In 2007, a joint venture between the Israel police, the National Road Safety Authority and the Ministry of Finance was launched – "Mitnadvim be Tnuah", which is an extension of the first project launched by "Or Yarok" – a project to encourage volunteering in the police department's traffic units across the country.
In this new venture, the police volunteer force, in the traffic (intercity) division and in the city traffic units will receive an annual budget of NIS 21 million for operating the force, for purchasing equipment, for instructional purposes and for improving the quality of the volunteers. Or Yarok contributed approximately 140 patrol cars to the project, and all ancillary equipment required to operate them. Since launching this project, the number of traffic volunteers has risen from 1000 at the beginning of the project to 10,000 today. The results are visible: increased presence of units and officers in city streets and roads.
In the joint venture, emphasis is placed on activities such as increased enforcement in the area of alcohol, reinforcement of conscious deterrence, etc.
A significant percentage of traffic accidents (approximately 74%) take place within towns. Most pedestrians who are injured within towns are children and senior citizens. The association has therefore decided to act in the area of local authorities in order to help towns become safer.
An examination of actions taken around the world revealed that successes have been achieved when a systematic intervention program was implemented in the town in various layers (infrastructure, education, society and enforcement) by the local authorities in a range of factors affecting road safety in that town. The success of the actions depends on the full cooperation and assumption of responsibility by the local authority leadership.
In addition to the establishment of the pilot "Or Yarok Clubs" (groups of volunteers that will act to increase community awareness of road safety) in several towns, the association will act as a facilitating and influential factor on national and local authorities in road safety management and activities that will reduce the number of traffic accidents and casualties in towns.
Senior citizens' activities with kindergarten children - In this unique program, senior citizens volunteers visit kindergartens once a week to deliver road safety messages through different activities such as games and stories.
Elementary schools - Diverse activities are performed at schools, aimed to train the youngsters to take individual responsibility as road users, and to convey road safety messages to their families.
Gender differences - Involvement in road crashes is more prevalent among men than among women, especially when young drivers are concerned. Not only are women more cautious and responsible on the road, they can also exert positive influence on men. In this program, designed for women only, participants take part in a special training course, during which they acquire tools to help them calm their young male counterparts on the road.
High schools and the military - Or-yarok reaches out to young drivers in high schools and in the army service. These programs address the main problems of young driving, such as inexperience, peer pressure, and driving under the influence of alcohol. Some of these activities involve training youth to be young leaders and serve as agents for social change in the field of road safety. In the army, commanders are trained to discuss road safety issues with their soldiers as part of their military routine, and when off-duty on weekends and vacations.
Lectures in workplaces - Or yarok provides lectures on road safety issues to drivers in workplaces, in order to raise their awareness to safe driving, and to bring about behavioral change. These lectures help create road safety consciousness among both employers and employees in the workplace itself as well as in the wider community.
Lectures to the senior community - Because of the physical and cognitive deterioration with age, there are special road safety issues, which characterize the elderly. In order to improve the road safety of the senior community, Or-yarok has developed special training course, dealing with the main hazards for pedestrians and drivers at this age.
Research provides the basis to all of Or Yarok’s activities and accompanies all aspects of its operation. Or Yarok promotes an Evidence- Based-Safety approach both in its own activities and in the overall road safety community in Israel. For this purpose, it initiates, finances and manages a wide spectrum of research activities and is actively involved in implementing and disseminating their conclusions. Through this approach Or Yarok strives to bridge and connect between academia and practice, in an effort to enhance knowledge regarding the causes of road crashes and their characteristics, and to examine and implement effective countermeasures.
The research activity is carried out in cooperation with researchers from the Israeli and global academic community in various fields, all related to road safety, and in cooperation with research departments of Universities and organizations in Israel dealing with road safety.
Dr. Tsippy Lotan is the chief scientist of Or Yarok.
The Association was extremely active in the establishment of the road safety lobby in the Knesset. This lobby is the largest ever in the Knesset since its establishment, and involves 62 MKs (of the 120 MKs) from every faction. The lobby convenes regularly, and sponsors as well as supports safety legislations, etc. In 2005, the lobby signed 93 MKs on a demand from the government to implement the national road safety program. The association encourages safety legislation in the Knesset, and provides research and data to legislators. It also maintains a regular presence in the Knesset through its lobbyist. Among the laws the association was involved in is the extension of the new driver escorting law, a law enabling the impoundment of cars due to deliberate offences, the new road safety authority, etc.
