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Knesset May Raise Sentences for Hit-and-run Drivers

Current maximum prison sentence for a hit-and-run driver is nine years.

On Tuesday, the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved a bill for its second and third reading that would impose a maximum 14-year prison term on drivers who flee the scene after having been involved in an accident in which someone is seriously injured or killed.

The current maximum prison sentence for a hit-and-run driver is nine years.

The committee also approved for further readings another amendment to the law, by which the failure of a driver involved in an accident where someone is seriously injured to call for help would result in a maximum seven-year prison sentence.

The Public Defender's Office told the committee it opposed the proposed sentence as "extraordinary" and over the top.

It said that in such a case, where a potential perpetrator is under great emotional stress and is not making rational decisions, such a lengthy sentence will not be a deterrent.

A Social Affairs Ministry probation officer who works with hit-and-run drivers agreed. "There must be a message of deterrence, but we must also consider the damage to normal young people who will be thrown into jail for many years with criminals," Eti Segal said.