JERUSALEM (Jul. 19)
The Cabinet devoted much of its weekly session Sunday to traffic accidents, which have taken a higher toll in lives and injuries this year than in the same period last year, the worst on record.
The issue is hardly political, but it is national in scope. The Cabinet discussion was led by Supreme Court Justice Dov Levin, who appeared before the Ministers in his capacity as head of the National Council for the Prevention of Road Accidents. He recited grim statistics.
In 1986, 415 people died in highway accidents and more than 21,000 were injured, 331 seriously. In the first six months of 1987, the highway death toll was 207, compared to 191 in the same period last year. About 1,873 people were injured, 200 more than in the same period of 1986.
In the first two weeks of July, 35 people were killed in 24 accidents and 131 were injured in 104 accidents. Only last week, 19 people died on the highways and 64 were seriously injured.
Levin said the situation must be dealt with by better driver training and strict enforcement of traffic regulations.
He suggested that highway safety be made a main subject in next year’s school curriculum and that more police be assigned to deal with traffic.
Whoever does not know how to behave on the roads should not have the right to drive, Levin said.
In response, Premier Yitzhak Shamir decided to assign the problem to a ministerial committee on traffic safety which is to complete its deliberations within a month. Transport Minister Haim Corfu presented a five-year plan to improve highway transportation.
It would cost $450 million. He asked for 25 million Shekels this year to repair dangerous roads.
Corfu said his ministry proposed to add 142 traffic policemen and to create a border traffic police force. He also suggested a special radio program for drivers which would be on the air 24 hours a day.