SWOV Catalogus


Road deaths in the Netherlands. [Previously known as: Road fatalities in The Netherlands.]
20100163 ST [electronic version only]

The Hague, SWOV - Institute for Road Safety Research, 2020, Pp., 8 ref.; SWOV Fact sheet

Samenvatting This fact sheet covers road deaths: the annual number in the Netherlands, how this has developed since 1950 and common characteristics such as modes of transport, age groups and crash locations. After a rise in the 1950s and 1960s, the number of road deaths in the Netherlands has shown a gradual decline since 1973. In the last few years, this decline has stagnated. In 2019, there were 661 road deaths in the Netherlands. As far as we can assess now, this continues the trend of stagnation in recent years.Slightly more than one third of the road deaths are car occupants (237), and slightly less than one third are cyclists (203). Measured by population size, road mortality is relatively high among the elderly: in 2019, 249 road deaths (38%) were aged 70 or older. By contrast, relatively few children (0-14 years) are killed in Dutch traffic; in 2019, 11 (2%) were killed.When comparing the number of road deaths for different subgroups (e.g. age, mode of transport, road type), it should be borne in mind that, in any case, the number of crash casualties depends on the distance travelled: the more people travel, the more frequently they may be involved in crashes. The number of casualties also depends on the safety characteristics of this exposure: roads are either safe or less safe and the same goes for vehicles. In addition, traffic behaviour also affects the probability of being involved in a crash. The number of road deaths in a particular subgroup is, therefore, not just determined by how ‘dangerous’ that subgroup is (the risk of that specific age group, gender, mode of transport or road type), but also by the distance travelled by that subgroup (by that mode of transport, on that road type etc.). Differences in numbers of fatalities may, therefore, be attributed to both the difference in exposure and the difference in risk (for the latter difference, see the archived SWOV Fact sheet Risk in traffic at https://www.swov.nl/en/publication/risk-traffic). And differences in the development of the number of road deaths may arise on account of the development of risk and exposure. A difference in the development of exposure may have different causes; e.g. demographic trends such as ageing. Finally, chance will always be a factor as well. (Small) differences between numbers of road deaths in consecutive years may be coincidental.
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