Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz.
(photo credit: FACEBOOK)
In an effort to reduce the number of accidents on the roads, the government approved on Sunday a plan to finance the mandatory installation of new safety systems in heavy vehicles.
“These are life-saving systems of lane departure control, frontal distance monitoring and pedestrian detection, which will be installed in vehicles from year 2000 onwards,” said Transportation Minister Israel Katz. “Buses and trucks will be required to install the system.”
The systems will be financed entirely by the state, ensuring vehicle operators do not have to bear any of the burden in purchasing and installing the safety devices, according to the minister. Following the cabinet’s approval of Katz’s plan on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to appoint a joint committee of Finance and Transportation ministry representatives, in order to determine precisely how the government will be financing the systems.
The first of the three devices – the lane departure control system – warns drivers when they deviate from their lane of travel, the Transportation Ministry explained.
Meanwhile, the frontal distance monitoring apparatus of the vehicle, as well as alert drivers when they are not maintaining ample distance in front of them.
The pedestrian detection system identifies people crossing or walking on the road nearby. This system is able to pinpoint pedestrians and other objects located in the blind spots around the bus or truck, with an aim of ensuring maximum safety of street walkers both in front of an around the vehicle, the ministry said.
Katz’s plan requires that all buses and trucks manufactured in the year 2000 and onward install the systems, as a precondition for renewing their licenses.
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A study conducted by the Transportation Ministry indicated that 93 percent of all road accidents are caused by human errors, also demonstrating that 80% of such accidents could be prevented by early warning systems.
According to the minister, the selected systems could significantly contribute to saving lives by curbing these incidents.
Road accidents cost the economy about NIS 14.5 billion each year, taking into account workdays lost, injuries, property damage, hospitalization time and resultant traffic jobs, ministry data showed.
In 2014, about 40,000 lane departure control, frontal distance monitoring and pedestrian detection systems were already installed in vehicles in the country, saving 11 lives, the data said. By installing such devices in heavy vehicles, dozens of people could be saved each year.
Shmuel Aboav, CEO of road safety organization Or Yarok, welcomed the government’s decision, stressing that Or Yarok has long supported and encouraged this move.
“This is an important step in the fight against road accidents,” he said. “Those who first need to make use of the safety devices are vehicles under government service. In addition, tenders for government vehicles must now include all life-saving safety accessories, so that after they are sold, the public can benefit from a safe vehicle.”
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