Why Cars Rarely Crash into Buildings in the Netherlands

This week, I’m sharing a YouTube video I found from Koos Looijesteijn’s newsletter explaining why cars rarely crash into buildings in the Netherlands.

The video thumbnail is horrifyingly click-baity, even though the video itself is good and worth watching.

The part I’m really interested in is the process and approach taken by the government that resulted in the solution.

Instead of (or aside from) accusing the driver of being drunk and throwing them in jail, the government also explored how the design of the road can be changed to reduce the overall likelihood of such accidents happening.

The video talks about how North America is big on personal responsibility, and how that places a lot of the blame on individuals rather than on corporations or governments. That doesn’t sit right with me. Politicians, public servants and large corporations ought to take pride and responsibility for our built environment.

I really like this idea of multiple levels of responsibility, and I think it’s how a well-functioning society ought to operate. Sure, we could debate all day about how to apportion the right amount of responsibility, but that’s beside the point and scope of this post.

To me, the main thing is that each entity should approach a problem with a “how can I help?” attitude to begin with; rather than trying to reduce liability and avoid admission of guilt at all cost. When that happens, nothing gets done and the commons is ruined for everyone.

For example, corporate campaigning led people to wrongly believe that America has a frivolous lawsuit/litigious society problem that in turn resulted in an erosion of consumer rights in the country over time.

Here’s another example: in 2004, BP created the concept of carbon footprint to shift climate change responsibility from big oil to consumers.

To be honest, I’m not particularly interested in getting outraged by evil companies and governments fucking over people.

What I am interested in is the idea that countries, like the Netherlands, have systems in place which allow their governments to actively improve the lived experiences of their citizens.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in a world where all countries and corporations were built like that?

Seeya next Monday,


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