Knesset may form Road safety C'tee

US-born Brian Atinsky, driven by family's death, campaigns for change.

June 9, 2010 21:23
3 minute read.
Bryan Atinsky poses with his wife, Efrat, and two

bryan atinsky 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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A fatal car crash last March that killed four members of one family, including two children, may result in the establishment of a Knesset committee on road safety, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

US-born Bryan Atinsky, whose wife Efrat, two children, Noam, 5 and Ya’ari, 9 months, and mother-in-law Esther Gamliel were killed in a head-on collision in the Negev three months ago, met with Knesset members on Wednesday to urge them to create a permanent parliamentary committee that would examine the causes of Israel’s multiple traffic accidents and behave as a watchdog for the Ministry of Transport, which oversees the National Road Safety Authority.
Atinsky's activism
5 dead in 4 separate car accidents

Immediately after meeting with Atinsky, his father Jordy and his father-in-law Moshe Gamliel, Kadima MK Robert Tiviaev sent an urgent letter to Knesset house speaker Reuven Rivlin demanding that a committee on road safety be created.

“This is a subject that cannot be ignored any longer,” Tiviaev told the Post, adding that he was quite surprised to find that no such committee existed in Israel’s parliament even though traffic accidents are responsible for more than 30,000 deaths since the founding of the state.

“There are so many committees in the Knesset that deal with many subjects but no issue is more important than the war on the roads, which has already killed more than 200 people this year,” said Tiviaev, adding that he was brought to tears by Atinsky’s tragic story. “There are many separate bodies that are tackling this issue but it needs to be brought together under one roof and the most logical place is in the Knesset.”

He continued: “If [the speaker] does not agree to take up this issue then I will call for an emergency meeting in the Knesset and demand that we create this committee. We read about these crashes everyday in the newspapers, we all know what is happening and no one is totally righteous on the roads, so we need to make sure that this being dealt with.”

Speaking to the Post later in the day, Atinsky said he was encouraged by his meeting with Tiviaev and hopeful for change.

“If this works then I am happy that I have contributed to making a change in someway,” said the Milwaukee, Wis. native, who also met with Transport Minister Israel Katz on Wednesday to seek answer as to why key recommendations on road safety have not yet been implemented.

“Katz was reluctant to answer my questions at first but he listened to what I had to say,” said Atinsky. “I told him that there are two main issues that need to be dealt with immediately – the behavior of drivers and better enforcement to change that behavior and implementation of the plan to improve road safety.”

Atinsky was not in Israel with his family when the fatal crash happened and only returned here from the US a month ago. Since then, he has been actively campaigning for greater road safety awareness, including an appearance on Channel 2’s popular Friday Studio with Yair Lapid.

Elad Sasi, spokesman for the non-profit road safety organization Or Yarok (Green Light), said that the organization would greatly welcome a Knesset committee on road safety. He pointed out that two MKs, Hamad Amar (Yisrael Beitenu) and Ronit Tirosh (Kadima) already fronted a lobby for the War Against Road Accidents but that a mainstream committee would be more powerful in tackling this phenomenon. 

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