The Or Yarok Association sees itself as a representative of the public interest in road safety. In this framework, the association will monitor the actions of all the official and government organizations in charge of road safety, and will report to the public about the activities as well as alert them to failures and mishaps.
Among the issues that the public advocacy will focus on are: the establishment of a national road safety authority, the Israel National Roads Company (Ma'atz), the legal system and rulings on traffic, enforcement with emphasis on driving under the influence of alcohol, pedestrian behavior, wearing seat belts, health and safety, two-wheel vehicle, etc.
Or Yarok convenes an international conference dedicated to road safety every year. To date, five conferences have been convened. The conference brings together all parties involved in road safety in Israel – from officials at the Ministry of Transportation and National Road Safety Authority, to Israel Police, researchers and academicians, safety experts from Israel and around the world, road safety associations, etc. The issues that are discussed include road safety issues which are at the top of the public agenda. The conference convenes every year and is attended by the Prime Minister, the Minister of Transportation and Road Safety, the Minister of Public Security, ministers and MKs.
List of main topics of Or Yarok’s seminars, conferences and workshops (partial list):
Children Safety, 2005
Young Drivers and GDL, 2005
Safety Measures and Indicators, 2007
Alcohol and Driving, 2007
Annual Or Yarok Safety Conferences – Main topics:
New Road Safety Authority (2006)
Safety improvements in Infrastructure, 2008
Passive Safety in Vehicles, 2008
Road Safety in workplaces, 2009
Workshops on implementation of research in road safety 2009
Education for road safety, 2009
The Or Yarok association believes that the struggle against road accidents can succeed by focusing and coordinating efforts made by the various authorities, to coalesce into one comprehensive program, a national road safety program. This is an excellent formula for achieving significant success in the struggle against traffic accidents and international experience does indeed confirm that when a country sets the struggle against traffic accidents as a national goal, and determines a multi-annual plan accompanied by performance goals and carries out multidisciplinary actions – they can – and manage to – lower the number of accidents and casualties by dozens of percentages!
In the first half of 2005, Or Yarok launched a large public campaign under the slogan – "Road Safety – Not Fate, but Fault", in which it signed more than 1,200,000 citizens on a petition calling on the government to adopt and implement a national program. The Or Yarok association asked the government to define in the plan, its numerical goals for a reduction in the number of people killed and seriously injured.
On July 17, 2005, the Israeli government passed by a vast majority (19 for, 2 abstentions) a resolution adopting and implementing a national road safety program, based on the recommendations of the committee report headed by Dr. Yacov Shaynin. In July 2006, the Knesset also passed the New National Road Safety Authority Law, based on the Shaynin Report.
The Or Yarok association acts out of recognition of the supreme importance of the uncompromising battle against traffic accidents and of the importance of community involvement in this battle.
Or Yarok strives to reduce the number of casualties in traffic accidents, to influence a change in Israel's driving culture and to reinforce a civil society that is involved and active in the struggle against traffic accidents.
Or Yarok believes that this change is possible by strictly and meticulously maintaining traffic laws, safety rules, cautious and generous behavior while showing consideration for others – all based on a humane approach that endeavors to prevent traffic accidents and their consequences. The people of Or Yarok set the saving of human life on the roads as their prime goal.
The people of Or Yarok will assume responsibility for exercising the association's basic value and will work while constantly demonstrating involvement, initiative and diligence, within the spheres of its authority.
The people of Or Yarok will introduce issues in their entity, in their entirety, accurately, in planning, performance and reporting. They will act so that their colleagues can rely on their performance of the tasks. The people of Or Yarok will behave fairly and with appropriate transparency towards those who work with them in the association and with their partners.
The people of Or Yarok will serve as personal role models in terms of their behavior on the job and in their driving. They will do exactly what they demand that others do, while acknowledging their ability and responsibility.
The people of Or Yarok will work to acquire the professional knowledge and skills required to carry out their job, will apply them while striving to continually improve personal and system achievements. Furthermore, the people of Or Yarok will not be satisfied with only professionalism but will make every effort to achieve excellence in every sphere pertaining to the association's work.
The people of Or Yarok will view their work and membership at Or Yarok as a human and social mission that may significantly impact Israeli society.
The people of Or Yarok will work together in a spirit of unity, friendship and mutual support for the common goal.