Drop in road deaths in '09

Drop in road deaths in

A study released Wednesday by Or Yarok, the Association to Change Driving Culture in Israel, reported 346 fatalities in traffic accidents in 2009, 100 fewer than in the previous year. The report says that despite the encouraging numbers, Israel is first in the developed world in terms of child involvement in traffic accidents. Or Yarok says the reasons for the drop are better roads, improved safety measures in vehicles, better rescue services, increased law enforcement and improved advocacy. The largest drop in fatalities was registered among passengers. Seventy-two passengers (21%) died in 2009, compared to 123 in 2008. Pedestrian deaths also decreased from 147 to 113. Cyclists' deaths increased slightly, rising by 14. The study reveals that 75% of all accidents took place within cities, but that a majority of the fatal accidents (208) occurred on inter-city highways. Inside the cities, 135 fewer people were killed in traffic accidents, a 25% drop from 2008. Casualty levels decreased among both Jews (21%) and non-Jews (15%). Or Yarok recommended additional resources be dedicated to combating traffic accidents among the non-Jewish sector, which suffers disproportionately high occurrences of fatal accidents - 132 in 2009 - compared to its size in the general population. On Thursday the Transportation Ministry is scheduled to present its annual report on traffic accidents and road safety.