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Feiglin: Solve Road Culture by Making Bad Drivers Pay

MK Feiglin proposes law that would make bad drivers pay – literally – for the accidents they cause.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 6/26/2013, 1:01 PM

Overturned vehicle after fatal crash
Overturned vehicle after fatal crash
Flash 90

MK Moshe Feiglin has proposed a law that would make bad drivers pay for their mistakes - literally.

On Wednesday, he explained the law which will soon come before the ministerial committee for legislation on his Facebook page.

A poll of Israeli drivers found that more fear financial repercussions than danger, he said. He explained that a survey found that more drivers would risk driving 140 kilometers per hour (87 mph) than would risk driving without insurance.

The government should take advantage of that fact to change Israel’s driving culture for the better, he said.

Currently, if a driver causes an accident in which another person is hurt, his or her insurance company covers the cost of the damages. Feiglin explained that his law would make the guilty driver liable to pay damages.

He said that he first noticed the issue after his son David was critically wounded in a 2010 accident. “After many nights spent at the bedside of my son, who was critically injured and unconscious, I noticed a bizarre phenomenon: the state took very good care of me, and also took responsibility for punishing the driver who caused the accident – but the existing approach put an iron curtain between the driver and the injured,” he wrote.

“It seems like a great system – the mandatory insurance covers the costs of the injured party, so that he does not need to deal with the guilty driver at all. Of course we need to keep this advantage of the system.

“However, the advantage in question creates a reality where the aspect of responsibility has been removed from the roads. Drivers – young drivers in particular – do not see potential victims, only potential punishments,” he stated.

Feiglin’s law would allow insurance companies to sue drivers who commit serious traffic violations for the cost of injuries or damage to others. Among the eight crimes that would make drivers liable to pay for the consequences of their actions are crossing a white line and driving through a traffic light that has been red for more than one second.

A poll of 1,011 drivers found that 42.8 percent would drive more carefully if the law were in effect, Feiglin said. Twenty-two percent said they would drive less frequently, while 27 percent said their driving habits would not change.

Among young drivers, seven percent said they would give up their driver’s license if the law went into effect.