Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

2 Tammuz 5760 - July 5, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Efforts to Curb Traffic Accidents Insufficient

by S. Fried

A State Comptroller's report on the battle against traffic accidents published two weeks ago has determined that none of the relevant ministries has done enough to reduce the number of traffic accidents and victims.

The report examines the efficacy of the battle in accordance with each particular body's assigned role. It does not, however, relate to the issue of traffic accidents from a comprehensive perspective. For example, the report does not examine the question of whether a more efficient rail transport system would reduce the number of accidents.

The report indicates that the National Authority for Safety, which was established within the Transportation Ministry to coordinate government ministries and other involved parties, has not realized the expectations for it. The coordination task has been only partially completed.

In addition, no national information center to compile accident statistics from various sources and conduct surveys, enabling it to adopt appropriate safety measures, has been established. A department for information, research and development to coordinate research activity has yet to be set up. The Authority's information campaigns have not been reviewed, nor has their effectiveness been proven.

Particularly sharp criticism was directed against the enforcement efforts of the Police Department and the courts. Police, claims the report, take a very long time to issue traffic tickets: sometimes only for technical reasons such as an inability to pay the typist who issues them. When a ticket is finally issued, court action is also delayed, so that the deterrent effect simply dissipates. In addition, drivers who have accumulated a certain amount of hazardous driving points and have been ordered to take courses at the Transportation Institute after payment of their fines, often neither pay nor register for the courses. Convictions are recorded only if the fine is paid and the driver thereby admits to his offense. One who simply ignores the fine and never pays is also not listed as a traffic felon.

The report also noted that in the chareidi sector, insufficient attention is given to the issue of traffic safety.

Traffic police statistics show that the number of traffic fatalities during the first six months of the year has not increased from the number during the same period last year, hinting at a possible further drop in the figures by year's end.

In the first half of 1999, 239 traffic fatalities were registered, a 16 percent drop from 1998.

However, the number of injuries as a result of traffic accidents has not shown a similar drop, with only a 4.5 percent drop in serious injuries, casting a shadow over the trend toward lower figures by the dramatic drop rates registered between 1998 and 1999.

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