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
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
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.