(photo credit: Zaka)
Road safety activists warned Wednesday that the State Comptroller's Report into traffic accidents was not all-encompassing enough and did not approach the specific problem of road safety as seriously as it should.
Orna Klein, director of Metuna, the organization for road safety, told The Jerusalem Post, "We agree with a large part of this report, however it seems that the comptroller is not treating road safety as the serious problem it is. Soon [traffic accidents] will become one of the most threatening epidemics in the world."
The State Comptroller's Report, which was officially released on Tuesday, attacked the government, National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) and the Transportation, Education and Health Ministries for failing in the fight against death on Israel's roads.
However, Klein said the main points of the report - the failure by police to investigate traffic accidents and to prevent repeat offenders from getting back behind the wheel - are only a small part of what causes traffic fatalities in Israel.
"While these are serious problems, it is not the whole picture," she said. "The government has to allocate the appropriate budgets, build new roads, fix old ones, raise the power of the police and train them properly how to prevent these disasters from taking place." "The program is simple but it has to be taken seriously," she continued, adding that one of the main problems was the constant turnover of Transportion ministers - 12 since 1992.
"Every time new ideas are set in motion they are halted when a new minister comes in and then we have to start from the beginning again," she said.
"The problems on the roads must be approached from all angles not solely through the prism of finances," she stated. "And it all has to be changed in one go - new laws won't work if there is not enough police manpower to enforce them. Israelis will complain but they will eventually follow suit if the laws are strong and enforced. People need to realize that when they get into their car, it could kill. They need to be focused and follow the rules."
Shiri Eden, spokeswoman for recently appointed Transportion Minister Shaul Mofaz, said Wednesday that he took seriously all the issues raised in the comptroller's report and planned to deal with them appropriately.
However, she said, "He [Mofaz] is only two days into his new job and must sit and study all the facts and figures. We hope by next week to have a clearer picture of what needs to be done here."