Warning of increased traffic deaths in Holland
25 February 2004
AMSTERDAM — Without government intervention, the number of traffic deaths in coming years in the Netherlands could increase sharply and by 2020, a total of four extra deaths could occur each week, new research from the Transport Ministry warns.
There were 987 road fatalities in the Netherlands last year, six less than 2002 and apart from a few exceptions road deaths have declined each year since 1973 when 3,092 people were killed.
But the ministry’s Traffic and Transport Advice Service (AVV) has warned that the positive trend could end if the government does not take appropriate measures, newspaper Algemeen Dagblad reported.
The AVV said the reduction in the number of fatalities was due to old measures such as the introduction of the 30kmh speed limit in residential areas. Traffic safety has also profited by technical advances such as the airbag and crumble zones in vehicles.
It warned that in six years time, almost 100 more traffic fatalities will occur each year if the ministry fails to take action, and in 2020 there could be 200 more deaths compared with present figures.
The same rise is also expected in the number of injuries, which presently total 19,000 per year. The number will remain stable without extra measures until 2010, but 10 years later there will be 570 extra injuries each year.
To prevent the rise in deaths and injuries, the AVV has urged the ministry to seriously consider electronic speed restrictors. Once installed in vehicles, the devices will ensure that motorists do not breach speed limits in certain locations.
The advice service also said that road freight transport should be reduced because a higher number of trucks automatically signifies a greater number of accidents will occur.
It also urged the government that dangerous road junctions and stretches of roads should be dealt with in the same manner across the entire country.
If the government acts now, the AVV said the number of deaths could be reduced in coming years to 950 both in 2010 and 2020. This is despite the expected large increase in motor vehicle traffic in coming years.
The ministry presently has a budget of EUR 30 million to improve road safety and the coalition government of Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende hopes to reduce road fatalities to 950 in 2010.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news