Compared to other European and some larger non-European countries, Dutch road safety performance is relatively strong. When looking at the number of road deaths adjusted for the number of inhabitants (mortality), the Netherlands ranks eighth among 38 assessed countries. When looking at the number of road deaths adjusted for the number of kilometres travelled (fatality risk), the Netherlands ranks tenth among 23 assessed countries. It should be noted that the Dutch data are based on the (actual) number of road deaths published by Statistics Netherlands, which have been adjusted for underregistration. In most countries, numbers are not (properly) adjusted for underregistration (also see the question To what extent are international data comparable and reliable? ).
Figure 1 presents the number of road deaths per million inhabitants (mortality) in 2015-2018 for a large number of EU and OECD countries, ranging from lowest (at the top) to highest mortality. Norway scores best, the United States worst, and the Netherlands ranks eighth. Among the countries assessed, Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Denmark and Japan also outperform the Netherlands.
Figure 1. Number of road deaths per million inhabitants, averages of 2015-2018 (Norway 2014-2017). Sources: Statistics Netherlands, CARE and IRTAD (deaths), and Eurostat (population), consulted October 2020.
A better method of comparing road safety in different countries, is not to compare the number of road deaths per million inhabitants, but to compare the number of road deaths per distance travelled (fatality risk). However, the number of countries that have usable and comparable information about the number of kilometres travelled is limited. When comparing fatality risk in those countries to that in the Netherlands, the Netherlands ranks tenth out of 23 countries. A lot of the countries that have better mortality scores than the Netherlands, also score better on fatality risk. Japan is no longer among them, but Germany, Iceland and Australia are.
Figure 2. Number of road deaths per billion motor vehicle kilometres, averages of 2015-2018 or of available years during this period. Sources: Statistics Netherlands and CARE (deaths), IRTAD (deaths; vehicle kilometres), consulted October 2020.