How are serious road injuries distributed by age and gender?


Figure 4 shows the 2021 age distribution for serious road injuries, based on the hospital discharge register (LBZ). An ever-growing share of serious injuries is sustained among older road users. In 2021, 59% (about 3,800) of the hospital-registered seriously injured road users were aged 60 or over, while in 2014 this had amounted to 51% (ca. 2,800). The growing share is related to demographic developments, but the share of older road users sustaining serious injuries grows faster than their share of the population. Older people are physically more vulnerable, also see SWOV fact sheet Older road users. Among older seriously injured road users, the share of cyclists exceeds that of other age groups.

In 2021, children made up around 3% (about 200) of the hospital-registered serious road injuries; in 2014 this was about 6% (about 300). Also see SWOV fact sheet Children aged 0 to 14. Most children are injured while cycling or walking. In 2021, the share of hospital-registered seriously injured young people aged 15 to 19 remained virtually unchanged at 5% to 6% (about 400) compared to previous years. Because they have just started participating in motorised traffic, crash risk for this age group is higher; also see SWOV fact sheets Young drivers and Young road users (teenagers and adolescents).


Figure 4. Distribution of serious road injuries in the Netherlands by age group in 2021, based on hospital discharge register LBZ. Sources: DHD, SWOV.

The risk of sustaining serious injuries (serious injuries per distance travelled) is highest for older road users and has increased further in recent years. Comparatively, risk for young road users (aged 15-29) increased most (Figure 5). Figure 5 provides the average biannual risk, because risks calculated on an annual basis fluctuate too much due to uncertainties in mobility data and casualty numbers. By aggregating the 2020 and 2021 data, we have taken into account the change in mobility patterns during those two years due to the COVID-19 social distancing measures.


Figure 5. The risk of sustaining serious injuries (serious road injuries per distance travelled) in the Netherlands, for different age groups, averaged over 2018-2019 and 2020-2021 based on hospital discharge register LBZ. NB: het risico voor 6-14-jarigen betreft een lichte overschatting. Bronnen: CBS, DHD en SWOV.

In 2021, 59% (about 3,800) of the LBZ-registered serious road injuries were male and 41% (about 2,700) were female. In general, women are more often injured in crashes not involving a motor vehicle than men are. This partly relates to mobility differences between men and women: men drive more, women more often walk [16].

Part of fact sheet

Serious road injuries in the Netherlands

In 2021, the number of serious road injuries in the Netherlands was estimated at 6,800. This is similar to the number in 2020, but lower than was to Meer

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