According to figures from Statistics Netherlands and the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, 811 people were killed in road traffic accidents in the Netherlands in 2006. This is 6 fewer than in 2005. Three years ago the number of deaths was nearly 1,100. The number of fatal accidents among cyclists rose by nearly 20 percent. Eurostat figures show that with the exception of Malta, the Netherlands has the lowest rate of road deaths per million inhabitants in the European Union.
More fatalities among cyclists, fewer among motorcyclists
The total number of road deaths remained around the same level in 2006 as in 2005. The distribution among age and mode of transport did change, however. The number of deaths among cyclists rose by nearly 20 percent. There were also more fatal victims in the over-60s and the over-80s age groups. Nearly 60 percent of cyclists killed in road traffic accidents were aged 60 years or older.
The number fatal victims among people in their thirties and people in their fifties dropped sharply, on the other hand. In addition, fewer motorcyclists were killed. This number was down buy one quarter.
Most victims in their twenties
Most fatalities occur in the age group 20-29 years. In 2006 137 people in this age group died in road accidents. This is around the same number as in 2005, but substantially lower than in the preceding years. Two-thirds of these victims die as car drivers or car passengers.
In relative terms, most victims occur in the over-80s age group. In 2006, 17 per 100 thousand people aged over 80 were killed in traffic accidents. For the age group 20-29 years this was 7 per 100 thousand.
Non-residents also among road deaths
Non-residents killed on Dutch roads, such as lorry drivers and tourists, are also included in these figures. In recent years, 5 to 9 percent of traffic deaths were non-residents. Most of them were killed as car drivers or car passengers.
Dutch roads relatively safe in a European perspective
Within the EU, the Netherlands is one of the countries with the fewest deaths per million inhabitants. According to figures from Eurostat, only Malta has a lower rate. In 2004 there were 49 road fatalities per million inhabitants in the Netherlands, in Malta this rate was 33. Latvia had the highest rate: 222 people per million inhabitants were killed in road traffic accidents there. The Netherlands is also safer than surrounding countries. Belgium had twice as many fatalities, France nearly twice as many.
Downward trend in traffic deaths
In the 1970s more than 3 thousand people were killed on Dutch roads. This was the period with the highest figures ever. At the beginning of the present century about 1,100 people per year died in traffic accidents. In 2004 the number fell below 900 for the first time. Last year the number was 811.