YERUSHALAYIM - The government on Thursday published details of a NIS 4 billion plan to reduce the number of road deaths in Israel. The plan entails investment in road upgrades, increasing traffic enforcement, and implementation of educational programs to develop road safety skills among drivers and passengers. The program is set to be approved by the government on Sunday.
The lion’s share of the budget — NIS 2.6 billion — will go to upgrading roads and intersections. According to many experts — some of them quoted in a report on Channel Two Thursday — substandard roads, many of them overcrowded, were a primary cause of road accidents. Roads that currently have one lane in each direction, without a separation between each side, will be repaved, with a second lane added in each direction, and guardrails placed between both traffic directions. Stoplights at major intersections will be replaced by cloverleafs and bridges. And lighting will be installed on many rural roads that are currently without them.
Police will also get a share of the money, enough to purchase an additional 100 patrol vehicles and hire 160 officers. In addition, 200 people will be recruited into the volunteer Traffic Aides program. Under the program, private citizens take footage of traffic violators and alert police using a special phone number, with police arriving quickly to give out tickets.
In addition, the program will increase educational programs to instill in both drivers and pedestrians the importance of responsible behavior on the road. A special emphasis will be placed on educational efforts for the Arab sector. According to road safety officials, Arabs are involved in more accidents per capita than Jews, Channel Two said.