Report: Police Stop Issuing Tickets to Speeders Caught on Camera

A speed camera seen on Route 1 highway from Yerushalayim to the Dead Sea. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Israeli drivers, not known for their reticence behind the wheel, now have one more reason to let their aggression out on the road: For the time being at least, police will no longer issue traffic summonses based on footage from cameras that are supposed to measure speed, and whether a driver is exceeding the speed limit.

The decision was taken at a meeting of top traffic police brass with the police department’s legal department, Hadashot News reported. The decision came after police evaluated the systems and determined that, as many drivers have complained, they do not accurately record drivers’ actual speeds.

Unlike elsewhere, speed cameras on Israeli highways are generally marked with a sign indicating their presence, and they are a fixture on driving apps like Waze. The purpose of the cameras, police say, is to discourage speeding; those who, despite the warnings, continue to drive too fast, could expect a ticket, sent to them by mail, based on the license plate recorded by a camera that observed them speeding.

But the tickets have long been the subject of complaints by drivers, who say they could prove that they were not speeding, and that they had been unfairly called out. There are several long-running lawsuits in various courts, and on several occasions the High Court has also ruled that tickets issued in specific cases were invalid. The lawsuits prompted police to investigate the accuracy of the cameras, and, according to the report, the department was surprised to find that, indeed, they are not accurate – hence the order to hold off from issuing tickets.

There was no word on when tickets would again be issued. Similarly, police have not commented on the possibility that drivers who did get tickets and paid them would demand a refund, given that, according to police, they have more or less admitted that the cameras are inaccurate. In a statement, police said that “we are examining the situation. With that, we stress that the cameras will continue to operate and will continue to record driver activity and speeding. A decision on whether to issue tickets to those drivers will be made after our examination.”