Bus accidents at worrying levels in Tel Aviv

Some 726 bus accidents occurred in Tel Aviv between 2003 and 2008.

Some 726 bus accidents occurred in Tel Aviv between 2003 and 2008, putting the city in second place in Israel for the number of traffic accidents involving buses, according to figures released by the Central Bureau of Statistics this week. Only Jerusalem's showing was worse than Tel Aviv's, with 972 bus accidents in the capital over the five years, reports www.mynet.co.il. According to the report, the figures were collected for the bureau by the Or Yarok road safety organization, and covered about 70 cities in the period from 2003 to 2008. The bureau said 4,197 accidents involving buses took place around Israel during the five years, killing 117 people and injuring thousands. The report said that most bus accidents in cities took place at intersections and during daylight hours, and involved buses hitting cars or pedestrians. Some 55 accidents involved passengers falling from a moving bus. An Or Yarok spokesman said that despite clear instructions that buses should pull over into bus stops to let passengers on and off, about 15 percent still stopped in traffic lanes, usually because other vehicles had stopped in the bus bays and were preventing buses from entering. "The involvement of bus drivers in lethal accidents is worrying, especially given the fact that we are speaking about professional drivers who are transporting passengers," Or Yarok head Shmuel Aboav said. "Allowing passengers to embark and disembark in safety is part of the mission imposed on the driver. To our sorrow, more than once we face the phenomenon in which vehicles that are not buses park or stop in bus bays, and so prevent the bus from entering. This is a very dangerous situation for passengers (who then have to disembark in the road), who are likely to be struck by a passing vehicle."