Lockdown’s silver lining – road accidents plummet

In Jerusalem, the drop in road casualties in March and April was -42% and -54%, respectively.

A car crash in Nayot, Jerusalem, October 2017 (photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)
A car crash in Nayot, Jerusalem, October 2017
(photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)
A positive side effect of the closure period is a dramatic decrease in road accidents, since obviously, the less we are on the road, the fewer accidents occur. After the first lockdown the number of accidents rose dramatically, but fortunately, in most cases, did not reach the average annual level.

The number of casualties in accidents in 2020 up to August was 11,680 (10,210 of them lightly injured), compared to an average of 16,640 in the corresponding period (January to August) in the previous five years (2015-2019), i.e. a decrease of 30%. The highest decrease was among the slightly injured (-31%), but also among the seriously injured and killed, a decrease was recorded in Israel this year compared to previous years (-19% and -11%, respectively). In Jerusalem (Jerusalem residents), there was also a decrease in 2020 compared to previous years, but it was more moderate than in Israel overall, (at -24%, compared to -31%).

The sharpest decline was recorded in the months of restrictions and closure – March and April. During these months, the number of casualties fell by 48% and 66% (respectively) compared to the average in the corresponding month in the previous years. In Jerusalem, the drop in casualties in March and April was similar, at -42% and -54%, respectively.

After the closure, there was a sharp increase in the number of casualties in road accidents. The total number of casualties in Israel rose from 690 in April to 1,550 in May and 1,680 in June. But even then, compared to the corresponding months in the previous years, there was a decrease in 2020, at rates of -27% and -21% respectively. In fact, in all the months in 2020 there was a decrease compared to the corresponding month in previous years, and with the exception of February, the decrease in all months was of 20% or more. It can be assumed that this unprecedented decline is due to the reduction in economic activity and mainly to the sharp decline in traveling to workplaces, both due to the hundreds of thousands of employees who are not working, and to those working from home.

What activity has not been reduced? Examination by “type of victim” (pedestrian, car driver or passenger, bicycle rider, or motorcycle rider), found that in the number of cyclists who were injured in July and August there was an increase compared to previous years (at rates of + 2% and +17% respectively). This unfortunate increase is apparently indicative of a sharp increase in bicycle use.

All data refer to road accidents with casualties, as published by the Central Bureau of Statistics.