According to the latest figures by Statistics Netherlands and the AVV transport research centre 1088 people were killed in traffic in the Netherlands in 2003 and 1066 in 2002. In the summer months of 2003 the number of traffic deaths increased substantially, but in the fourth quarter it fell. A growing number of children died in traffic. This was mainly due to the increase in the number of deaths of children in cars. The total number of traffic deaths among car passengers, however, fell in 2003.
End of downward trend
In 2003 the number of traffic deaths increased by 2 percent, from 1 066 in 2002 to 1 088. In the period 1999-2002 the number of traffic deaths fell by over 100, from 1 186 to 1 066. This downward trend ended in 2003.
In the early 1970’s over 3000 people died annually in traffic. This decreased substantially to 1100 traffic deaths. It is too early to say if the increase in 2003 ends the long-term downward trend. The downward trend may continue after one year with an increase, which has happened before.
Increase in summer, decrease in the fall
In March 2004 the media reported a dramatic increase in the number of traffic deaths in the Netherlands. They did so on the basis of European Commission calculations on the first nine months of 2003, when the number of traffic deaths was up 5 percent on the same periods of 2002. It was especially high during summer. In June, July and August 2003 some 15 percent more people died in traffic than in the same period of 2002. There was an 8 percent decrease in the fourth quarter of 2003 on the other hand. This meant the annual total did not increase as much as the figure for the first nine months.
More victims among children
In 2003, 64 children under 15 were killed in traffic, versus 41 in 2002. This ended the strong downward trend from 83 in 1999 to 41 in 2002. The 2003 increase was primarily among children in cars or vans, up from 4 to 21. There was hardly any change in the number of child victims among bicyclists or pedestrians.
Fewer car passengers dead
Almost half of all traffic deaths were car passengers or drivers. The long-term downward trend continued in 2003. About five years ago the annual total of passenger deaths was about 600. In the previous three years it fluctuated around 500. In 2003 there were 496. Most car passengers who died were aged between 18 and 30.
More bicyclists died
In 2003, 219 bicyclists were killed in traffic, 24 more than in 2002. This does not mean that the 2003 figure is exceptionally high. It was the 2002 figure that was exceptionally low. The increase in 2003 was mainly among people over 50. In 2003 there were 149 bicyclists aged over 50 who died, versus 109 in 2002. The number of young bicyclists killed in traffic was down in 2003 to 45 bicyclist under 30, versus 57 in 2002.
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