Police Report Decline in Road Fatalities in 03

The Transportation Ministry plans to create special lots for vehicles impounded by police for serious traffic violations, and is pressing for legislation to that effect this year, Minister Avigdor Lieberman said yesterday, as police reported an overall decline in road fatalities in 2003 from 2002.

According to the police, 190 people were killed in 186 accidents on city streets in 2003, a 7.8 percent decline from 2002, when 206 people were killed in 190 city accidents. The numbers, presented at a police conference on road accidents, showed that 274 people were killed in 239 accidents on interurban highways, down 17.2 percent from the 331 people killed in 2002 in 278 accidents.

The Police Traffic Department said police took action in several forms to try to reduce accidents. Project 12, for example, put police on particularly lethal highways around the country, and, said the traffic department, resulted in a 23 percent decline in the number of road fatalities on those roads.

Project 7 put police volunteers on similar roads, and the result was a 4.9 percent decline in accidents defined as serious, meaning fatal. Also, a concentrated police effort resulted in some 7,000 trucks being taken off the roads and 800 drivers sent home without drivers' licenses.

Lieberman announced his plan for the new impound lots at the conference and also said his ministry plans to put up at least 300 electronic cameras on interurban highways to capture wayward drivers on film. He said the minister believes this will also contribute to a reduction in the number of highway fatalities.