-called ‘buffs’ disturb the peace with their roaring exhausts and loud music. The police want to put a stop to this disturbing macho behavior and will take even stricter action. ‘If you are caught, you risk having your driving license revoked or having the vehicle impounded‘ said Chief of Police Patrice De Mets.
‘Accelerating or braking extra hard, driving with excessively loud exhaust or music through the street, unnecessary horn… these are just a few examples of irresponsible driving behaviour. These drivers want to stand out and so their show behavior mainly happens in places with a lot of spectators such as the market or the center. It not only causes nuisance, because of the very loud music they no longer hear anything from the surrounding traffic at the wheel, which also jeopardizes road safety.‘, says police chief Patrice De Mets.
Contrary to highway code and police regulations
Drivers who use such driving style are not only in violation of the traffic regulations. Also in the general police regulations (Geraardsbergen/Lierde) there are a number of articles that clearly state that this is prohibited (Section 8 – Noise pollution):
‘This showy behavior is a major source of annoyance for many residents. The word ‘muffler terror’ is not an exaggeration. When you, as a citizen, are confronted with constant noise both during the day and at night from cars racing through your street and drivers who turn the music so loud that your windows vibrate, do you have enough of that in the long run. I have therefore instructed the police to check even more strictly for this type of traffic nuisance!’ said Mayor Guido De Padt (Open Vld). Mayor Jurgen Soetens van Lierde wholeheartedly agrees.
Twelve official reports and one vehicle seized
The fact that the Geraardsbergen/Lierde police have already specifically checked for showy behavior is clearly visible in the figures. From mid-2021 to mid-2022, 12 official reports regarding muffler terror and boomcars were drawn up. One vehicle was also effectively seized after contacting the public prosecutor’s office.
‘Since road safety and combating nuisance in traffic are one of the strategic objectives of our Zonal Safety Plan, we will continue to focus strongly on thorough checks in the future to put a stop to this behaviour. For example, we will have anonymous HIT teams patrolling with our ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) vehicle on a weekly basis. Our motards and traffic service will also be deployed extra. All this to catch and verbalize drivers – who rage through the streets with a lot of noise – in the act’, says chief constable De Mets resolutely.
Look before you start: heavy sanctions
Drivers who want to stand out with their ‘show car’ often turn out to be behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In addition, they usually have a lot of other violations to report when they are checked (no insurance/inspection, ignoring red light,…). At that moment, the public prosecutor’s office is contacted, resulting in a seizure of the vehicle or a withdrawal of the driver’s license. These vehicles can also be sent to the technical inspection again.