idf jeeps gaza 224ap.
(photo credit: AP)
In an effort to reduce car accidents involving soldiers on weekend leave, the IDF has adopted a German program according to which female soldiers trained in road-safety have a "calming effect" on their male comrades.
The IDF "Angels" plan has so far only been implemented at the Tel Nof Air Force Base south of Rehovot.
In Germany, IDF officers said Thursday, researchers found that women had a calming effect on male drivers; their presence in cars helped reduce car accidents by 30 percent.
"The idea is to train female soldiers about road safety and then when they go home and hang out with their friends, who are presumably also soldiers, their presence will help reduce the chance of a car accident," said a high-ranking officer in the Ground Forces Command.
The Angels program is part of a larger NIS 6.8 million plan that the Ground Forces Command's Safety Division, headed by Col. Gvaram Galili, has prepared to combat the high number of traffic accidents involving soldiers. In 2006, 16 soldiers were killed in car accidents while on leave and 54 were injured.
According to the Defense Ministry the costs of rehabilitating and caring for the wounded soldiers is more than NIS 100m. a year.
Under Galili's plan, the IDF will provide road-safety courses for all new recruits starting in 2008.
In 2006, the IDF found that not a single soldier who had taken the course was involved in a car accident. "Our goal is to cut the number of car accidents in half by 2009," the officer said.
The army has also increased its cooperation with the Israel Police and now receives regular updates on traffic violations, car accidents, driver license suspensions and other moving violations by soldiers. The IDF sometimes uses this information to update parents of soldiers or to take away their military driving licenses.