Three thousand traffic accidents in Israel's
largest cities between 2007 and 2009 were caused by drivers running red
lights, according to a new study by the Or Yarok (Green Light) road
safety organization, published this week.
accidents caused by disregarding traffic lights made up more than half
of all accidents in the 20 largest Israeli cities, the study said.
Shmuel Abuav, CEO of Or Yarok, said the tendency of Israeli drivers to ignore red lights had taken on epidemic proportions.
"[It] has turned into a national problem, which exacts a costly
price in blood. It is one of the four most common offenses," he said.
Abuav added that the offense was "one of the most
dangerous kinds. This is a gamble with one's life. It's entering a
danger zone despite being aware of the risk."
Or Yarok's study said that in Israel's five biggest cities -
Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Rishon Lezion and Ashdod - 1,925 road
accidents over a two-year period were attributed to disregard for
Tel Aviv alone, 777 accidents were blamed on the offense, while 456
traffic accidents in Jerusalem were linked to a failure to heed a
Or Yarok cited a survey carried out by the
Geocartography Institute which found that 70 percent of respondents,
members of general public, reported having seen a motorist run a red
light over the past year. The respondents said the offense was likely
caused by an attempt by the driver to make the light before it changed
from yellow to red.
Some 60% of respondents said they did not expect police to penalize drivers who ignored red lights.
"This worrying figure shows that police enforcement ... does not carry a sufficient deterrence," Or Yarok said.
"Police enforcement must be increased, and more cameras should
be installed near traffic lights. Today, there are only 47 cameras
installed at Israel's 1,000 traffic junctions with lights. The cameras
will contribute to deterrence and cause drivers to think twice before
driving into a junction during a red light," Abuav said.
The Traffic Police declined to comment.