Traffic deaths down again

  • 640 traffic deaths in 2010; 80 fewer than in 2009
  • Fewer victims under 40 years of age in particular
  • Largest decrease for people in cars and cyclists
  • Slight rise in number of pedestrian deaths

According to figures released today by Statistics Netherlands and the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, 640 people were killed in traffic accidents in the Netherlands in 2010. This is 11 percent fewer than the 720 deaths in 2009, and continues the downward trend observed in the last few years. The number of fatalities among people aged under 40 in particular decreased, as well as the number among cyclists and people in cars.

The number of traffic deaths among people aged under 40 was 247 in 2010. This is 20 percent down on twelve months previously. Within this age group the strongest decrease was for 15-19 year-olds. This is mainly because fewer of these youngsters were killed in cars (from 36 victims in 2009 to 19 in 2010). Victims in their twenties do still account for the largest number of traffic deaths, however: 114 in 2010.

Most of the decrease in the number of traffic deaths is accounted for by cyclists and car drivers and passengers. There were 50 fewer car deaths in 2010; at 246 this was 17 percent lower than in 2009. This group does account for most of traffic deaths however. The number of cyclists killed on Dutch roads fell from 185 in 2009 to 162 in 2010.

There was a notable slight rise in the number of pedestrians killed in 2010: 72 pedestrians died, of whom over 60 percent were aged 50 years or older. Pedestrians were the only group of road users for whom the number of deaths did not decrease.

People in the age group 15-29 years run a three times higher risk of being killed in traffic on a Friday or Saturday night than at other times in the week. This differential has even increased in the last four years. The number of traffic deaths on ‘clubbing’ nights has remained stable, while the number of victims in the rest of the week has decreased. For people aged 30 years and older, the difference in risk is smaller, and people aged of 45 years and older are even less likely to be killed on a Friday or Saturday night than in the rest of the week.

In 2010, 56 of the 640 people killed in traffic accidents were not registered in the Netherlands. These were tourists and people visiting the Netherlands for their work. The number of fatal victims in this group has been stable for years now.

The number of fatal casualties on Dutch roads has been decreasing since the mid-1970s, when more than 3 thousand people a year were killed in traffic accidents. In the mid-1970s it became compulsory to wear a seatbelt in the  front seats of cars, and people on mopeds were required to wear a helmet. Since the year with the highest number of traffic deaths, 1972, the number of people killed yearly has fallen by 80 percent.