Anyone who drives through Belgium may have seen the strange prohibition sign for the use of cruise control. And yes, it does indeed mean that after passing that sign you have to turn off cruise control. The Belgian transport minister announced this week that the ban, and thus also this unique road sign for Belgium, will be lifted.
The ban applied in particular to road sections where road work was carried out and in some places where traffic regularly suffered from congestion due to crowds. The intention of the cruise control ban was to limit the chance of collisions by oncoming traffic.
It would not be the first time that the ‘last’ car in a traffic jam is driven total loss by an inattentive fellow road user who hums with 80 or 100 on the cruise control over the asphalt.
The fact that the ban is now lifted may mean that all Belgians adhere to the rules neatly, or that the ban had no effect. Well, it doesn’t mean that. No, firstly, the minister of Transport has had to admit that the enforcement of the ban has proved almost impossible. In addition, progressive technology also plays a role. Today, more and more – albeit newer-cars are equipped with adaptive cruise control. It ‘himself’ ensures that the car brakes if the traffic does the same for him.
In short, we cannot control it and have been overtaken by technology. The ban on the use of cruise control was unique to Belgium. In the whole world, as far as is known, there was no other country where this ban existed.
Incidentally, there are still occasional votes, not only in Belgium, for a total ban on the use of cruise control. A discussion that could flare up again in the coming years, with the advent of more and more ‘self-driving’ driver assistance systems. Those systems, as research by the ‘American ANWB’ also showed, are far from ready for the general public.