Accidents on Dutch highways up 27 percent in four years

The number of accidents on Dutch highways increased significantly over the past years, according to figures from incident management foundation IMN. Over the past 12 months there were 25,963 accidents on Dutch highways, an increase of 27 percent compared to four years ago, IMN - a collaboration between Dutch insurers and road managers - reported on Thursday.

In 2013 the number of accidents dropped to 20,458, but since then they've increased every year. The increase occurred in all parts of the country, but was the strongest in the province of Gelderland. On the A12 near Arnhem and the A73 near Nijmegen, the number of accidents increased by 91 percent and 131 percent respectively. In the entire province, the number of accidents increased by 45 percent to 3,125 over the past year.

The province of Zuid-Holland saw the most accidents with 5,699, an increase of 20 percent compared to four years ago. Noord-Holland came in second place with 4,870 (+22 percent), followed by Noord-Brabant with 4,366 (+26 percent).

The foundation does not have its own data on the causes of accidents, but links the increase to the increasing use of smartphones while driving. Research shows that more people use their smartphone behind the wheel, and a previous TNO study showed that this behavior greatly increases the risk of a dangerous traffic situation, according to IMN. 

Some places also saw a decrease in the number of accidents. Most of these decreases can be attributed to improvements to the road, such as additional lanes, according to IMN. For example, renovations to the A1 near Amsterdam led to a 20 percent decrease in the number of accidents. And the opening of the A4 Midden-Delfland resulted in the number of accidents on the A13 dropping by half. 

The exception to this is the A4 between Amsterdam and The Hague. Despite the road being widened in two places and equipped with parallel lanes, the number of accidents increased strongly (+59 percent), especially on the new route at Leiderdorp.