Israel’s overtaxed police forces can’t possibly deal with the seemingly endless
infractions of apparently law-abiding citizens on our roads. But when will the
traffic carnage end? Does our own desire to get somewhere a few minutes faster
mean drivers can get away with totally disregarding speed limits, marked
crosswalks and traffic lights, whether or not a pedestrian is crossing? Perhaps
it is time for citizens to get involved and provide support to our Traffic
With the difficulties involved in securing larger budgets to
provide for more police officers, now is the time to call upon civilians for
help. Such projects have worked well in other countries, and we already have a
core of retired policemen who help regulate traffic.
A volunteer group of
“pedestrian protectors” could be trained to photograph license plates of
vehicles, including motorcycles, driving through marked crosswalks and red
traffic lights when pedestrians are crossing.
Each member of this group
should be equipped with a basic digital camera or cellphone/camera that can note
the date and time, and all the photographer would need to do is record the
location and send the picture electronically to an email address advertised by
the Traffic Police.
The police would then issue tickets to the
perpetrators by mail – not just warnings – and the amount of fines and points
should also be increased.
These pedestrian protectors could also be
involved with tasks easier than photographing a moving vehicle.
could, for example, take pictures of license plates of cars that are parked
illegally on the street or sidewalk, double-parked, or parked facing the wrong
Drivers parking cars facing the wrong direction not only risk
hitting small children and animals as they make U-turns before and after
parking, but can easily damage property and other cars, regardless of whether or
not the street is busy.
If all citizens are encouraged to join in this
project, the impact will be huge – and not only in lives saved, but also on our
society as a whole.
How many other opportunities are there for working
people, responsible teenagers, seniors, the unemployed, parents of small
children – Jewish, Christian, Muslim and others to all work together to save
lives without compromising any principles? And this effort can be done at any
time that is convenient or suitable for them. It is essential that the program
be advertised in Hebrew, English, Russian and Arabic.
What should the
requirements be for this force of pedestrian protectors? The criteria might
include the following: Strong motivation; a handwritten letter, written in the
person’s language of choice, stating why someone should be given the privilege
of serving; and two references from people who know the person well, indicating
their belief that this person can handle the responsibility.
force, of course, will have to approve the volunteers and provide brief
instruction. The police may also want to suggest a monthly minimum requirement
of, say, five or 10 photographs, to justify the use of the camera.
pilot program could be ready to begin within a month in three locations – such
as Jerusalem, Netanya and Beersheba – to work out any kinks that might arise and
develop a more comprehensive plan.
Such a program would not only be
extremely beneficial and easy to implement throughout the country, but would
also involve a relatively low cost, especially when we’re talking about people’s
Fines collected could easily cover the expenses of the program,
including advertising, and free up our officers on the streets to deal with
other crimes. Any additional funds collected could be used to upgrade our police
forces, especially the Traffic Police and its enforcement of the rules of the
More cameras should be placed on roads throughout the country, and
especially at busy intersections. And if regular citizens join in to help the
police in their efforts to halt road accidents, we will all benefit from the
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