Drivers laud roadside speed cameras

44 of 300 units to be activated by month’s end, will also monitor violations at traffic signals.

By OREN KESSLER
January 18, 2012 03:51
2 minute read.
Generic cars

cars 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

Dozens of roadside cameras monitoring driving speed and red-light violations will be operational by the end of this month, and three-quarters of motorists say they support the initiative even if it means stricter punishment for offenders.

Late last month, the Transportation Ministry announced 44 of the cameras would be be activated in late January. In addition to newly installed digital cameras, those already placed at intersections have been equipped to track speed and red-light violations.

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Ultimately some 300 cameras are expected to be deployed across the country – 200 tracking speed and the rest filming traffic lights.

Recent data from the Central Bureau of Statistics show the most common cause of road accidents is failure to heed a red light, while driving at an excessive speed is the most common cause of injury or death.

The new camera-based monitoring system will issue tickets automatically for motorists driving at least 10 percent higher than the speed limit. The fines will be stiff – for instance, driving 121 kph in a 90-kph area would lead to a NIS 750 fine – and drivers who unsuccessfully appeal their charges in court may see their fines increased.

The Finance Ministry estimates the new cameras will generate hundreds of millions of shekels in fines each year.

The first phase of cameras will be spread through several locations on Routes 4 and 2 (the old and new Coastal Highways respectively) as well as on Route 65 in Wadi Ara and the Galilee and several other highways nationwide.

Motorists using the mobile-phone application Waze will be able to identify roadside cameras in real-time to know when to slow down and pay extra attention to traffic lights.

Last year saw a 20-percent rise in driver fatalities. A poll conducted this week by the Or Yarok organization and the Institute for Geocartographic Research found that despite their concerns, three-quarters of Israelis favor the new cameras.

According to Or Yarok, studies show speed cameras reduce fatality-causing road accidents by 35%.

The organization’s director, Shmuel Abuav, said that “in order to make speed cameras more efficient and effective in fighting traffic accidents, they must be placed on more problematic roads and intersections.”

He recommended that a commission be established to figure out the best locations for the cameras.

“Additionally they should be visible and identifiable so that they can deter and warn drivers not to violate the law,” he said. “Money raised from fines should then be used to help combat road accidents.”

Globes contributed to this report.


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