Israel’s decades-long trend of a decline in traffic fatalities has reversed itself in 2019, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) announced Tuesday as it released its data for Road Safety Week.
The number of fatal car accidents increased by 14 percent in the first three quarters of 2019, reaching a total of 228 fatal accidents compared to 200 in the same period last year.
The uptick in fatalities was even sharper, up by 18 percent compared to 2018, with 249 deaths compared to last year’s 211, a total of 38 more deaths this year than last.
The number of fatalities in car accidents reached a record of 750 deaths in 1975, peaking again with 709 deaths in 1995. Ever since, the number of fatalities in car accidents has been on a downward trend, reaching a low of 316 fatalities in 2018.
The rapid growth of the Israeli population during the same period has rendered the decline even sharper when measured per capita.
Last year Israel reached its lowest ever number of car accident fatalities per capita, at 3.6 deaths per 100,000 people.
The record 2018 figure is nearly six times better than that of 1975, representing a long-term trend of improving Israel’s road safety.
It remains to be seen whether the increase in car accident fatalities in 2019 is the beginning of a long-term trend or a short laps in the improvement of road safety in Israel.