Harsher sentences for hitand- run drivers

Knesset C'tee approves second, third readings of bill to deter hit-and-run drivers, letting judges impose maximum sentence of 14 years.

crime scene (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [illustrative])
crime scene
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [illustrative])
The Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on Tuesday approved for the second and third readings a bill to deter hit-and-run drivers, by allowing judges to impose a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment – double that of the seven years currently allowed.
Hit-and-run accidents have become a widespread epidemic that claim the lives of around 18 Israelis every year, and injure another 1,000, according to the Or Yarok Association for Safer Driving, who have been active in promoting tougher sentences for hit-and-run drivers.
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MK Zeev Bielski (Kadima), one of the initiators of the bill, dubbed the harsher sentence “a message to the public that this is the end of hit-and-run accidents.”
“Seven years in prison is not a deterrent,” added Bielski.
MKs Moshe Matalon (Yisrael Beiteinu) and Uri Maklev (United Torah Judaism) also supported the bill.
“Abandoning the wounded is not a phenomenon we can live with as a society,” Matalon said.
However, Attorney Yishai Sharon of the Public Defenders’ Office opposed the stricter sentence, arguing that convicted hit-and-run drivers should be treated by the Probation Service instead of punished with lengthy prison terms.
“An interview with someone injured in a hit and run would be far more beneficial than a harsher sentence,” said Sharon.
“It’s not logical that the sentence for manslaughter is nine years and the sentence for a hit and run is 14 years.”
Shmuel Abuav, CEO of the Or Yarok Association for Safer Driving, welcomed Tuesday’s decision to advance the bill, and said longer prison sentences would act as a deterrent to drivers.
“Harsher sentences for hit-and-run drivers is a welcome step,” Abuav said. “If drivers knew that the long arm of the law would find them and that by fleeing the scene of an accident they faced a severe punishment, they would act as they ought, and not abandon accident victims.”