3,000 urban accidents blamed on drivers running red lights

Shmuel Abuav, CEO of Or Yarok, said the tendency of Israeli drivers to ignore red lights had taken on epidemic proportions.

Three thousand traffic accidents in Israel'slargest cities between 2007 and 2009 were caused by drivers running redlights, according to a new study by the Or Yarok (Green Light) roadsafety organization, published this week.
Roadaccidents caused by disregarding traffic lights made up more than halfof all accidents in the 20 largest Israeli cities, the study said.
Shmuel Abuav, CEO of Or Yarok, said the tendency of Israeli drivers to ignore red lights had taken on epidemic proportions.
"[It] has turned into a national problem, which exacts a costlyprice in blood. It is one of the four most common offenses," he said.
Abuav added that the offense was "one of the mostdangerous kinds. This is a gamble with one's life. It's entering adanger zone despite being aware of the risk."
Or Yarok's study said that in Israel's five biggest cities -Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Rishon Lezion and Ashdod - 1,925 roadaccidents over a two-year period were attributed to disregard fortraffic lights.
InTel Aviv alone, 777 accidents were blamed on the offense, while 456traffic accidents in Jerusalem were linked to a failure to heed alight.
Or Yarok cited a survey carried out by theGeocartography Institute which found that 70 percent of respondents,members of general public, reported having seen a motorist run a redlight over the past year. The respondents said the offense was likelycaused by an attempt by the driver to make the light before it changedfrom yellow to red.
Some 60% of respondents said they did not expect police to penalize drivers who ignored red lights.
"This worrying figure shows that police enforcement ... does not carry a sufficient deterrence," Or Yarok said.
"Police enforcement must be increased, and more cameras shouldbe installed near traffic lights. Today, there are only 47 camerasinstalled at Israel's 1,000 traffic junctions with lights. The cameraswill contribute to deterrence and cause drivers to think twice beforedriving into a junction during a red light," Abuav said.
The Traffic Police declined to comment.