Get those helmets and seat belts on! The Netherlands ranks low in road safety in Europe

The Netherlands has dropped seven whole places in the ranking for road safety in Europe since 2010. They were ranked fourth in 2010 for their successful approach, as RTL Nieuws puts it, but has dropped to the eleventh position in 2018. 

It is one of the three countries in Europe to have an increased number of deaths on the road since 2010, reports RTL Nieuws according to figures from the European Traffic Safety Council (ETSC). The other two countries are Malta and Sweden. The rest of the countries saw a decrease in deaths on the road since 2010.

How did this happen?

“It is a sad fact,” notes Peter van der Knaap, director of the Dutch Road Safety Research Foundation (SWOV). “There is a lot of suffering behind that ranking. If we had succeeded in maintaining that high position on the ranking, it would have saved a lot of human lives.” According to him, there isn’t enough attention and backing being given to road safety in the Netherlands. He uses examples of a decrease in police checks and cutbacks on lights on the highway.

The amount of funds allocated to improve road safety in the Netherlands is also not sufficient, says Bert van Wee from TU Delft to RTL Nieuws. According to them, 4.7 percent, or 11 billion euros, of government funds was allocated to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. Now, it is only 3.4 percent, or 8 billion euros. Wee says that this “trend is in line with the declining interest in road safety.”

Road Safety 2030

The Netherlands seems to be feeling the pressure to improve road safety for its citizens as they have come up with a new ambitious plan: Road Safety 2030. A lot more attention will be paid to cyclists and the elderly. Do you remember the infamous moped ban on cycle roads, and the helmet rule? SWOV has already said that bicycle helmets could save 85 lives a year! Kinda makes sense now, doesn’t it?

Do you still believe the Netherlands could do without changing its road safety policies? Do you think that helmets for cyclists are unnecessary? Let us know in the comments below!

Kavana Desai
Coping with the aftermath of her 3-year stint in the Netherlands, Kavana is a writer, content creator and editor for DutchReview. Hailing from India, she frequently blogs about the Netherlands, being Indian in the Netherlands, and everything in between. She envisions herself to one day be the youngest person to win that Nobel Prize for Literature (she is also not very humble but welcomes only constructive criticism). In the meantime, she fills her days with writing for DutchReview, writing her master's thesis on art theft, and writing fiction that will hopefully see the light of day soon.


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