How Rigorous Driver’s Education Contributes to Safer Roads

The arduous process for getting a driver’s license in Holland is one reason why that country’s roads are consistently safer than their U.S. counterparts.

1 minute read

December 7, 2022, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Crowded Amsterdam street with pedestrians, cars, and church in background

Wut_Moppie / Amsterdam street

In addition to their robust pedestrian and bike infrastructure and safe road designs, there’s another reason that Holland’s roads are so safe, writes Kea Wilson in Streetsblog: the country’s arduous process for gaining a driver’s license.

“Of course, getting a driver's license isn't totally impossible in Holland — indeed, 80 percent of Dutch adults will eventually get one, compared to 89 percent of Americans — and on paper, passing muster at a Dutch DMV doesn't seem too daunting.” However, Wilson explains, almost half of test-takers fail the test in a given year, and it’s almost impossible to pass without rigorous studying.

Wilson describes the test-taking process, which quizzes applicants on a variety of situations. “Test-takers might be denied a license for not knowing whether their cars' heating or air conditioning uses more fuel, or what to do if their vehicle becomes submerged in a lake, or why the design of a sleepy rural road might induce "polderblindness," or zoning out behind the wheel.”

While driver’s testing requirements aren’t the only reason Holland’s roads are so much safer than America’s, it points to one way to emphasize the importance of road safety and ensure drivers understand the dangers they pose to others behind the wheel.

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