40% of those killed in Israel traffic accidents Non-Jews

Report slams road infrastructure in non-Jewish sector.

December 21, 2011 06:00
3 minute read.
Deadly traffic accident [illustrative photo]

Deadly car accident 311. (photo credit: ZAKA / Tzvika Level)


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A disproportionate number of non-Jewish citizens of Israel are killed in the country’s traffic accidents, and there are glaring weaknesses in the road infrastructure in the non-Jewish sector, according to a chapter of the State Comptroller’s report issued on Tuesday.

The report’s results are based on studies conducted over 10 years on road safety in the non- Jewish sector.

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“These studies have found evidence that among other things, there is a lower quality of road infrastructure in this sector,” the report finds.

According to the report, non- Jewish Israelis constitute 40 percent of those killed in traffic accidents, though they only represent some 20% of the population.

While the number of Jews killed in traffic accidents dropped by 26% between 2006-2010, for non-Jews it rose by 18% during the same period of time, the report said.

The comptroller report states that there is no single cause of traffic accidents; rather, they are the result of a combination of factors, including human error, road infrastructure and the condition of the driver’s automobile.

Road infrastructure was a factor in 25-30% of accidents.

The report said that from October 2010 to January 2011 the comptroller’s office examined the work of road safety authorities in the non-Jewish sector and found “deficiencies in the municipalities’ treatment of road safety within their jurisdictions.”

The local authorities included the Arab villages of Kfar Kassem, east of Tel Aviv, and Kalansuwa, north of Petah Tikva. The report found that large stretches of roads in the two villages were unpaved or severely damaged and that the local authorities were not investing money in righting the matter.

In regard to the driving infrastructure in the villages, the report paints a picture of streets that resemble obstacle courses; with insufficient lighting, unpaved or destroyed asphalt, and dumpsters, electric poles, and parked cars randomly anchored in crosswalks and traffic lanes.

In addition, in a sort of safety measure-come-obstacle, the report finds that both villages have a high number of speed bumps, but they are too narrow and on average three times the average height elsewhere in Israel. Many of these speed bumps are not lit or painted and are difficult to see when approaching, even during daytime, the report stated. The non-regulation speed bumps exist partially because they were laid by private citizens acting on their own initiative, in response to local governmental neglect, according to the report.

In both villages, large numbers of crosswalks were found to be blocked by stalls run by local merchants as well as private vehicles, forcing pedestrians to stand before oncoming traffic when crossing the road.

In addition, many of the streets in both villages are without proper lighting, or any lighting whatsoever.

In addition, the village of Kfar Kassem has not developed street safety infrastructure beside the two schoolhouses in the village, despite Education Ministry regulations.

“In the local authorities examined, the [road safety] committees did not fulfill their responsibilities as was requested.

They did not carry out comprehensive examination of the safety issues on the streets or identify their needs, did not gather statistics on road accidents, or the characteristics of such accidents and did not devise a long-scale plan for preventing injuries within their jurisdictions,” the report states.

The chapter concludes that road safety is an issue of life and death, and calls on local authorities to fulfill their obligations to build the infrastructure necessary to reduce the loss of life of pedestrians and drivers.

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