Israeli car gadgets that can save your life

Israel has become a hotbed for automotive safety innovations over the last few years.

car crash 88 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
car crash 88 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Israel has become a hotbed for automotive safety innovations over the last few years, but Israelis are not prepared to pay extra for these new safety features, even though the rate of Israeli collision fatalities is extremely high. On Thursday, a conference will be held at the Beit Chail Haavir in Herzlia by the National Road Safety Authority, Or Yarok, and the Institute of Technological Studies in order to promote new technological advances to improve road safety in Israel. "It is a problem," says Aharon Latiot, spokesman for the road safety watchdog organization Or Yarok. "Consumers are more interested in the car's color or speed rather than the safety features." Yossi Avrahami, a representative from the Israeli car company UMI (Universal Motors Israel) said that from what he has seen, "car shoppers are just not interested in paying the extra expense for additional safety features." According to a recent poll taken by Or Yarok, 67 percent of Israelis who own cars do not even know the safety rating of their own car. The country has one of the highest collision death rates - up to 400 people died from car accidents just last year. This is why Yori Dori, CEO of the NRSA believes that such a conference is vital. "The safety technologies that will be presented at this conference are for the sole purpose of improving highway safety," says Dori. "We need to encourage and promote the development of safety technology in cars so that more and more can be done to improve the extreme fatality rates in crashes." The conference will present many new automotive technologies. One of which is the Driver Alert Control system, which is supposed to prevent rear end crashes by giving "proximity alert" warning signals to the driver as he comes closer to another surface or car. Or Yarok's project, labeled "Green Box," will also be promoted. The Green Box is a system that is put into the driver's car and, with a satellite location system, can detect sudden braking, sharp lane changes and any other sudden or dangerous movements. These detections are then entered onto a Web site where the drivers can later reflect on their driving habits. Dr. Tzipi Lotan, chief scientist of Or Yarok, said that she hopes to stick a Green Box in every car, especially those of young drivers, whose driving could be tracked by parents. Meanwhile, new automotive safety technology sales are not taking off in Israel. Price is considered to be the biggest deterrent. "A major reason why extra safety features are deemphasized when purchasing a car is that they are expensive," says Dori. "But if we keep creating new technologies and spreading the need to put more safety features into cars hopefully more and more people will begin to do so." Zvika Yechezkel, a driving instructor who has been teaching for 20 years, agrees that safety technology is vital for any driver. He believes that technology in cars has drastically improved and is a major cause of the decrease in the number of fatalities and accidents on the road. "People die because they're crazy," says Yechezkel. "But by having safety technology in the car the driver will have a better chance of surviving." In the last year there has been a 30% decline in collision fatalities and Latitot believes that this is mainly due to more Israelis investing in safety technology. "We are improving the death rate each year, but we are not as good as we can be," says Latitot. "We have to spread a concern for safety on the road. Only when the rest of Israel shares the same concern can road safety improve."