After a Year, Traffic Cameras Back in Action

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

Drivers, beware: After a hiatus of over a year, traffic cameras are back in action on Sunday. The cameras will be “fully active,” police said, and speeders who are caught by cameras will be fined, or worse.

Summonses based on the observation of speed cameras on Israeli highways was halted in June of 2018, after several court cases in which drivers challenged the cameras’ accuracy. 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.

There have been 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. But more recent court decisions have confirmed the accuracy of the cameras, hence their revival.

While police did not issue summonses during the 13-month hiatus, they continued recording speed offenders – so police know exactly who was speeding. The question is whether police will issue summonses based on those offenses – and in a statement, police said that a decision on that will be made within several days. Channel 12 quoted police sources as saying that warnings would probably be issued to offenders, but serial speeders who were recorded consistently violating the law over the past year could expect tickets.

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