A Primitive Society's Legal High

How can one explain that while both "soft" and "hard" drugs are prohibited, the most dangerous drug of all - alcohol - can easily be obtained?

The tragedy suffered by the Lugasi family is heartbreaking. The son, Gil, discovered he had a flat tire at the Morasha junction. His father, Jack, came to help him out, and then a truck, driven by Moshe Cohen, slammed into their cars. The life of the family was changed forever.

Cohen crushed Police Superintendent Lugasi to death. A test later showed that Cohen's blood contained traces of alcohol. Two of the 21st century's evils were at work in this accident: reckless driving and excessive drinking.

We would like to believe that we live in progressive times, characterized by concern for human life and human health. However, our present era is awash with primitive regulations and laughable rules. How else can one explain that while both "soft" and "hard" drugs are prohibited, the most dangerous drug of all - alcohol - can easily be obtained?

And how can it be that driving licenses can be procured by anyone, without supervision, without regular tests or exams and without taking personality or mindset into account? Cohen had racked up 25 criminal convictions and 22 previous traffic violations. His criminal record includes violence, property and drug violations. Should a man like that be allowed on the roads, much less allowed to drive a truck?

This is why a driver shouldn't pass only one test to receive a permanent, lifelong license. Just like pilots, who undergo meticulous exams every year, drivers should be tested every few years, to ascertain whether their health deteriorated. And what if age caught up with them? Maybe they've turned violent and dangerous? Maybe other violations have turned them into "loose cannons," too volatile to be on the road?

Every driver has a license to drive a machine that weighs about a ton and moves at great speed. When driven carelessly, too fast or under the influence, this vehicle can turn into a potential murder weapon.

The consumption of alcohol has become a craze among many youngsters, who "fuel" themselves with considerable quantities before going out. They don't buy this alcohol in clubs; it's too expensive. They buy cheap vodka from corner-shops and mix it with a soft drink, often consuming entire bottles in just one night.

The drinking gives rise to brutal violence, often involving knives and broken bottles, which result in injuries or even death. At the end of the night these intoxicated youngsters drive home, despite all the slogans warning them not to.

Many countries have already restricted the sale of alcohol. In the U.S., for instance, you can only purchase alcohol in certain shops and at certain times - not in just any 24-hour corner-shop. So why not prohibit the sale of alcohol in corner-shops and kiosks altogether, limiting it to certain stores and to purchases made before 7 P.M.? Why not drastically raise the taxes on alcohol - to make it more difficult to buy?

Take Herzliya for example. Mayor Yael German banned the sale of alcohol in city-center shops and in nightclub areas, between 10 P.M. and 6 A.M. Police say that since the new regulation went into effect in the summer of 2007, "crime in the area has dropped significantly."

Alcohol restrictions and regular tests for drivers will undoubtedly elicit protests from drinks factories and car manufacturers. But human lives matter so much more.