Group: Fewer Tickets Doesn't Mean Fewer Drunk Drivers

Fewer tickets were given out for drunk driving, but that doesn't mean there were fewer drunk drivers, a road safety group said

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David Lev,

traffic jam
traffic jam
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A report by the Ohr Yarok road safety group said that there had been a 26% reduction in the number of citations given out by police for drunk driving in 2012, as compared to the situation just a few years ago. In 2012, 7,544 instances of drunk driving were recorded by traffic police, compared to 10,000 in 2009.

The report was based on statistics supplied by police, the group said.

According to Ohr Yarok, the reduction in the number of citations given out for drunk driving was not necessarily a positive development, and could indicate that police were being less vigilant in enforcing the law. “Drunk drivers endanger all of us. We need to enforce the law without compromise, and get them off the road,” said Ohr Yarok director Shmuel Abohav.

As evidence that police were slipping in their enforcement, Abohav cited statistics that showed that the government had provided NIS 100 million for enforcing drunk driving laws since 2009 – instead of the NIS 160 million that was supposed to have been supplied. “The more resources allocated, the more checkpoints police can set up, and the more drivers they can catch,” Abohav said.

Some 300 traffic incidents are attributed to drunk driving annually in Israel, the report said, with some 500 people injured and dozens killed each year. One third of those involved are young drivers. Police generally run checks and place roadblocks in areas where young people congregate on the weekend.

According to the report, penalties imposed on those convicted were also lacking. While the law provides for a driver's license to be suspended for 24 months if s/he is caught driving drunk, the average suspension was about 13 months, with a fine of NIS 1,300 attached.