More enforcement needed to reverse decline in Dutch motorway safety

  • October 15, 2019

Dutch motorways are becoming less safe, according to research by SWOV, the Dutch institute for road safety research.

The number of motorway deaths rose to 81 in 2018, the highest figure in more than a decade.  The total number of collisions has more than doubled in five years, from 17,000 in 2014 to more than 38,000 in 2018.

SWOV, in a new report, said the main causes of collisions were speeding and drivers being distracted.

The organisation also said a shift away from road traffic enforcement in the Netherlands was partly to blame, as the priority had shifted to spotting criminals or non-payers of fines rather than enforcing safer road rules.

The number of people stopped by traffic police fell to around 20,000 in 2017. In 2006 more than 100,000 drivers were stopped by the roadside and given warnings or fines.

SWOV director, Peter van der Knaap, told NRC, a Dutch newspaper, that the deterioration in road safety was a ‘worrying development’. He called for police to carry out more manned checks on speed and aggressive driving rather than relying on cameras.

‘Enforcement on motorways is absolutely essential, but it hasn’t been a priority for years,’ he said. ‘If you want to make motorways safer, the number of checks and the level of surveillance really need to increase.