How does the Dutch number of road injuries compare to that elsewhere?


There is no sense in comparing EU countries in terms of road injuries. Whereas different countries correspond in their definition of a road death, they do not in their definition of a road injury (see the question To what extent are international data comparable and reliable? ).

The European Union advises its member states to define a (serious) road injury as someone with a Maximum Abbreviated Injury Score (MAIS) of 3 or higher [3]. Nevertheless, there are still differences in the way in which different countries translate this definition into practice [4]. This becomes apparent when looking at the major differences between countries in the ratio of road deaths versus MAIS3+ injuries (see Table 1). Thus, at one end of the spectrum, the Netherlands and Switzerland, report 13 and 12 MAIS3+ injuries, respectively, against one road death, and at the other end of the spectrum, Polen and Cyprus only report 0.6 and 1.8 road injuries, respectively, against one road death.

These ratio differences are partly due to differences in the reporting rate of serious road injuries (The European Commission indicates that only around 70% of serious road injuries are registered [5]) and in procedures for assessing injury severity. The ratio differences may also be partially explained by differences in traffic mix. Thus, the large number of serious road injuries against one road death in the Netherlands may partly be attributed to the large share of cyclists. Pérez and colleagues developed practical guidelines to help countries determine the number of MAIS3+ injuries. A summary of the guidelines can be found in the 2016 SafetyCube publication [6].


Table 1. Number of road deaths and number of MAIS3+ injuries and their ratios in some European countries in 2014, France (2009) and Spain (2013) excluded), as reported in a questionnaire (Source: [4])

Part of fact sheet

Dutch road safety in an international perspective

This fact sheet considers road safety in the Netherlands from an international perspective.

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