Israeli pedestrians took a stride forward against motorists on Sunday with the introduction of new regulations requiring drivers to stop their cars if they see someone about to enter a crosswalk.
The new rules are a step up from the previous demands that only required drivers to stop if a pedestrian had already begun to cross the road. Now motorists will have to keep a sharp eye out for those waiting or approaching the black-and-white crossings.
In addition, drivers must also stop if an adjacent vehicle to their right or left halts at a pedestrian crossing.
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and the Knesset Finance Committee approved the tighter directives, which were sponsored by the National Road Safety Authority.
However, according to Shmuel Aboav, director of the nongovernmental road safety lobby group Or Yarok, the stricter regulations still fall short of what is needed to protect pedestrians.
“The new regulation isn’t enough to save pedestrians from road accidents,” Aboav said. He called for speed bumps and traffic islands to be installed at dangerous crossings and around schools and playgrounds.
According to Or Yarok, in 2014 there were 124 pedestrians killed on the roads in Israel, 30 more than the 94 who died in 2013, representing a 32-percent rise in fatalities. The group said that 60% of pedestrians injured in 2014 were hit as they tried to cross the street.