News article

SWOV founder and first director Erik Asmussen (94) passed away

On September 24, we received the news that on Saturday night, September 22, Prof. Erik Asmussen passed away. Mr. Asmussen was the first director of SWOV and formed the basis for scientific road safety research in the Netherlands. He has been a director at SWOV since its establishment in 1962 through 1985. In 1982 he was appointed as professor in Traffic Safety at Delft University of Technology.

Erik Asmussen has meant a lot to the institute. SWOV therefore thinks back of him with much appreciation and gratitude. Among other things, his contribution to the first Road Safety Declaration, in which SWOV made its vision of and knowledge about combating traffic safety known for the first time, is memorable. This dealt with the traditional approach to road safety through the blame and the accident-prone persons model. Also, under his chairmanship of the OECD scientific expert group, his -still current- vision on integrated traffic safety management has been internationally accepted and adopted.

In the summer of 2017, Erik Asmussen showed his undiminished involvement in road safety in an interview with the current SWOV director.

A striking passage from the Liber Amicorum released on the occasion of his farewell to SWOV in 1986:

   “With this book we hope to pay a lasting tribute to the man who was not only "way ahead" in road safety thinking, but also showed us the way ahead.”

SWOV conveys its deepest sympathies to the loved ones of Erik Asmussen.

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