Road-safety plan aims to sharply cut traffic fatalities

Recommendations formulated by Sheinin C'tee include improving infrastructure in Arab communities, adding police cars on main roadways.

Deadly car accident 311 (photo credit: ZAKA / Tzvika Level)
Deadly car accident 311
(photo credit: ZAKA / Tzvika Level)
A multi-year road safety plan aims to sharply reduce traffic-related deaths through infrastructure investment and an expanded police presence.
Recommendations being formulated by the Sheinin Committee – and set to be presented to Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz in September – include improving infrastructure in Arab communities and adding police-patrol cars on Israel’s main roadways.
Last year saw 370 traffic fatalities nationwide. This year has already brought 227 fatalities, a 5 percent rise from last year.
Experts have been calling for a comprehensive traffic reform plan for years. Several months ago Katz asked Yaakov Sheinin, head of a government committee to combat traffic accidents, to draft a detailed program for reducing road fatalities. On Thursday, Army Radio reported officials were nearing the final stages of completing their recommendations.
Among the recommendations expected to be presented are raising the traffic police budget by NIS 160 million annually to put 450 traffic police cars on the road. Infrastructure, including additional traffic lights and road markers will be added in Arab communities as well.
The recommendations have already been accepted in principle, and Katz has given Sheinin the red light to continue the committee’s work. The panel had raised similar ideas in the past, but never mustered the political clout to have them implemented.
“When we started five years ago, there were 505 casualties, and we set a goal of reducing the death toll to 360 by 2010,” Sheinin told Army Radio. “Over the last five years we’ve been working to improve inter-city infrastructure, and today it is much better than before. The issue we haven’t yet addressed is the traffic police ... If their presence is expanded on main arteries, things will look completely different.”