Report numberRA-2004-23
TitleLaw and economics theory of traffic liability and regulation
AuthorsLiesbet Deben
Lode Vereeck
Published byPolicy Research Centre for Traffic Safety 2002-2006
Number of pages126
Document languageDutch
Partner(s)LUC (nu UHasselt)
Work packageOther: Hanhaving en beleid

Due to the high number of traffic deaths on Belgian roads, an investigation is carried out concerning the organisation of liability rules in order to reduce the number of casualties. Whereas the emphasis of the measures taken by government lies at the protection of the weak traffic participants, the starting point of the exploration is the contribution of economic efficient liability rules towards the ultimate aim of the government, namely a reduction of 50 percent of traffic deaths by the jear 2010. The main question the analysis seeks to answer is whether the liability rules in their current lay out are indeed efficient.  Herefore both a juridical and economic analysis is performed. After the analysis of the liability legislation in criminal and civil law, for both systems an economic analysis is executed in order to allow a conclusion concerning the efficiency of the applied rules.


The results of the investigation point out that not every enacted liability rule is efficient. In particular article 29bis WAM, that makes use of a strict liability rule, qualifies for an adaptation from an economic point of view. The issue of the presence of other relevant factors a government has to deal with is not taken into consideration because this was not the aim of the investigation. Subsequently, the work provides for a number of recommendations to improve the economic efficiency of the legislation. Goverment can take these suggestions in their overall assessment as to improve the current traffic situation.

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The Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety carries out policy relevant scientific research under the authority of the Flemish Government. The Centre is the result of a

cooperation between Hasselt University, KU Leuven and VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research.


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