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Traffic accidents soar in 2021, with almost 300 killed

Road Safety Authority head calls on ‘the government, local authorities, the police and all of us who use the roads’ to take responsibility for putting an end to such disasters

Amy Spiro is a reporter and writer with The Times of Israel.

The scene of a serious accident between a bus and two cars on Route 89 in the northern Galilee, September 29, 2021. (David Cohen/Flash90)
The scene of a serious accident between a bus and two cars on Route 89 in the northern Galilee, September 29, 2021. (David Cohen/Flash90)

Since the beginning of 2021, almost 300 people have been killed in traffic accidents on Israel’s roads, making it the deadliest year since 2017, according to figures collated by the National Road Safety Authority.

The Road Safety Authority, which gathers statistics on traffic accidents daily, released updated figures to mark Road Safety Week, aimed at raising awareness over the deadly toll exacted on Israel’s streets each day.

Until this point in 2021, 299 people have been killed in traffic accidents in Israel, compared to 253 for the same period in 2020 — an 18 percent increase. During the same period in 2019, 269 people were killed, and 238 in 2018. The number of overall deadly accidents this year has also gone up, from 238 during the same period last year to 253 so far in 2021.

In the entire 2020, 305 people were killed in traffic accidents, compared to 355 in 2019 and 317 in 2018. Of those killed so far this year, 17 were under age 25, 33 were over age 65, and 78 were pedestrians.

“The fight against the carnage on the roads is a national goal that everyone must take part in — the government, local authorities, the police and all of us who use the roads,” said acting Road Safety Authority head Snir Zaidel. “The carnage on the roads can only be stopped through a national, long-term program formulated by the Transportation Ministry and the Road Safety Authority, which prioritizes vulnerable travelers and takes into account the increase in population and travel, along with a significant improvement in public transportation.”

On Monday evening, a collection of nonprofits and government agencies will hold an annual ceremony in Ramat Gan to commemorate those killed in traffic accidents, and on Tuesday a series of Knesset committees will hold hearings relating to the issue.

Earlier this month, the Road Safety Authority launched a PSA on television and digital platforms warning drivers to slow down on the roads. In the clip, a speeding driver suddenly finds pedestrians in his car who remind him that if he slows down, he could save their lives.

The statistics for 2021 so far also show an increase in fatal accidents that involve a heavy vehicle, like a truck or bus — 78 compared to 59 for the same period in 2020. There was also an 33% growth in deadly accidents that involved a bicycle so far this year.

Last month, five people were killed — including a mother and her three children — and dozens injured in a traffic accident in Israel’s north, where a bus carrying children and teenagers smashed into two cars on Route 89 near the town of Hurfeish.

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