Study: Israel's teen drivers dangerously unsafe

Nearly half of Israeli teens do not always wear seat belts; one in three speed while talking on cell phones.

Tova Dvorin ,

Driving lessons (illustrative)
Driving lessons (illustrative)

Israel's drivers face scrutiny yet again Wednesday, after a scathing report emerges about the safety of Israel's youngest motorists. 

The Or Yarok NGO released a study on teen drivers and safety in Israel questioning 3,000 teens about their driving habits or their friends' driving habits, in order to raise awareness about road safety among Israel's youth. 

47% of respondents do not always wear a seat belt, the survey found, and one in three say that they or their friends often speed and speak on cell phones while driving. 

30% of respondents admitted that they or someone they knew sped 'frequently' or 'occasionally'; 33% said they spoke on a cell phone without a hands-free device while driving. 17% admitted that the practice is dangerous. 

13% of respondents admitted that they or someone who drives them 'occasionally' or 'frequently' drove under the influence of alcohol.

38% of respondents said they or someone who drives them to only occasionally checks for pedestrian traffic; 14% said that they or someone they knew were in the habit of running red lights. 

Despite the lack of awareness of basic road safety habits, the study reveals one glimmer of hope: 83% of respondents 'strongly agree' that passengers can influence drivers' behavior, and 82% agree that they must alert a driver of unsafe driving. 

The study follows a scathing report released on the state of Israel's drivers' licensing system Monday, which revealed a distinct lack of standardization among driving instruction.

While the study did not specifically examine the impact of that inconsistency on safety, it did reveal a link between the phenomenon and the high cost of lessons - as well as the fact that 80% of Israeli drivers fail their driving test the first time.