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New Years celebrated in Israel with DWIs, impounded cars, and babies delivered
By BEN HARTMAN
01/01/2014
22 people hurt in traffic accidents, 49 treated for alcohol poisoning despite high police presence across country over 'Sylvester' holiday.
 
The morning after New Year’s hangover was especially rough on Wednesday for those arrested for drunk driving over the course of the “Sylvester” celebrations across the country.

Over the course of the Traffic Police’s nationwide anti-drunk driving operation on Tuesday night, officers arrested 118 Israelis for drunk driving, canceled the licenses of 139 drivers and impounded 83 cars.

The annual enforcement operation has grown in scope in recent years, as New Year’s Eve has become a bigger party night in Israel. Once an afterthought of sorts, and still far behind Purim and Independence Day on the annual drinking schedule, in recent years it has become a major party night across the country.

As New Year’s Eve approached, police launched a campaign against underage drinking and the so-called “kiosk drugs” – mainly cheap amphetamines and synthetic cannabis sold at convenience stores. On Tuesday night, police visited more than 600 stores, destroying around 1,000 bottles of alcoholic beverages and charging around 100 people with selling alcohol to minors. Officers opened 130 cases against people for selling kiosk drugs, and detained and arrested some 390 people altogether.

In addition, they closed 70 of the stores and seized more than 1,000 pills of speed and 1,800 bags of fake cannabis.

On Tuesday night, the Traffic Police began its nationwide operation by unveiling a new national command center in Beit Dagan, near Rishon Lezion, as well as a mobile drunk driving prevention center at the Tel Aviv Port. The center included Breathalyzers for revelers to check their blood alcohol content, a booth with information about bus lines running at night, and a sedan painted to resemble both a taxi cab and a police car, under the slogan “Pick your ride.”

Police put an emphasis on preventing violence between teenagers and promoting the use of designated drivers and night bus lines.

Officers mainly deployed in nightclub districts, but also at major traffic junctions at the exits to cities, where they set up mobile checkpoints to administer field sobriety tests.

Magen David Adom paramedics rendered assistance to 22 people hurt in traffic accidents, including a motorcyclists who was badly hurt in a traffic collision. They treated 49 people for alcohol poisoning.

In other news, over the course of the long, drunken night, MDA paramedics rushed 15 women in labor to hospitals.
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