Israel’s Transport Ministry has introduced a new law to attempt to reduce the number of road accidents by impounding and removing vehicles driven by traffic offenders. In effect since Thursday, May 11, police offices will now impound both cars and commercial vehicles for periods up to 60 days. Drunk drivers, especially young adults, as well as new drivers (those without a licensed sitting beside them) will be particularly susceptible to the new regulations, as well as those caught driving after their license was previously suspended. “Drivers involved in ‘hit and run’ accidents, will become believers when they have both their license and their car taken from them – perhaps forever” a high ranking police officer was quoted as saying.

The new law will be especially had on drivers of commercial vehicles as well. These drivers, often involved in scores of traffic violations, will become responsible for paying the costs of retrieving their employer’s vehicle from an impoundment facility that could be 60 – 100 kilometers from the scene of the impoundment. Police officials believe that by having to go long distances to retrieve the vehicles, paying the towing and storage fees, as well as the fine itself, will make all drives think twice before they become involved in traffic violations again. This new reality also will apply to young drivers, many in the midst of their army service, who take their parent’s out for a night of “pubbing” in Tel Aviv and other popular weekend entertainment spots. The law will have no sympathy, without regard for who is actually driving at the time of the violation.

Many areas known for an increased number of incidents will be patrolled heavily by police officers, and special group discussions and lectures are planned for all groups of drivers, especially younger ones who are involved in a larger percentage of traffic offenses. No more will drivers be able run traffic lights thinking they can “get away with it”. An example of the results of this kind of driving was the fatal crash between a school bus and an army jeep in Kfar Yonah a couple of years back.

Though the number of traffic fatalities has reduced a bit in past the two years, the number of accidents has actually increased, with more and being caused by male drivers in the 18-24 age group – the highest classification for insurance risks. Though the metro Tel Aviv area, including communities like Rishon Lezion, Herzlia, and Raanana, appear to have to most traffic accidents, other cities will be patrolled more effectively as well.

After waiting up to two months to get ones car back, and paying up to NS4,000 in storage and fines, all those involved will become believers – the hard way.