Dutch use Flitsmeister app to bypass 100 kph speed limit
Speed controls with mobile speed cameras have become useless in The Netherlands due to the popular app, Flitsmeister, that allows drivers to warn each other for speed controls. Last year, there were more controls but 10% fewer fines, according to an analysis of the Flitsmeister’s data.
Hardly any fines anymore
Public services are worried because speed on the Dutch roads is going to be reduced to 100 km/hour as of mid-March. Dutch motorists will no longer be allowed to drive faster than 100 km/hour between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. At night, 130 km/hour will still be possible at places where this was possible until today.
Experts expect that the new speed limit will be violated massively. The police and the authorities wonder how the new speed limit can be maintained if the speed controls aren’t effective anymore.
Since the introduction of the Flitsmeister app, drivers hardly receive any fines anymore. The Netherlands already has 1,6 million users, and the number is increasing by 17.000 per month.
The only chance to get caught is when the speed camera is recently installed. “But since it takes time to install a new camera, the app already has registered the camera before it’s even operational,” the police says.
More controls, fewer fines
In the meantime, the fine for driving more than 100 km/hour is set at 245 euros. But is this sum frightening enough? “If you want a change in people’s behavior, they have to be convinced that they can get caught,” says former traffic expert Koos Spee.
Last year, the police organized 16.111 speed checks along the highway, 10% more than in 2018. That year, 597.147 drivers got caught, against 362.334 last year, or an increase of 10%. “It’s a rat race against Flitsmeister,” Spee says. “The chance to get caught is nil. Experienced drivers know where the checks are posted.”
Most people want to drive faster, Spee knows. “Only 40% of motorists say they adapt their speed, 30% of them refuse categorically to do so, and the rest only respect speed when a camera is present.
At Flitsmeister, they don’t think the speed limit will actually change anything. “People just are used to driving at a particular speed,” says Sjoerd Perfors of Flitsmeister.
With the new speed limit, The Netherlands is returning in time. Half a century ago, between 1974 and 1988, maximum speed on all national highways was 100 km/hour. The measure was introduced to save oil and to push back the number of casualties.
Moreover, many passenger cars in the seventies and eighties were hardly able to drive faster. Nowadays, however, driving at 100 km/hour feels like standing still.
Traffic psychologist Gerard Tertoolen and Koos Spee both expect that the newly introduced speed limit will be ignored massively. According to them, the only way to make people respect the speed limit will be average speed checks. “People don’t see the point. They won’t adapt their speed for environmental reasons,” adds SWOV, the institute for scientific research into traffic safety.
Research will be done now to look for new control methods, like driving speed controls and movable average speed checks. But they’re not available yet.