Dizengoff St. traffic.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Accusing the Transportation Ministry of abandoning the issue of traffic security, MK Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beytenu) submitted a bill on Wednesday calling for the transfer of the National Road Safety Authority from that bureau to the Prime Minister’s Office.
Amar, chairman of the Knesset’s Road Safety Lobby, filed the proposal to amend the country’s National Road Safety Law, with the support of 19 Knesset members across the political spectrum. By transplanting the National Road Safety Authority from the Transportation Ministry to the PMO, Amar said he aimed to ensure that responsibility over the subject would be managed by a professional body whose sole function is to handle road safety.
“The government recently declared that traffic accidents amass a price higher than terrorism, but it does nothing in order to reduce them,” he said.
“My proposal will force it to finally take responsibility.”
Data from the National Road Safety Authority indicated a spike in fatalities from traffic accidents in 2015, with 354 deaths occurring that year, as opposed to 319 in 2014 and 309 in 2013. In January, already 15 people have been killed in roadside accidents, while 27 were killed in December and 26 in November, the data said.
The Knesset enacted the Road Safety Authority Law in 2006, establishing the Road Safety Authority as a statutory body subordinate to the Transportation Ministry in a temporary order, a statement from Amar’s office explained. In actuality, however, the authority ended up with only limited operational powers and a minimal budget, the statement continued.
“As of today, the central body entrusted with the issue is the National Road Safety Authority, a body whose structure is currently weak and restricted,” Amar said. “In order to strengthen it, we must first and foremost transform it into a body anchored in the law and remove it from the Transportation Ministry in order to fulfill the purpose of its establishment.”
Maintaining both transportation and road safety together under the same umbrella has generated a number of professional problems, such as the fact that one is technically supposed to supervise the other, according to Amar.
“Without the authority, the issue of road safety will be pushed aside, just as the Transportation Ministry – entrusted with the issue today – deals principally with infrastructure and intelligence,” he said.
The MK’s proposal also calls for establishing a mechanism that would ensure that at any given time, the number of public representatives present on the authority’s board would not be fewer than those from the government. In addition, when the government accumulates a surplus of mandatory car insurance fees, onethird of that surplus should be transferred to the authority’s budget the following year, the proposal adds.
The Transportation Ministry did not provide a response regarding the proposed amendment by press time.