610 traffic deaths in 2020

© Shutterstock / Elena Rostunova
In 2020, traffic accidents killed a total of 610 people in the Netherlands. This is 51 fewer than in 2019 and the lowest number since 2015. The number of road fatalities fell most sharply among passenger car occupants and only increased among cyclists. The sharpest drop was seen among people in their twenties, thirties and the over-80s; and among road users in Noord-Brabant province. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of the latest figures.

Traffic deaths

In 2020, there were 610 traffic deaths, i.e. 7.7 percent less than in year. These included 453 men and 157 women. The number of road fatalities among women fell by nearly 20 percent. Among men, the decline was relatively less pronounced at 2.6 percent.

Highest number of cycling deaths in 25 years

Most traffic victims in 2020 were cyclists (229), i.e. 26 more than in 2019 and one more than in 2018. The number of cyclist deaths was the highest in 25 years. One-third were e-bike fatalities (74 persons). In 2019, 65 e-bike riders were killed in traffic.

Last year, 195 passenger car occupants (37 passengers and 158 drivers) were killed, i.e. 42 fewer than in 2019. The number of victims dropped by 32 among passengers and by 10 among drivers.

Road fatalities further included 44 motorcyclists, 41 pedestrians, 33 (light-)moped riders, 34 mobility scooters and 23 occupants of a delivery van or lorry.

Traffic deaths by mode of transport
Passenger car195237
Mobility scooter3442
Delivery van / lorry2328

Largest decline among people in their twenties, thirties and the over-80s

Half of all traffic deaths were people aged 60 or older. Traffic mortality in this age group decreased from 324 in 2019 to 306 in 2020. The steady decline among the elderly has been visible for some time. Senior traffic victims (aged 60 and over) are relatively likely to be involved in a bicycle accident, while younger victims (under 60) are most likely to be killed in a car accident.

After an increase in 2019, the number of people in their twenties and thirties who were killed in traffic fell to the level of previous years, 2016-2018. Traffic mortality declined from 183 (2019) to 149 (2020), representing a 19-percent drop. The largest decline in this age group is seen among passenger car occupants and motorcyclists.

Among the over-80s, the number of road fatalities fell by 18: from 126 in 2019 to 108 in 2020. In this age category, fewer pedestrians and mobility scooter riders were killed. No major changes were seen between 2019 and 2020 among young people up to 20 years and 40 to 79-year-olds.

Traffic deaths by age
Under 20 yrs4950
20 to 39 yrs183149
40 to 59 yrs105105
60 to 79 yrs198198
80 yrs and over126108

Largest decline in traffic mortality in Noord-Brabant

Noord-Brabant saw the highest number of road fatalities, but also the sharpest decline. In 2020, there were 99 traffic deaths, against 142 in 2019 and 150 in 2018. A decrease was also seen in Overijssel, Utrecht and Flevoland.

The provinces of Zeeland, Groningen and Friesland recorded more traffic deaths relative to 2019. In Drenthe, Gelderland, Noord-Holland, Zuid-Holland and Limburg, the level remained the same as in 2019. The lowest number of fatalities was recorded in Flevoland.

Traffic deaths by province
Overijssel 4757

Relatively more traffic deaths during lockdown

From mid-March onwards, it was less busy on national roads, partly because many people worked from home and there were hardly any tourists on the road. The fact that the roads were much quieter is shown by data from the National Road Traffic Data Portal (NDW). On the weekends at the end of March and beginning of April, during the first lockdown, traffic intensity was only one-third of the level on corresponding weekends one year previously; on working days, the roads were only half as busy.

From mid-April 2020, traffic intensity began to increase gradually and dropped again after the summer. By the end of 2020, traffic activity on weekdays was around 80 percent of the level in 2019; at weekends, it was around 70 percent.

On the days when the roads were least busy in March and April 2020 (weeks 13 through 16, 23 March to 19 April inclusive), the number of traffic deaths was higher than in the same period in 2019. Similarly, in weeks 25 through 28 (15 June to 12 July 2020 inclusive) and weeks 45 to 48 (2 November to 29 November 2020 inclusive), traffic mortality was higher than in 2019, while traffic intensity was substantially lower.

Traffic deaths per 4-week period, 2020
13 - 164752
17 - 205749
21 - 245756
25 - 284959
29 - 324948
33 - 366148
37 - 405750
41 - 444933
45 - 484552
49 - 536046