Next cabinet must spend billions to make traffic safer, experts say


The next cabinet will have to invest billions of euros in traffic safety if it is to comply with the European goal of halving the number of traffic deaths by 2030, the traffic safety coalition has said.

The coalition, made up of motoring organisation ANWB, traffic safety organisation Veilig Verkeer Nederland and victim support groups, is calling for concrete measures to make roads and cycle paths safer. It also wants to promote better policing of mobile phone and drug use on the roads.

The plans were presented to MPs as a call to action for the new cabinet on Thursday.

To reach both the European goal and the goal of zero traffic deaths in 2050 set by the Dutch government in 2017, an extra €12bn worth of investments would be needed in the next 30 years, of which €5bn would go to infrastructure, the coalition estimated.

Last year 610 people died in traffic accidents and over 21,000 people are injured each year as a result of a traffic accident, the campaigners say.

The annual cost of traffic accidents to society is an estimated €17bn, the coalition said. Many people sustain lasting damage from their injuries, putting more pressure on health care services.

While last year’s death toll was the lowest in four years because fewer cars were on the roads due to the lockdown, the number of the number of cyclists killed was the highest in 25 years, national statistics agency CBS said last week. In total some 229 cyclists died.

The coalition stressed that active forms of transport such as walking and cycling are vital for public health and must be encouraged. ‘Investment in safe pedestrian and cycling infrastructure is an important task for (local) authorities, particularly given the coronavirus pandemic’ it said.

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