Netherlands: more casualties due to refusing to wear seatbelt
“I am really baffled and can’t understand it,” says Rob Stomphorst from the Dutch traffic safety organization ‘Veilig Verkeer Nederland’ (VVN). “It is incredible to think you can save your life by wearing a seatbelt and then deliberately not do so. It is the first thing you have to do when you get behind the wheel.”
VVN says the time of campaigning is over and everyone should realize the usefulness of seatbelts by now. “But now that we are confronted with these figures, you can wonder if it isn’t time for action,” says Stomphorst.
“What possesses people not to do so and endanger their own life and that of passengers and cast misery over the bereaved. This can only be seen as inadmissible and selfish behavior”, he adds.
Seatbelt not optional
During the first four months of this year, the Dutch police fined 15.081 drivers for not wearing their seatbelt. If this is representative for the rest of the year, no less than 45.000 culprits will get a fine in 2019. That is a lot more than last year. In 2018 the number amounted to 34.236.
“It is not a free choice to wear your seatbelt or not; it is mandatory for everybody that gets into a car. This study shows without a doubt how irresponsible it is not to wear your seatbelt. You endanger your life”, says the Dutch minister for infrastructure Cora van Nieuwenhuizen.
Other findings of the study
Most traffic accidents are the result of distraction, alcohol, speeding, and dozing off. The latter is often the case with car and truck drivers using cruise control, while driver alert systems do exist.
The SWOV study shows that most traffic deaths follow hitting obstacles like a tree or the guardrail. Rear-end collisions are also a significant cause of death, followed by head-on collisions.
Following the study of lethal traffic incidents, the SWOV proposes several measures the government can take to reduce the number of victims. “Think of signalization on locations prone to traffic jams, especially where it is difficult to see the start of the jam because of a bridge or bend.
But also provide a large obstacle-free zone in dangerous road verges”, says SWOV’s spokesman Rugebregt.