How do costs in the Netherlands compare to costs in other countries?


Costs as a percentage of the gross domestic product

With 3.3% of the gross domestic product (GDP) the Netherlands is among the countries with relatively high costs of road crashes, while we occupy 10th place from the road safety perspective (number of deaths per inhabitant) [17]. In Europe, the costs range from 0.4% to 4.1% of the GDP (see Figure 6). In international studies, they range from 0.5% to 6.7% of the GDP [18].


Figure 6. Road crash costs, as a percentage of the GDP, in 31 European countries, based on a European review [8]. The figures for the Netherlands and Belgium are more recent estimates [1] [19].

Rather than by differences in the level of road safety, the differences in total costs between countries are mainly explained by differences in the way the costs are calculated, in particular the human costs [8] [18]. Also, there are many countries that, unlike the Netherlands, do not take into account underregistration of casualties and crashes, or do not include property damage only crashes in their cost estimates. Furthermore, countries differ in the cost items they include. As has been advocated by international road safety organisations such as IRTAD, FERSI and ETSC [20]. greater uniformity in the methods used is therefore required for proper comparison of the costs of road crashes in different countries. When the cost estimates in European countries are corrected for methodological shortcomings, the costs of road crashes in Europe are estimated at a minimum of 3% of the GDP [21].

Costs of a road death and a serious road injury

In the Netherlands, the costs per road death, estimated at € 6.5 million in 2020 [1], are higher than in most other countries. In Europe, these costs range from € 0.8 million to € 3.4 million [8] (price level 2020 [i]). The higher costs per road death in the Netherlands can be explained by the higher human cost values, which were determined in the recent VALOR study in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France [10] [11] (see the question How do we define the human costs of road crashes?). In Belgium, the results of that study were likewise applied in new cost calculations, which results in costs per road death that are in the same order of magnitude as those in the Netherlands (€ 6.8 million) [19]. In other European countries, older human cost estimates are used, which are much lower. In several countries, moreover, these estimates were not based on the ‘willingness to pay’ method, which results in higher values than other methods [8] [9]. In the US, where the ‘willingness to pay’ method  is also used, the costs per road death compare to those in the Netherlands.

In most European countries the costs of a serious road injury [ii]; are between 10% and 20% of the costs of a road death. With 11 % of the costs of a road death, the costs of a serious road injury are relatively low in the Netherlands. In absolute amounts, there are large differences between countries in the costs per serious road injury; in 2020 these ranged from € 30,000 to € 1.0 million. In the Netherlands, the value (€ 0.7 million) is within this range.

[i] The amounts of the European study [8] have been converted from the 2015 price level to the 2020 price level on the basis of the GDP deflator for the EU (source: World Bank, World Development Indicators).

[ii] These are the costs of a serious road injury as defined in each country; the definitions differ between countries.

Part of fact sheet

Road crash costs

The social costs of road crashes in the Netherlands in 2020 are estimated at € 27 billion (between € 15 and € 36 billion). This is significantly Meer

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