Police announced that as of this week, speed cameras are back in business. In a statement, police said that a professional investigation by the Technion of speed cameras indicate that they are accurate, and as such police will begin issuing tickets on the basis of their readings. Tickets that have been issued but were suspended are active again, and need to be paid by November 15th.
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, can expect a ticket sent to them by mail, based on the license plate recorded by the 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.
In a decision last month, an Akko court exonerated 21 drivers who were ticketed for speeding, but were able to prove to the court that the cameras were unreliable. In the wake of the petition by their recipients to the court, the tickets were frozen after they were issued, and were canceled by the court last month. Nevertheless, police said that their report shows that the cameras are reliable, and they intend to issue tickets and prosecute those who refuse to pay them.