New traffic rules in the Netherlands
Changes to traffic and vehicle laws, effective from 1 May 2009, will affect most drivers, including those driving on highways, pulling light trailers, microcar drivers, motorised cyclists and anyone with a parking permit!
A summary of the most important changes:
Speed limit for vehicles with light trailers
- Passenger cars and vans pulling a light trailer may now travel at 90 km/h on main highways and motorways. A light trailer means a trailer with a maximum permitted weight of 3500 kg (including the trailer’s own weight and the weight of the cargo) and includes caravans, folding caravans, horse trailers and removal trailers. If the trailer has its own registration, its maximum permitted weight will be specified in the registration. This increase in speed limit reduces the difference in speed between vehicles with trailers and other traffic.
- Campers with a maximum permitted weight exceeding 3500 kg may not exceed 80 km/h on main highways and motorways.
- A disc-type permit should be placed only behind the vehicle windscreen and must be clearly visible from outside the vehicle. The arrival time on the permit must be set manually, i.e., permits with a mechanism to automatically shift the arrival time are no longer permitted. The arrival time may be rounded up to the next hour or half hour when the permit is set.
- A parking permit must be used in disabled parking spaces with maximum parking time signs. Such spaces need not have a blue line.
Microcars and helmets
- Drivers and passengers of open microcars without seatbelts must now wear helmets, providing them with the same protection as motorcyclists and moped riders.
Motorised bicycles and mobile phones
- Riders of motorised bicycles may no longer hold a mobile phone while riding.
- Drivers travelling in an exit lane after leaving the continuing lane must continue to follow the exit lane, i.e., leaving the continuing lane to pass congested traffic via the exit lane is not permitted.
The following amendment to the Vehicles Regulations is likewise effective from 1 May 2009:
Lights and light type
- Vehicles must be fitted only with the type of light for which they have been approved, e.g., headlights with an HC, HR or HCR code must contain a halogen light; light fittings with codes DC, DR or DCR must contain gas discharge (‘xenon’) lights.