An Ohr Yarok NGO study of Jerusalem drivers reveals about a third are preoccupied while at the wheel and remain undeterred by increased police enforcement.
Volunteers of the organization manned lookout positions around Israel towards studying habits of drivers. They recorded 16,500 drivers in 150 different cities and municipalities in the comprehensive project. The volunteers were stationed at intersections and major junctions and commercial centers.
In Yerushalayim, they recorded 867 drivers and learned 32% of them are preoccupied while operating a vehicle and are therefore distracted.
· 12% were holding a phone in their hand and sending a text message, surfing on social media or reading emails.
· 7% were dealing with objects in the rear seat of the vehicle.
· 5% of the drivers were seen speaking on a mobile phone without a hands-free device.
· 4% were eating while driving.
· 2% were reading a newspaper or book while driving.
· 1% were shaving while driving.
· 1% were applying makeup while driving.
Ohr Yarok CEO Shmuel Abuav says “The grim results represent what every driver sees every day on the roads, drivers who are not afraid of the police and doing almost everything apart from diving. When a driver saw a policeman he stopped sending text messages or speaking [on the phone] and refrained from shaving and reading the newspaper. When a driver sees police he concentrates on driving safely. Therefore, the Ministry of Transportation has to strengthen traffic enforcement and tomorrow, purchase 200 additional vehicles and recruit additional police and students to increase their visibility and deterrence on the roads”.
According to Israel’s Road Safety Authority;
· Sending a text message while driving makes one 23 times more likely to become involved in an accident.
· Trying to reach non-fixed objects in a vehicle increase the chances of involvement in an accident nine times.
· Dialing one’s cellular phone increases the likelihood of involvement in an accident six times.
· Speaking on one’s phone without a hands-free device while driving increases the likelihood of an accident by one-and-a-half times.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)