One of Israel’s Deadliest Weeks With 19 Road Fatalities

YERUSHALAYIM

Police and rescue personnel at the scene where a bus lost control and plowed into a bus stop in central Yerushalayim, killing three people, Thursday night. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel saw one of its deadliest weeks on record after 19 people lost their lives in a series of fatal traffic accidents over the span of several days.

In 2021, 365 Israelis were killed in road accidents, averaging one fatality a day.

Fatalities included Mrs. Shoshana Glustein and her two young daughters, a”h, who were killed on Thursday night after a bus lost control and slammed into a bus stop outside the Shefa Mall in Yerushalayim.

Also on Thursday, a 54-year-old woman and her seven-year-old niece, both residents of the Arab city of Qalansawe, died when a car and a truck collided at the Be’erotayim Junction along Route 57 near Netanya.

On Wednesday, a 70-year-old pedestrian was killed by a bus on Yerushalayim’s Yirmiyahu Street.

The Traffic Department of the Israel Police has come under fire over soaring death fatalities, with critics arguing the department is underfunded and ill-equipped to properly deal with the matter.

The National Road Safety Plan (Sheinin Committee) recommended as early as 2005 that at least 450 police vehicles be present on Israeli roads during the day, and 300 at night. However, the police received funding for only 150.

Critics also lamented poor working conditions for Israeli bus drivers, who are working substantially longer hours and get less rest time than their European counterparts, causing fatigue buildup that could lead to deadly errors on the road.

Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli’s attempts to implement reforms to address the issue have mostly gone underfunded and sidelined due to political wrangling.

In related news, Israel ranked last in a recent European road safety report comparing regional countries based on their ability to reduce annual road deaths over the past decade.

The report, produced by the European Transport Safety Council, was highlighted by this tragic week on the roads.

According to the report, European countries on average were successfully able to reduce traffic deaths by 31 percent between 2011 and 2021.

Topping the list were Norway and Lithuania, who brought down traffic fatalities by over 50% during that period.

Israel sat at the opposite end of the scale, with only a 4.7% drop in the previous 10 years.

Countries such as Romania and Hungary, both of which have far more deadly roads on average than Israel, were more successful in reducing fatalities since 2011, with falls of 12% and 15% respectively.

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