(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Knesset Economic Affairs Committee will begin hearings Tuesday on a law to
reduce the number of children killed in collisions by employing strict measures
against drivers who fail to make sure that kids have buckled up.
bill, sponsored by MK Avi Dichter (Kadima) and cosponsored by MK Danny Danon
(Likud), would raise the current fine for not seeing to it that minors above the
age of 12 are seat-belted from NIS 250 to NIS 1,000.
drivers found not to have ensured that children under 12 are buckled in
appropriate seats may have their license suspended for up to three
Dichter’s bill enjoys wide support within the Knesset, and among
its co-signers is Economic Affairs Committee chairman MK Ophir Akunis
B’Terem said in advance of the committee meeting that traveling
in vehicles without appropriate restraints is the main risk factor for child
vehicular fatalities. Data from the children’s safety organization said that 29%
of collision deaths among children in Israel are among those who were not
properly restrained in the vehicles.
They cited research by American road
safety authorities that children who are not restrained properly are 3.5 times
more likely to be seriously injured in a collision than children who are
properly secured, while car seats and age-appropriate boosters reduce by 71% the
death and injury rates among infants, 54% among toddlers and 59% the injury rate
among children up to the age of nine.
Meanwhile, Israeli data indicated
that in 2009, the number of children in Israel restrained in vehicles in
accordance with the law actually declined. Over half of Israeli infants,
indicated the National Authority for Children’s Safety, were not properly
restrained while traveling, while almost 80% of children between the ages of
five and nine were improperly buckled or not wearing seatbelts at all.