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Some drivers may be very disappointed with the decision of the Dutch government. A few days ago, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that the maximum speed for vehicles throughout the country would be reduced to 100 km/h. Politicians point out the benefits of this solution.

Lowering the maximum speed of vehicles to 100 km/h is part of a package of emergency measures taken by the Dutch government to reduce nitrogen emissions. The Netherlands has been exceeding the nitrogen oxide emission standards imposed by the EU Nitrates Directive for years. The Dutch government expects that slower driving will reduce particulate matter and nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from cars. A ‘side-effect’ of the new reduction will also be a reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. The limit will be reduced mainly in respect of vans and trucks. 90% of lorries have diesel engines, which emit the most harmful substances, the daily “De Volkskrant” reads. In the Netherlands, 85% of passenger cars are gasoline-powered. 

Advantages of a lower speed limit  

As expected by the government, the lower speed will also reduce the number of road fatalities. If all cars are driven at 100 km/h and trucks at 90 km/h, the difference between the two speeds will be significantly reduced and the number of collisions will drop. This will reduce congestion and thus improve traffic flow.

The Dutch Institute for Road Accident Investigation (SWOV), which has analysed the planned reduction in the limit, sees a risk, however, that instead of motorways, drivers may choose regional roads, a less safe two-lane alternative.  

Photo: Wikimedia/Onderwijsgek

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