The Netherlands will introduce a daytime motorway speed limit of 100 km/h across the country from the second half of March, while Luxembourg will reduce speeds to 90 km/h during peak hours, following a successful trial.
The Dutch measure is designed to help the country cut nitrogen oxide emissions (NOx), a big problem particularly with older diesel vehicles. However, Dutch motorways, a large number of which have 130 km/h limits, will also be safer at the lower speeds.
Motorway deaths in the Netherlands reached their highest level in a decade last year.
ETSC has pointed out that 40% of deaths on motorways in the EU occur during hours of darkness. Switching back at night to 130 km/h – a relatively high limit by European standards – cannot be recommended from a safety point of view. The new Dutch limit will be lifted at 7pm in the evening.
ETSC has also warned that enforcement will be critically important to the success of the new measures – but the Dutch government has not so far indicated that it plans to increase the traffic police presence or the number of automated enforcement systems.
In Luxembourg, a peak hours speed limit of 90 km/h on the A1 and A6 motorways will remain in place following a successful trial. The government announced last month that the speed limit had had a positive impact on traffic flow and reduced the risk of collisions. Luxembourg is also planning to introduce free public transport for all from next month.