Big fall in Dutch traffic deaths
27 April 2005, AMSTERDAM — The number of traffic deaths fell significantly last year to 881 compared to 1088 fatalities in 2003.
27 April 2005
AMSTERDAM — The number of traffic deaths fell significantly last year to 881 compared to 1088 fatalities in 2003.
Transport Minister Karla Peijs said on Wednesday she was "tremendously pleased" by the 19 percent decline in fatalities, but she warned that "results from the past give no guarantee for the future".
The number of traffic deaths rose slightly in 2003, breaking a trend of recent annual reductions. The 2004 figures — compiled by the ministry and statistics bureau CBS — are below the long-term trend.
The number of people admitted to hospital due to traffic accidents last year fell by 10 percent to 9,486.
Fatalities showed a marked decline in all age groups. Twenty-three children aged 11 or younger were killed last year, compared with 42 in 2003. In the 16 to 17-year-old age bracket, 28 deaths occurred instead of 49.
Traffic organisation 3VO said the figures were revolutionary and stressed again that safe traffic in the Netherlands is not a utopia.
To ensure a continued decline in deaths, 3VO urged Minister Peijs to adopt a new objective of 750 deaths by 2010. The current target of 900 has already been achieved.
Peijs could not fully explain the fall in traffic deaths, but said the number of speeding fines and accident compensation claims with insurers also fell. The number of victims in Europe declined, while the weather also played a role.
The minister said the high priority placed on traffic safety was paying off, pointing to the Bob campaign against drink driving, trajectory speed controls and safer cars.
The minister is not resting on her laurels though and launched in Delft on Wednesday a new detection system for trucks, which uses cameras and sensors to alert drivers of traffic around their vehicles.
The aim is to reduce the number of cyclists killed by trucks that turn right.
In 2004, 16 cyclists were killed in this manner, the highest number since the blind spot mirror was introduced for large trucks in 2003. Peijs will investigate the issue.
[Copyright Expatica News + ANP 2005]
Subject: Dutch news