The National Road Safety Authority presented the country’s Traffic Police with 50 patrol vehicles on Sunday, funded entirely by the authority.

Aiming to reduce the number of roadside fatalities among pedestrians in particular, volunteers working with the Traffic Police will operate the cars within urban areas only, the authority said. These 50 vehicles, join 25 that were gifted to the police less than a year ago, and an additional 25 will arrive by the year’s end, National Road Safety Authority chairman Dr. Ya’acov Sheinin said in a statement.

Describing the program as a “flagship project” of the authority, Sheinin said he saw the initiative as a fulfillment of the country’s 2005 national plan for road safety. Today, the authority’s goal is to make Israel one of the top five safe driving nations in the world by 2020.

Not only is the authority bearing the financial costs of the mobile traffic units, but will be a full partner in determining their locations and receiving the traffic reports they generate, the chairman explained. The authority is taking responsibility for the insurance, fuel and repairs of the vehicles, as well as providing uniforms for the volunteer operators, Sheinin said.

Within another two years, the authority is aiming to finance an additional 100 patrol vehicles and employ students to operate these units.

Although the National Road Safety Authority considers education and advocacy, rather than enforcement, as its primary activities, the organization does understand that enforcement can be “an unavoidable necessity.” He stressed, however, that it is not the authority’s intention to simply hand out traffic tickets.

“We hope and believe that the traffic volunteers will not engage in a pursuit of distributing tickets,” Sheinin said.

Instead, he stressed the importance of the volunteers conducting patrols, demonstrating their sheer presence, checking licenses and making young people in particular, aware of the rules of the road – as well as “providing warnings and not tickets to normative drivers.”

Also in keeping with maintaining road and vehicular safety, the Transportation Ministry announced on Sunday new services available to the country’s drivers.

Beginning on Monday, drivers will be able to check the amount of points on their licenses at machines set up at Super-Pharm locations around the country, the ministry said.

In addition, they will be able to print out detailed information about a vehicle’s past to make more informed car purchases.

For example, users will be able to find out if a vehicle was previously registered to a rental or leasing company, or if a previous owner still owes money on the car, the ministry explained.

“Giving drivers the possibility before buying, to receive printouts containing information about a vehicle’s past in an accessible and timely manner will increase transparency during the purchase and sale of used vehicles,” Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said.

This service will require a NIS 10 fee with stands stationed at dozens of Super-Pharms all over the country.

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