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Virus lockdowns help cut Israel’s 2020 traffic deaths by 15%

Data from National Road Safety Authority shows 302 people died in road accidents over the year, 53 fewer than in 2019

Police at a temporary checkpoint in Jerusalem's Old City on December 28, 2020, during the a third national lockdown to contain the coronavirus. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Police at a temporary checkpoint in Jerusalem's Old City on December 28, 2020, during the a third national lockdown to contain the coronavirus. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Traffic-related deaths dropped by 15 percent in 2020 over the previous year, with 302 people killed in deadly accidents, according to data released Wednesday by the National Road Safety Authority.

The death rate represents the lowest number since 2013, and is 53 fewer than the toll in 2019.

While there has been a general trend of decline in traffic deaths in recent years, this year’s sharp drop is believed to have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic and its many restrictions, which have confined people to their homes for lengthy periods.

According to the figures, 39 deaths were recorded in the months of March and April, when Israel imposed its first national lockdown to stem coronavirus infection rates. In 2019, those months saw 50 road deaths.

In the second lockdown, from the end of September and throughout October, 51 deaths were recorded this year, compared with 62 in 2019. Specifically, over the holiday period in October, there were 24 deaths this year compared to 38 last year.

NRSA director-general Raheli Tevet-Wiesel said in a statement that despite the drop in deaths, the data showed the need for “continued investment of resources in favor of improving infrastructure, education and information activities, making vehicles safer, and increasing enforcement and driver training.”

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