December 18: Death on the bus

This driver should have lost his license long ago.

letters good 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
letters good 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Death on the bus Sir, - I am outraged. A man with 22 moving violations in 20 years goes on driving a bus and now at least 25 people are dead and more are seriously injured ("25 Russian tourists dead as bus falls into ravine," December 17). When the police say it's not unusual for someone driving that many years to have so many violations, I have to wonder - what is acceptable in this country? A bus or taxi driver should have an outstanding record of safe driving or not be allowed to transport passengers. This driver should have lost his license long ago. It's past time reckless drivers were removed from the road. It's difficult enough to prevent individuals from driving with a suspended license; but I assume a hired driver would have his driving record checked before being accepted for the job. Granted, the road to Eilat, with all its twists and turns and hills and blind spots, is a dangerous road to travel. All the more reason for hiring only responsible drivers. TAMI SIMON Jerusalem Sir, - For a non-professional driver, more than one violation per year is terrible. For a professional driver, who transports many people and/or drives a huge vehicle, to have so many violations is totally unacceptable. How can the insurance providers and fleet owners, not to mention the courts, allow such an irresponsible policy? We constantly read about truck drivers involved in heinous accidents who have accumulated 20, 30 or 40 convictions for unsafe driving. When will someone do something to get unqualified drivers off of our roads? STEVE KRAMER Alfei Menashe Sir, - Until stricter laws are enforced against drivers, starting from the most minor offenses, the carnage on our roads will not be curbed. My husband and I have been driving for over 50 years and our children for over 20. Besides a couple of parking tickets, we have committed no other traffic offenses. If this were considered the norm, perhaps we would witness an improvement in attitude by our society as a whole. HERMIONE COHEN Ra'anana Sir, - Almost 100 percent of the time when there is a tragic accident, whether in the army or in the public sphere, the first thought that comes to my mind is, "They were in a hurry." And of course it is always the person causing the accident who has chalked up numerous traffic violations over the years. The judges who permit these drivers to continue driving should themselves be put in jail. That police officers can say it is not unusual to have 20 driving tickets over 20 years of driving is symptomatic of the cancer in this country. The crazies on our roads must be combated. SIDNEY MARCUS Jerusalem He put his foot in it Sir, - In the Middle East, throwing shoes is a sign of deep contempt, and President Bush's reaction to the attack on him was the omission of the century, illustrating the ongoing dialogue between the deaf and the dumb ("White House: President harbors no hard feelings, punishment is up to Baghdad," December 17). The president badly needs an adviser of Iraqi origin, who might have advised him to retort thus: "Who would dare throw a shoe at the leaders of totalitarian regimes - the Ahmadinejads, Nasrallahs and Assads? Where would this shoe-owner and his family and friends be today had he thrown his shoes at Saddam Hussein?" Bush missed a golden opportunity to emphasize that the Iraqi people were freed from a dictator, and freed from fear. "Guys," he needed to tell them, "that freedom will reach others, inshallah." JOSEPH SADEH Ganei Tikva Bring on the Botox? Sir, - As an ophthalmologist and oculoplastic surgeon, I read with interest your report about Dr. Shohat's Botox injection course for dentists ("Quickie dentists' course for Botox raises eyebrows in medical world," December 15). Because the application of minimally-invasive techniques for eyelid and facial rejuvenation requires far less training and experience than with cutting surgery, practitioners in many different specialties now offer "medical spa" care that seems to blur the distinction between physician and esthetician, and between operating theater and beauty parlor. Botox and injected fillers will indeed smooth wrinkles and add tissue volume, and are the best means of treatment for some minor cosmetic problems. However for many problems, minimally-invasive "regimens" may turn out to be a disappointing use of time and resources. Who is most qualified to advise whether Botox is for you? Logic dictates that ophthalmic plastic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons, and dermatologists who specialize in cosmetic surgery are the best judges when it comes to what can and cannot be done to rejuvenate the face. As with any medical intervention, Botox injections can have undesirable side effects, as your article noted. The effects of Botox generally last for four months, and any complications, such as eyelid ptosis (drooping), a very annoying problem, or lip ptosis, which can cause drooling and speech problems, will last for that same period of time. Be wary of claims from clinics or spas advertising "dramatic" results with "minimal" intervention. What seems too good to be true, usually is. DR. GILA BUCKMAN Ramat Aviv The hoarders among us Sir, - I was interested to read Judy Montagu's "Who's a hoarder?" (December 17). I work for OCD Action, a British charity which also deals with hoarding. I constantly take calls from hoarders and their families, and it is a very real problem. The therapy indicated is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), when you can get it, and there is a support group in London for suffers and families. This condition is more prevalent than people realize, and can cause great hardship. I have close connections in Israel and am wondering what facilities are available there for this form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. JANETTE LAMPERT London Health reporter Judy Siegel-Itzkovich responds: CBT is well known as a non-medicinal way to treat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Sufferers are taught how to get used to the things that scare them, keep them overly occupied or that they hoard, depending on the type of obsession/compulsion. There are such services in some of the general hospitals, for example, at Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem's Ein Kerem, and in mental health clinics run by the various health funds or psychiatric hospitals. Success rates are high, but in some cases, psychotropic drugs are needed, and these are very effective. Credit where it's due Sir, - While I was very happy to see the picture on the front page of your December 17 business section highlighting the visit to Israel by a delegation from the State of Georgia, it was disappointing that the caption did not indicate that the man standing to Maggie Bellville's right was Zohar Zisapel, co-founder of the RAD Group of Companies. The Zisapel brothers were instrumental in jump-starting the hi-tech industry in Israel, and the country owes them a great deal of gratitude for setting us on the course to become a world-class tech leader. Any opportunity to showcase them is salutory. SHERWIN POMERANTZ, Regional Director Georgia Department of Economic Development Jerusalem