While improved infrastructure has had a significant impact on the rate of traffic accidents, changes in police enforcement have not had similar effects, the Bank of Israel reported on Tuesday.

Traffic accidents have declined significantly over the years due to a number of engineering improvements, such as the addition of widepaved shoulders and dividers between opposing traffic directions, according to an except from the Bank of Israel 2013 Annual Report. Since 2000, there has been a decline of about 40 percent in the number of accidents and in the number of fatalities, the report said. However, since a similar decline has occurred in other advanced countries, Israel’s ranking among them has largely remained the same.

“The broad decline in the number of accidents and the number of fatalities can be attributed, inter alia, to an increase in vehicle safety levels and the use of safety features, as well as to an improvement in care of the casualties and in road infrastructure,” the report found.

In regard to engineering and infrastructure improvements, the report showed that an addition of one meter to the paved shoulders reduced accident occurrence by about 15%, while installation of a physical divider between lanes decreased accidents by about 32%. The existence of a sharp curve in a road increased accidents by 21% and road works increased the likelihood of accidents by about 14%.

In addition, the Bank of Israel data showed that engineering features of roads in the central region were superior to those in the periphery.

The report examined the effect of law-enforcement mechanisms, such as automated traffic tickets distributed by speed cameras and manual traffic tickets given out by police officers, on accident rates. It found that changes in police enforcement did not have an impact on the number of accidents.

The Bank of Israel report recommended that the government establish a comprehensive, national traffic-accident database to study the causes of accidents and formulate an effective policy concerning them.

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