Between 2008 and 2013, traffic accidents cost Israel NIS 15 billion, a full 2% of the the state's GDP during that period. That's an average of NIS 5 billion a year.
According to researchers, many of the reasons for Israel's high rate of traffic accidents have to do with poor infrastructure. Many of the accidents that occur annually take place on the same stretches of roads, known as “red roads” because of the many deaths due to accidents that take place on them. Repairing these roads has been a priority for the government, but due to budgetary restraints, progress has been slow. Most of the accidents take place on the 326 kilometers of these red roads around the country.
Now, a new study by the Bank of Israel has put the problem into perspective. While the economy lost a total of NIS 15 billion due to accidents during the period, fixing the roads and bringing them up to international standards would have cost exactly half – NIS 750 million, the study said.
Between insurance payments, investigations, and compensation, each person killed in a traffic accident costs the state NIS 6.1 million, the study said, while serious injuries required an outlay of NIS 1.5 million.
A total of 308 people were killed in traffic accidents in Israel in 2013, 6% more than the 290 killed in 2012.
Adding one meter of asphalt to all roads everywhere in the country, creating or increasing shoulders on many roads, would immediately reduce accidents by 15%, the study said. In addition, building barriers between traffic going in opposite directions, even on single lane roads, would reduce accidents by another 32%.