Drop in traffic fatalities report not all good

25th April 2008, Comments 0 comments

The newspaper NRC Handelsblad points out that fatalities remain high among young people.

25 April 2008

THE NETHERLANDS - Several of today papers carry the glad tidings that the number of road accident fatalities was down again in 2007, for the fourth year in a row.

NRC Handelsblad quotes Transport Minister Camiel Eurlings as saying he is "delighted" with the figures. There were 791 traffic deaths in 2007 and he still hopes to reach the government target of reducing the number to 580 by 2020.

But the news is not all good. As the paper points out, "the drop is mainly among people in their 40s and 60s ... Among young people, the figures are up."

AD talks to Hans van Maanen, a member of the association for road accident victims, who is unimpressed by the news.

"Every year there is still a massacre on the roads, a disaster with hundreds of needless fatalities and 20,000 people injured."

He complains, "You only lose your licence if you exceed the speed limit by 50 kilometres an hour. In other words, you can still keep your licence and drive 49 kilometres an hour over the limit every day ... the same goes if you commit eight drink driving offences a year."

The paper doesn't say whether Van Maanen was impressed with the Transport Minister's insistence that he's motivated "with every fibre of his being" to reducing road fatalities still further.

But it does report that the minister has adopted a number of the association's proposals. The minister now wants drivers to lose their licence for their second drunk driving offence and he is looking into the possibility of fitting speed limiters in the cars of repeat speeding offenders.

[Radio Netherlands / David Doherty / Expatica]

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