This fact sheet covers road deaths: the annual number in the Netherlands, how this number has developed since 1950, and characteristics such as the casualty’s age and mode of transport, and crash locations. After a rise in the 1950s and 1960s, the number of road deaths in the Netherlands has shown a gradual decline since 1973. In the last few years, this decline has stagnated. 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.
In 2021, slightly more than one third of the road deaths are cyclists (207; 36%), and three out of ten are car occupants (175; 30%). Most road deaths occur among older road users: in 2021, 220 (38%) were aged 70 or over. By contrast, relatively few children (0-14 years) are killed in Dutch traffic; in 2021, - as in the year before - 17 (3%) were killed.
When comparing the number of road deaths for different subgroups (e.g. age, mode of transport, road type), it should be borne in mind that, in any case, the number of crash casualties depends on the distance travelled: the more people travel, the more frequently they may be involved in crashes. The number of casualties also depends on the safety characteristics of this exposure: roads are either safe or less safe and the same goes for vehicles. In addition, traffic behaviour also affects the probability of being involved in a crash. The number of road deaths in a particular subgroup is, therefore, not just determined by how ‘dangerous’ road use is for that subgroup (the risk of that specific age group, gender, mode of transport or road type), but also by the distance travelled by that subgroup (by that mode of transport, on that road type, etc.). Finally, chance will always be a factor as well. (Small) differences between numbers of road deaths in consecutive years may be coincidental.