Speed limit on Dutch roads to be raised
The Minister of Infrastructure Melanie Schultz wants to increase the maximum speed to 130 kilometres per hour on almost 60 percent of motorways in the Netherlands from 1 September next year.
The ministry is looking into whether speed limits on motorways near nature reserves 19 percent can also be increased. As of 1 July, the maximum speed around cities will be increased from 80 kilometres per hour to 100 in four out of five 80-kilometre zones.
The Dutch motoring association ANWB backs the minister's plans as it reflects motorists' sense of freedom. However, the organisation wants the minister to make sure the increase does not adversely affect traffic safety.
According to the minister's own figures, increased speed limits are estimated to lead to 3-7 extra deaths per year and from 17–34 more seriously injured victims of traffic accidents. The minister has set aside 132 million euros to make the speed limit increase possible, 85 million euros will be put towards extra road safety measures to keep road deaths down.
The Dutch road safety organisation Veilig Verkeer Nederland opposes increasing the speed limit. It says research shows increased speed limits lead to an excessive increase in collisions as the braking distance and collision forces increase disproportionately.
The Dutch branch of environment organisation Friends of the Earth Milieudefensie is also against the measures as it undoes the progress that has been made by introducing cleaner cars.
© Radio Netherlands Worldwide