(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
In the face of public criticism over the planned placement of new speed
enforcement cameras, the ministers of Transportation and Public Security on
Tuesday announced that all the cameras – 60 to begin with and 300 in the years
to come – will only be placed on roads with a statistically high rate of
The project had been heavily criticized, with many claiming
that the cameras were being placed in locations that would generate greater
revenues from fines, and not in places that would save lives.
meeting that took place between Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz and Public
Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch on Monday, the two agreed that the
cameras would be placed according to risk parameters and not on highways, which
would only serve to enrich the public coffers.
At issue are new digital
cameras that can take a nearly endless amount of photos, have better range and
resolution, than the film-operated ones currently in use, and can automatically
send their photos for review, with the ticket arriving in the offender’s mailbox
72 hours after the picture was taken.
Several weeks ago the
Transportation Ministry released a map showing the projected placement of the
The map was received with criticism in the media and by road
safety advocates, with many claiming that their locations suggested skewed
The 60 cameras currently going up are part of a 12-year
project, at the end of which there will be 300 such cameras spread out across
the country at intervals of 15-20 kilometers.
“The introduction of speed
enforcement cameras together with additional plans, like positioning traffic
police units in the cities and increased enforcement on intercity roads, will
give a boost to Israel’s war against traffic accidents, although there is still
a long way to go,” said Aharonovitch.
The ministers also agreed to
present a united front to the Finance Ministry on the issue of funding the
project, which is estimated to cost NIS 25 million.
Katz said that in any
case, the money to operate the cameras will not come out of the budget of the
National Road Safety Authority, which ordinarily funds the operations of the
“The operation of the cameras mustn’t be at the expense
of the enforcement budget, which is the most efficient tool we have to deter
traffic violators and reduce accidents. Cutting the Traffic Police’s budget
means putting lives at risk,” said Katz.
“There is no doubt that cutting
the Traffic Police budget will be a deathblow to the enforcement in Israel. The
Finance Ministry needs to realize that some of the road victims will be on its
head,” said Aharonovitch.