Yael Unger
'Road terrorism'
Photo courtesy ZAKA

Protect us from these terrorists

War on car accidents will only succeed if we treat driving offenders like true criminals

In the interest of full disclosure: Roadway terrorism hit my family, and in one moment turned a lovely 19-year-old man into a shadow of his former self as a result of a severe head injury. He was hit by a car, not a gun, yet the result would be the same had he been hit by a bullet. However, we can reasonably assume that had someone shot him, the police and other law enforcement arms would act in a wholly different manner.


This is how it is around here: Those who killed or wounded others using a vehicle are in a different category. We will not be seeing these terrorists being led handcuffed to court. We won’t be hearing any complaints about the danger posed to society as a result of using a vehicle weighing hundreds of kilograms as if it was a loaded gun.


Indeed, after the license of the offending driver would be revoked for several months, it would be returned to its owner – and by that time, it is doubtful whether an indictment would be filed at court. Yet if a gun used to kill someone, it would immediately be placed in the storehouse of the police or prosecutor’s office as part of the evidence.


However, this exact same attitude should be accorded to drivers who use vehicles to kill and maim others: They should be treated just like someone possessing a dangerous weapon. To that end, we must classify offences of killing and injuring others using a vehicle, as well as the punishment for such offences, in a more severe category.


In order to achieve maximal and deterring punishment, we must establish obligatory minimum sentences for such offences. This will indeed limit the power of judges to exercise their judgment, yet with all due respect, with roadway terrorists running wild these days, it would be good to limit judges in favor of a value that overrides all others – human life and health.  

Another form of terrorism (Archive photo: Hagai Aharon)


In order to catch more driving offenders, traffic observers must be trained – those would be citizens who would submit reports and orderly complaints to police. Any adult would be able to sign up for such course. Later, these observers will be equipped with the proper paperwork that would enable them to document the driving violations they see. They will also be given basic photography equipment (after all, every modern cell phone these days comes with a camera.)


Moreover, in order to make punishments more effective, cases featuring overwhelming evidence should be fast-tracked and handled within days. A person sent to jail over a driving violation would have to undergo a risk assessment before vacations are approved. Roadway criminals are no different than other criminals who keep on committing robberies, murders, or sex offences. We should protect society from them as much as is possible.


This is the only way to ensure that the convenient daily routine of roadway terrorists and their families will end for many years, just like it irreversibly ended for the victims and their families. Those years will be filled with shame and involve high payments to lawyers, loss of income, and possibly the breakdown of offenders’ families – just as happens to so many families where a family member was hurt in a car accident. Only then will we perhaps see genuine change.


Attorney Yael Unger is a consumerism expert who writes a weekly column on Ynet


פרסום ראשון: 09.10.08, 18:52
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