As a Jew and a safe driver, I was pleased that the jury convicted Ephraim Schwartz for “assault – injury by vehicle,” a gross misdemeanor. No one is above the law.
First, to me, using a cell phone while driving is driving recklessly. Period.
Second, I think to most reasonable people, if you have more than one traffic infraction in a three-year period, particularly the kind that involve paying close attention to what is happening on the road, you might want to reduce your risk factor by not using an attention-distracting device such as a cell phone (it isn’t difficult to pull over if you need to — that’s what I do), take a safe driver class, or not drive at all.
Third, I also wonder how amassing eight driving infractions (within an eight-year period, five in that last two-and-a-half years) — including one accident that put Ilsa Govan in rehab for a year and [regarding] which, Schwartz admitted to her that he still had “nightmares about the accident.” Doesn’t that qualify as reckless driving after the fact? Why wasn’t he prosecuted for that accident?
In some ways, quoting Jewish law, driving after an accident like the one involving Govan with his driving record is like owning an ox that is known to gore people but letting it run free. Perhaps it is time to cage this deadly driver.
Fourth, Rabbi Schwartz also needs to consider that his behavior reflects poorly on the Jewish community and his leadership within that community.
From my dealings with him by reading his newsletters, e-mails and responses to my e-mails to him, I have often wondered if he has an attention deficit condition which makes him unsafe to drive at any speed. And I wonder why the Department of Licensing continues to let him drive with all his traffic infractions and injury-causing accidents. I would certainly call him in for a re-test and medical examination.
Finally, perhaps we need to change the number of moving violations in a 12-month period to get one’s license suspended from six to a more reasonable number such as two (you get one “free” ride and then you lose your license for 90 days the second time), and increase the time period to three years. It isn’t unreasonable to expect people to drive safely, is it?
Gee, maybe my insurance would get reduced as a result, (gasp!), and the streets would be safer for pedestrians.