Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Adar 5762 - February 13, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
Let's Reduce the Bloodshed that We Control

According to official Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) statistics, in the sixteen months since the start of the current Palestinian wave of attacks, there were a total of 10967 attacks (including shootings, bombings, assaults, stabbings and hit-and-run by vehicles) with 265 dead.

In the calendar year 2001, a total of 537 people were killed in 472 fatal road accidents, out of a total of 17,935 accidents that took place altogether. Though the periods are not exactly parallel, the figures are roughly double. By any standards, the losses from road accidents are much worse.

To be sure, the road deaths do not occur in large accidents with dozens killed and hundreds wounded as sometimes, Rachmono litzlan, we have experienced from Palestinian attacks. Nonetheless the deaths are just as real and the tragedy is as great.

We must certainly do everything possible to avoid bloodshed. The truth is that at this time, more can be done, and much more easily, to lower road fatalities and injuries than can be done effectively to prevent terror fatalities.

In Israel, for each 100,000 vehicles on the roads, there are about 1,300 accidents a year and about 28 fatalities. In the Netherlands, in contrast, for each 100,000 vehicles on the roads, there are 288 accidents and 13 fatalities. This shows clearly that there is much room for improvement.

In 1980 there were 45 vehicles for every kilometer of paved road in Israel. Twenty years later, in 2000, there were 112 vehicles per kilometer. This indicates that Israel is not investing enough in new roads, leaving the existing roads much more crowded than they should be. This costs money in travel delays and both money and lives in increased accidents.

There is also a need to invest much more heavily in public transportation, which gets cars off the roads, lowers travel time and is generally a big boost for the economy. This is especially true of building rail-based mass transit, which is especially effective in safely moving large masses of people such as in the daily rush hours. Work has started in the Dan Region and in Yerushalayim on local mass transit, but it will require several years until the first trains roll.

There is also an important role in Israel for intercity rail transportation. The service between Tel Aviv and Haifa is very successful, because it is fast, frequent and well-run. The heavily travelled route from Yerushalayim to Bnei Brak/Tel Aviv, with a stop at the airport, is certainly one that would pay rich dividends in more efficient travel and lives saved. These investments should be accelerated.

Last and certainly not least is what we can do immediately, to reduce the danger to ourselves and those around us. We must walk carefully, especially when crossing streets. We must drive carefully and responsibly, and not allow ourselves to be distracted by other passengers or telephone conversations. And we can buckle ourselves and all of our passengers up. Study after study has found that the major injuries to passengers involved, Rachmono litzlan, in collisions come from the impact of the person hitting parts of the car or, what is much worse, being thrown free and hitting the ground.

In the zchus of our strict fulfillment of the mitzvah of venishmartem me'od lenafshoseichem may we be saved from these fearsome dangers.

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.