Minister of Transport Meir Sheetrit says that the ministry will begin to emphasize road safety by focusing on drivers instead of vehicles, as in the past. Speaking at an Association of Traffic Safety Officers seminar this week, he said that he intended to take drastic measures against drivers causing traffic accidents.
Sheetrit said a tender would be published this week for establishing lots for vehicles confiscated from drivers driving without a license, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or driving overloaded vehicles. A police officer will have the authority to confiscate a vehicle, and send it to a lot for a month. The vehicle will be confiscated for 60 days if the driver commits a similar office within three months.
Sheetrit said he planned to establish two shifts of 450 squad cars on the roads and a third shift of 250 squad cars. The IDF will contribute 1,500 soldiers to serve with these squad cars as part of their military service.
Sheetrit also talked about the role of judges in reducing traffic accidents by imposing severe sentences. He said inexcusably light sentences for serious traffic violations greatly contributed to accidents because people “laughed at the law”. He said that he had raised the subject with judges, adding that if more severe sentences were not applied, he would see that they were through legislation.
Sheetrit said NIS 400 million a year would be allocated for road infrastructure from the national road budget of NIS 19 billion approved last Thursday. He said 38% of traffic fatalities were caused by accidents at intersections, and it was therefore decided to replace intersections with interchanges at a cost of NIS 10-50 million each.
The Ministry of Transport is reportedly preparing a tender for the installation of digital cameras at every intersection with a traffic light. 1,200 cameras will ultimately be installed.
Sheetrit said the downward trend in traffic fatalities was continuing. The number of fatalities so far this year was 15% less than in the corresponding period last year, and 10% less than the multi-year average.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on September 22, 2005