Drink and drugs have a greater role in traffic-related deaths

Graffiti promoting illegal alcohol sales. Photo: DutchNews.nl
Photo: DutchNews.nl

The number of traffic deaths involving drink or drugs has gone up sharply over the past few years, from a low of 13 in 2016 to 61 last year, according to police figures quoted by broadcaster NOS.

The true total may be higher because at present, drink and drug use is only investigated if the person who caused the accident survives, the broadcaster said. But if the driver is killed, there is no investigation because there is no prospect of a trial.

The number of drink and drugs related deaths did drop in 2020 and 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions on travel and socializing.

At the end of last year, police reported a 34% increase in the number fines and driving bans handed down to motorists for drink and drugs offences in the wake of the coronavirus dip.

Last year, 43,000 were fined for driving under the influence. Of them, 25,000 had been drinking and 18,000 had used drugs, most often cannabis.

Alcohol lock

Transport minister Mark Harbers said last month he is looking into bringing back the ‘alcohol lock’ which would stop people who have been drinking getting into their cars and driving off.

Use of the lock ended in 2015 after Supreme Court judges said compelling over-the-limit drivers to use an alcohol lock is ‘disproportionately’ severe because it does not take ‘personal circumstances’ sufficiently into account.

Five years ago, the police also stopped making major alcohol checks on drivers in the evening because motorists were alerting each other to their presence via social media.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation