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While hundreds of people met outside Rishon Lezion's city hall on Sunday night by only the light of a candle, concerned citizens also gathered around the globe to recognize the World Health Organization's International Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims.
Following their march to the city's Mofat theater, members of bereaved families, road safety organizations and the scouts, as well as public officials like MK Gilad Erdan, gathered in the hall to share speeches, stories and music in honor of those lost on the roads.
According to public relations representative Zelda Harris, Israel adopted the day of commemoration because "the problem doesn't affect just one country; it affects the whole world."
Today, road carnage is considered the world's sixth-greatest killer.
The event - which was sponsored by the Peula Forum, National Road Safety Authority and Rishon Mayor Meir Nitzan - presented a number of speakers who shared their experiences regarding road deaths. There was also a musical performance by the Border Guard, and actor Guy Saguy showed a preview of his play Alcohol Stories. The story was written in memory of one of Saguy's friends, who was killed next to him in a car accident.
While the event heightened awareness of a worldwide problem, its intent was more to commemorate the victims of traffic accidents. Harris said she hoped for an increase in legal regulations on the roads. In addition to a rise in police surveillance, cameras will be in place to remind drivers to slow down.
"It acts not only to catch the driver," said Harris, "but also as a deterrent so the driver will keep in mind not to speed."
Israel has been waiting for the cameras for the last 14 years. In France, Australia, and Scandinavian countries, cameras have already reduced the number of road accidents by 30 to 50 percent. Road safety is becoming an increasingly important issue on the political agenda.
If careless drivers "don't kill themselves, [they will kill] someone else," Harris said.
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