Traffic accident car accident 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
The Ministerial Committee on Road Safety adopted on Tuesday a series of measures
to increase enforcement and streamline adjudication against dangerous
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Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, speaking at a press
conference in Jerusalem, said that once in place, the measures would lead to a
revolution in effective enforcement.
The new enforcement plan, authored
by a committee of legal experts in the field of transportation and headed by
Traffic Court Judge Avital Chen, calls for wideranging changes in the works of
the Traffic Police, the State Attorney’s Office and the courts.
suggested changes: on the spot arrest of drivers who committed severe traffic
violations, expanding the number of offences punishable by license confiscation
and re-prioritizing traffic court cases according to the severity of the
Katz said the enforcement plan was adopted unanimously by the
committee members – himself, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman and Public Security
Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich – and was also agreed upon by Traffic Police chief
Cmdr. Avi Ben-Hamo and State Attorney Moshe Lador.
“The plan is
unprecedented. It will lead to more enforcement, quicker rulings and more
efficient punishment. The new plan is part of an overall effort taken by the
ministry to improve safety on Israel’s roads, efforts that include investment in
new and upgraded road infrastructures, investment in public transportation and
improvements in driver training,” Katz said.
“The aim of the changes is
to fortify treatment of repeat traffic offenders and those whose offences
endanger lives, out of belief that stricter and quicker treatment of these
offenders will reduce road deaths,” Chen said.
The new plan would require
extensive legislative changes, Katz said. He vowed that he and his fellow
ministers would do everything in their power to see these made in the fastest
way possible, promised to attend all Knesset committee meetings dealing with the
program and called on the members of Knesset to support the changes in
committees and in the plenum.
One amendment that need to be approved is
the addition of reckless or dangerous driving as a criminal offence; current
legislation only refers to careless or negligent driving.
Committee recommended introducing new offences into the list of those that
warrant removing drivers from the road for 30, 60 or 90 days. The most serious
offences are abandonment, as in the case of hit and run accidents, and causing
accidents as a result of drunkenness, dangerous overtaking, illegal crossing of
railroad tracks, and reckless or aggressive driving.
In an effort to
reduce the backlog in the traffic courts, which are drowning under the caseload,
the plan proposes removing some of the responsibilities of the judges and
transferring them to lower court officials, and defining “Red Files,” cases
dealing with severe offences, as high priority, giving them precedence over more
It recommends that the “Red Files” be heard within 14
days of the offence and resolved within 30 days of filing.
recommendations also call for increased use of electronic enforcement. To
facilitate the increase and to reduce the amount of cases questioning the
applicability of the devices, for instance speed cameras or breathalyzers, the
committee recommended that an independent agency like the National Standards
Institution approve the use of a new device and have the final word on its
application in the field.
Chen stressed that while the plan focused on
the minority of drivers who behaved recklessly, endangering themselves and other
road users, a majority of traffic accidents in Israel involved “normative
She said distraction was a major cause of
“While these offences also have to be enforced and addressed
by the courts, enforcement is not enough and much work has to be put into
education and raising awareness of the dangers of inattentive driving,” Chen