The Netherlands is the only EU country with an increasing number of road deaths

In the Netherlands, the number of road deaths has increased by 1 percent in ten years (between 2010 and 2020). This makes it the only EU country that saw an increase in that period.

The Netherlands is the only EU Member State where the number of people killed in road accidents has increased over the past ten years. This is despite a sharp drop of 8 percent last year, because there were fewer people on the road due to the lockdowns. With 31 deaths per 1 million inhabitants last year, the Netherlands scores considerably lower than the EU average of 42, the European Commission reports.

In the entire European Union of 27 countries, the number of road deaths has decreased by 36 percent since 2010. Last year about 18,800 people lost their lives on European roads, almost 4,000 or 17 percent less than in 2019. It is a ‘historically low level’, say the daily EU administration, ‘clearly but not measurably’ caused by the lower traffic volume because of the lockdowns’.

The EU continues to have the safest roads worldwide, with Sweden the number one (18 fatalities per million inhabitants) and Romania (85) the most dangerous. Bulgaria (-26 percent), Italy and Hungary (both -25 percent) saw the largest decrease in the number of road deaths last year. In the EU, 70 percent of all road deaths in urban areas are vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists. It was recently announced that in the Netherlands there was mainly a sharp increase in the number of road deaths among cyclists last year.

There’s work to be done

At the end of 2020, research by the Institute for Road Safety Research (SWOV) showed that the Netherlands is nowhere near meeting the targets when it comes to reducing the number of road deaths. According to SWOV, the government is investing more money in this and the foundation hopes that this will bear fruit in the coming years. Among other things, reducing the maximum speed from 50 km / h to 30 km / h in built-up areas is on the table as a possible solution. Investments must then be made in modifications to the infrastructure.

There is also work to be done for the EU. EU Commissioner Adina V─âlean (Transport) argues that action is needed to prevent the numbers from rising back to pre-virus levels. Despite the sharp decline, the EU has not achieved its target of reducing the number of road deaths by half on average between 2010 and 2020, except in Greece (-54 percent).

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