Police are wrapping up a months-long inquiry into the accuracy of speed cameras on Israeli highways – and they have come to the conclusion that the cameras are indeed accurate.
“The inspection that was made in cooperation with state prosecutors, along with the decision to suspend fines based on reports from speed cameras, indicates that the cameras provided very reliable results,” police said in a statement. “We are assembling the final report and will provide it to prosecutors in the coming days.”
In June, police decided to stop issuing summonses based on the results of roadside speed cameras, after numerous lawsuits by drivers who claimed they were unfairly fined, because the cameras reported they were speeding when they were not. They joined the many drivers who have complained that the cameras 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.
However, the cameras could be making a comeback. Police intended to operate the cameras, or replace them – and even though new summonses for speeding have not been issued, police have been gathering information on speeders, and if and when the cameras are certified as accurate, those summonses will be distributed. Drivers who have unpaid summonses are also expected to pay; the due date for those tickets has been extended to October 15, police said.
In a statement, prosectors said that they had already seen a preview of the report, but that they were waiting for more information on specific points. “The Prosectors’ Office will wait until the final report is officially filed before deciding on this issue,” prosectors said in a statement.