Last year ended with the lowest number of traffic accident casualties in years, according to information given by the Police Traffic Division. "We didn't knock on 99 families' doors to notify them of their loved ones' deaths," told Ynet the deputy commander of the Casualty Department, Superintendent Bechor Naim.
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According to the police, only 298 casualties were recorded in 2012, compared with 398 in 2011. A third of last year's casualties – 98 of the victims – were pedestrians; 27 drove two-wheeled motorized vehicles and 14 rode bicycles. The rest were car drivers and passengers. Of the casualties, 167 were killed on inter-city roads and 132 on municipal roads.
Another decrease has been registered in overall traffic accidents. The year 2012 saw 24,076 accidents, a decrease of 15% compared to 2011, in which 28,398 accidents occurred.
Superintendent Naim said: "In the case of a casualty the Casualty Department officers visit the families and give them the terrible news. We must locate the relatives and decide who to notify. We never notify them by phone, only face-to-face, accompanied by a social worker and a municipality representative."
The families' responses leave a lasting mark on Naim's team. "The responses vary between shocked silence to screams and shouts, hysterical weeping. There are also cases of refusal to believe it happened. In any case, it is impossible to be completely disconnected. In every case you think of your children, your parents and your family," he told Ynet. "We are relieved not to have to knock on 99 doors. It's less mental strain. Let's hope the decrease in casualties will continue."
The Traffic Division said the decrease in the number of accidents is due to a policy set by Division Chief Major General Bruno Stein, which focuses on unsafe roads, life-endangering traffic violations, vulnerable population and awareness promotion and enforcement in the non-Jewish sector, with the local authorities' cooperation.