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Nitrous oxide use in traffic
Home Blog Campaign against nitrous oxide in traffic

Campaign against nitrous oxide use in traffic

Aug 14, 2019
3 min reading time

The use of laughing gas in traffic has increased significantly in recent years, according to Veilig Verkeer Nederland. The organization will soon launch an extensive social media campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of nitrous oxide.

Nitrous oxide in traffic increases

Police figures show that the number of accidents due to the use of nitrous oxide by drivers has increased sharply. In 2016, there were 60 cases. This year, the counter already stands at 960 incidents. Most of the traffic incidents involving nitrous oxide took place in large cities. Municipalities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht are therefore strongly in favor of including nitrous oxide in the Medicines Act.

Accidents do not happen just because of the effects of the gas itself. It is often a combination of the use of nitrous oxide with other narcotics such as alcohol and drugs, intensifying the effects of the nitrous oxide. Police also see drivers performing all kinds of dangerous maneuvers by filling or putting a balloon to their mouths.

Is nitrous oxide banned?

The possession and use of nitrous oxide is not prohibited in the Netherlands, but it seriously affects a driver's driving behavior. It is mostly young people who use nitrous oxide before getting behind the wheel. They do not immediately see any danger in it. For example, more than 47% of young people think it does not affect their driving.

Yet using nitrous oxide is not so harmless and can even seriously affect your health. For example, you may temporarily lack oxygen and become nauseous or dizzy as a result, get a headache or even lose consciousness. In hospitals, nitrous oxide is used as an anesthetic, for example. So, using nitrous oxide and driving a vehicle in traffic are absolutely incompatible. Even though the effect of nitrous oxide is short-lived, it directly affects driving ability.

VVN's campaign targets young people in particular. On various social media channels, such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, there will be warnings about the dangers of laughing gas. Furthermore, Veilig Verkeer Nederland advocates a ban on nitrous oxide in traffic. The Dutch Association of Insurers also sees such a ban. "It will help insurers enormously to recover damages from people who cause accidents in traffic because of laughing gas," says the spokesman. At the moment it is still difficult to prove that the accident was caused by laughing gas, because there is still little legislation in place.

Recover damages for use of nitrous oxide

So while nitrous oxide is not currently banned in traffic, it can have huge consequences for you as a driver and your auto insurance. Insurers will look at the risk you took as a driver in the event of a claim. The damages will initially be paid to the victim. Then the insurer will recover all or part of the damages from the driver. If a victim has suffered personal injury, the amount quickly adds up.

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