Accidents on Ayalon Freeway Plummet After Billboards Removed

While accidents have decreased, debate exists as to whether billboards are likely to cause road accidents.

The number of road accidents on the Ayalon Freeway has dramatically decreased since roadside billboards and other advertisements were removed on January 1, 2008, according to Police Superintendent David Sadan.

Sadan told the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee that the number of accidents between the La Guardia and Glilot interchanges dropped by 56% between January and May 2008 compared to the same period in 2007, and by 63% compared to the same period during the years 2004-2007. In addition, the number of injuries had dropped 54% compared to January through May, 2007.

National Road Safety Authority chief Yair Dori said that the transportation ministry would oppose reinstating billboards on the Ayalon Freeway pending the detailed results of a study on the connection between the presence of billboards and road accidents.

But safety expert Professor Moshe Bakar, who wrote an opinion for the Baram billboard company, said that the police figures are misleading and the number of accidents have been falling since 2006 before the billboards were removed.

Committee chair Gilad Erdan (Likud) announced that the committee would vote within two weeks on a bill proposed by MK Yoram Marciano (Labor) that would see the billboards reinstated immediately.

Marciano presented a court affidavit from 2006 prepared by Prof. David Shenar of the National Road Safety Authority, according to which there is no scientific basis for the conclusion that billboards in general, and digital signs specifically, are likely to increase road accidents.