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
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
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.