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Published: (SWOV) | Goldenbeld, Ch.; Stelling, A.; Kint, S.T. van der

Adolescence is the period between childhood and adulthood. Compared with older adolescents (18-24 years old), young adolescents (10-17 years old) exhibit more risky behaviour.  Because of their physical and mental development, young adolescents are attracted  to risky challenges, they are more susceptible to peer pressure, and they have less self-control and overview than older adolescents.

In 2020, over a quarter of the total number of bicycle kilometres were cycled on pedelecs; particularly the over-65s opt for pedelecs. This is also borne out by the crash figures: in 2019 and 2020, almost one in three of the cyclist fatalities was a pedelec rider.
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 till now, in spite of it being a ‘COVID-19 year' once more.

The social costs of road crashes in the Netherlands in 2018 are estimated at 17 billion euro (between € 15.8 and € 18.6 billion euro), equivalent to more than 2% of the gross domestic product (GDP).

This fact sheet considers road safety in the Netherlands from an international perspective. The number of serious road injuries is hard to compare to numbers in other countries, so we almost exclusively focus on the number of road deaths. For the Netherlands, we use the actual number of road deaths provided by Statistics Netherlands; i.e. the numbers adjusted for underregistration.

The elderly have a higher than average fatality rate in traffic. The most important cause of this high fatality rate among the 75 year olds and older is their greater physical vulnerability. In addition, functional limitations can lead to the elderly more frequently being involved in certain types of crashes.

Risky road user behaviour is behaviour that adversely affects road safety, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medicines, speeding, inappropriate speed, distracted or fatigued driving, red light negation, and failure to use or misuse means of protection (motorcycle or moped helmet, seatbelt).

In the Netherlands, a sustainable road safety approach, in which measures in the fields of Engineering, Education and Enforcement (3Es) are complementary, has been used for decades. Enforcement reduces high-risk road user behaviour and is therefore an important component of this safe system approach.

Children are a vulnerable group among road users. They are, after all, still building up skills which will eventually allow them to become safe and independent road users. The role of parents in teaching their children how to behave safely in traffic is very important.  In this fact sheet, children are taken to belong to the age category 0 to 14, unless specified otherwise.