How is the number of road deaths distributed across different road types?

Answer

For the number of road deaths on different types of roads, we have to rely on the police registration of road crashes. The Directorate of Public Works and Water Management converts this registration into its database ‘Registered Crashes in the Netherlands’ (BRON in Dutch) on behalf of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. In the Road Death Statistics, of the 582 road deaths in 2021, 508 were registered in BRON. This implies that for 13% of the crashes in 2021 – the proportion that was registered by Road Death Statistics only – we do not know where the crash occurred. In addition, for 3% of the road deaths registered in BRON we do not know either whether the related fatal crash occurred in or outside the urban area (see Figure 5) and for 3% of the road deaths we do not know which speed limit was valid on the road where the crash occurred (see Figure 6).

Of the road deaths in BRON, 56% occurred outside the urban area (49% of the actual number of road deaths). The remaining 40% (35% of all road deaths) occurred in the urban area. The shares are shown in Figure 5.

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Figure 5. Road deaths 2021, in and outside urban areas. Sources: IenW, (BRON) , Statistics Netherlands (Road Death Statistics), adapted by SWOV.

Figure 6 shows the number of road deaths by speed limit. The largest number of road deaths occurs on 50km/h and 80km/h roads (26% and 23%, respectively, of the actual number of road deaths; this is 30% and 26%, respectively, of the road deaths registered in BRON). On 60km/h roads, the number of road deaths is also substantial, that is: 16% of the road deaths (19% of the road deaths in BRON). On roads with a speed limit of 100, 120 or 130 km/h, the share amounts to 9% (10% in BRON). On 30km/h roads the share is similar (9% of the actual number, 11% in BRON).

In 2021, 59% of the actual number of fatal crashes occurred on road sections and 29% at intersections (see Figure 7; 67% and 33% of the police registered numbers in BRON).  

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Figure 6. Road deaths in 2021, by speed limit; only the limits accounting for more than two road deaths are shown. Sources: IenW, (BRON), Statistics Netherland (Road Death Statistics), adapted by SWOV.
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Figure 7. Road deaths 2021, by road section and intersection. Sources: IenW, (BRON), Statistics Netherlands (Road Death Statistics), adapted by SWOV.

Figure 8 shows the 2021 shares of road deaths by road authority. The largest number of road deaths occurs on municipal roads (54% of the actual number, 62% of the number registered in BRON), followed by regional roads (20% of the actual number and 23% registered in BRON) and national roads (9% of the actual number and 10% registered in BRON). The smallest number of road deaths occurs on roads managed by the remaining road authorities, such as water authorities (4% of the actual number, 5% registered in BRON). These shares not only reflect the degree of hazard on these roads, but also and particularly the number of roads and the amount of traffic on these roads.

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Figure 8. Road deaths 2021, by road authority. Sources: IenW, (BRON), Statistics Netherlands (Road Death Statistics, adapted by SWOV.

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Road deaths in the Netherlands

In 2021, there were 582 road deaths in the Netherlands. Although this number is again lower than in previous years, it is not the lowest number up Meer