Try holding them back!

Monday 15 January 2024
The recovery companies that operate on the main road network ("IM recovery operators") outperformed their own efforts in 2023. They were called out nearly 210,000 times, 32,500 times (18%) more than in 2022. This growth rate, or anything remotely like it, has not been recorded in any previous year. This means operators have responded to an extra 90 callouts per day on average. And it is greater than the total amount of incident reports which IM recovery operators (still 200 of them at the time) had to deal with in 2005. Despite shortages on the labour market, this enormous wave of extra work was accommodated without a noticeable rise in response times. And the growth was not just reserved for the large-scale recovery operators in the Randstad area (with the largest cities). Iliohan Borculo, for instance, operating in the Achterhoek, saw the number of IM callouts grow, from 177 in 2022 to 201 over the past year.

Firemen responding to a crashed vehicle among the cow parsley beside the A28 at Hattem on 8 May 2023

Firemen responding to a crashed vehicle among the cow parsley beside the A28 at Hattem on 8 May 2023

A significant proportion of the growth was a result of the increase in the number of reports from the ANWB. If a broken down vehicle is in a potentially hazardous location, the ANWB can ask Stichting IMN's national response centre (LCM) to have the vehicle towed to a safe location. In 2023, this happened nearly 54,000 times, 50% more than in 2022. It was also striking to note the increase in the number of security callouts that were given to recovery operators.

IM-opdrachten in 2023

Callout type 2023 2022 Increase
Vreakdown removal127.820106.99519% 
Unattended vehicle2.9003.074-6% 
Wasted trip42.37836.60816% 
Main road network180.400153.49318% 
Underlying road network29.44123.96523% 
ANWB/Control centre53.84735.99150% 

Securing the incident site is, in principle, the duty of the Rijkswaterstaat road inspectors. However, if there is no road inspector available, Rijkswaterstaat may opt to have an IM recovery operator do this. Under these circumstances, the recovery operator drives to the site accompanied by a second vehicle that can act as a buffer upstream of the accident for as long as the recovery work takes. Given the mushrooming in the amount of work, it is not surprising that this was required much more frequently in 2023 than in previous years.

Edwin Arink of Iliohan Borculo during a job on the underlying road network.

Edwin Arink of Iliohan Borculo during a job on the underlying road network

The number of accidents on the main road network in 2023 increased by 11% to a total of 26,695. This is slightly lower than the record of 27,141 that was set in 2019. If the current trend continues, we will have to prepare for that record being broken in 2024. In the past year, 95% of all incidents were reported by Rijkswaterstaat or the ANWB. The Police control rooms took just 2% of the remaining volume. And the number of incidents detected electronically also fell.

IM-meldingen van 2010 tot en met 2023

Incident Management reports from 2010 to 2023

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