The most dangerous junction in the Netherlands is a slight bend in the road from Boekel to Veghel, in Noord-Brabant. In five years time four people have died here. This is shown in an analysis conducted by de Volkskrant, which looked into all 4.405 fatal accidents in the Netherlands in the period between 2006 and 2012. Only after the fourth death did the municipality of Veghel place a warning sign at the start of the bend.
Veghel is no exception, the research shows. Also in other places where three or four people died in the last years, it took local governments long to respond. Because of a lack of information, a lack of corporation and sluggish reactions these dangerous traffic places can endure for a long time.
In Groesbeek, Apeldoorn, where at one place three different people died in three different car-crashes, the regional government has not taken any action.
This inertia is caused because of the fact that multiple governments are involved. Sometimes a dangerous crossing is the shared responsibility of the local municipality and the regional government. In case of a railway crossing the responsibility lies both by the railway manager ProRail and the local government.
Lack of information is an important reason for the slow reactions. For example, the municipality of Utrecht was not aware there was a dangerous crossing on the Biltsestraatweg. The municipality is proactively at work to make the thirty most dangerous places in the municipality safer, but was not informed by the regional government. After the third deadly accident, the regional government placed warning signs and made changes to the road.
Governments point out that many accidents have to do with reckless and dangerous driving. In 90 percent of the deadly accidents road users do not obey the rules or did not keep attention, a spokesperson of Utrecht says. The government of Utrecht therefore invests in education and awareness campaigns.
It takes precision to deal with unsafe places on the road. If a road user is warned too often or has to wait too long, the measures backfire. In the three fatal accidents on the railway crossing on Nassaustraat in Venlo two riders that crashed ignored the red signal. In response to these accidents, railway manager ProRail has lowered the waiting time at the red sign from two and a half minute to one minute. ProRail is currently busy with a national research concerning the waiting times at railway crossings. Many accidents have to do with impatience, says a spokesperson.