Shimon Peres 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
With the new school year on the immediate horizon, leaders at the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA) said it is imperative to emphasize to parents the need to communicate the importance of observing road-safety regulations to their children.
Indeed, to help get the point across, the organization recruited President Shimon Peres. Together with NRSA Director-General Ron Moskowitz, Peres answered questions posed by parents. Peres said that if there was anything for which he would like to be remembered, it is that he had been able to save a single life.
“I don’t know of anything that is more important than saving the life of a child,” he said.
Peres advised everyone to see themselves as partners in a national effort to save the lives of both children and adults on the roads. Children, he added, are the nation’s most precious treasure.
“We never have enough of them, and we should do our utmost to protect
them,” he said. If there is a road accident in which a child or children
are killed, said Peres, “we all know what anguish that causes.”
He urged the whole nation to regard road safety as a special mission with which they had been entrusted.
As a political leader, Peres has been driven wherever he goes for most of his career.
Therefore he is not exactly the ideal person to tell drivers how they should behave on the road.
Nonetheless, to get a feel of what it’s like behind the wheel, Peres
embarked on a simulated safety drive which monitored his every movement,
which he was able view on a screen, while buckled up for safety.
To emphasize the importance of road safety, Moskowitz also updated Peres on child fatalities resulting from road accidents.
In 2010, he said, 40 children ranging from ages of under one to 14 were
killed in road accidents, representing 11.3 percent of all fatalities
resulting from road accidents.
In 2009, he said, 25 children were killed.
Transportation Minister Israel Katz told Peres that a special
educational road safety program with pedestrians in mind was in the
process of preparation and would soon be made public. It includes the
recruitment of 100 volunteers from the Arab community, and another 100
volunteers from the haredi community.
These volunteers would work to encourage road safety within their
communities, said Katz, and if the exercise proved to be successful, the
project would be expanded to include the whole country.
Katz did not say exactly what this program entailed – or how it would
reduce jaywalking or deter drivers who ignore pedestrians on crosswalks –
but he said he was reasonably sure that the program would be effective,
and promised that as soon as it is approved, he would present a copy of
the plan to Peres.