If speed cameras can’t be relied upon, maybe speed drones can, the Israel Police believes – and in recent days, the police traffic enforcement unit has released drones which will zero in on drivers, recording data on their speed and driving habits. According to police, the drones are equipped with extremely high-resolution cameras – unlike the cameras that were installed on the sides of highways, which, as the result of a court decision, police are currently not using to enforce speeding laws.
Police said that the drones could detect traffic and speeding violations from hundreds of meters away. After a violation is detected, the drone takes a photo of the driver’s license plate, and a ticket is sent to the address where the vehicle is registered. The drones will be used throughout the country, and will be operated by officers who will receive special training, police said.
The decision to stop issuing summonses based on the results of roadside speed cameras was taken last month, 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, but, 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.