Elharar: Not enough speed cameras are being installed

Devices record 600,000 violations annually but courts can only process 90,000 of them, Knesset panel hears.

Dizengoff St. traffic (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Dizengoff St. traffic
Speed cameras and enforcement were at the center of the Knesset’s latest session on preventing fatalities on the country’s roadways as the Finance Committee and State Control Committee focused Tuesday on a recently released report by the state comptroller that charged many of the surveillance devices were not working properly.
The state comptroller report claimed that many of the camera’s installed as part of the A-3 traffic camera project, which began in 2012, were not working properly and only recorded the most serious violations, such as when people drive 250 kilometers per hour in a 50 kph zone.
The report indicated that thousands of charges for traffic violations had to be deleted from the system because too much time had passed without a trial being held.
Overall, the comptroller recommended the installation of 40 more cameras. The initial A-3 plan had set out to install 300 cameras across the country.
MK Karin Elharar, the head of the State Control Committee, said at the meeting the country was dealing with highway fatalities at the surface rather than doing everything possible to prevent them from happening in the first place.
“It is absurd that cameras are being set up, but not in the proper amounts to prevent fatalities,” she said.
State Comptroller Joseph Shapira, meanwhile, said he hoped the meeting would serve as a trigger for a new way of thinking.
“It would be worthwhile to find out how many new interchanges could have been built with the NIS 136 million that were invested into the project [that could have helped] cut back on crashes,” he said.
However, Yuval Chayo, a member of the State Comptroller’s Office, said the fact that 50,000 tickets were erased from the system showed “a significant weakness in enforcement that goes far beyond traffic cameras.”
Speed cameras have allowed police to catch 600,000 violations each year, Israel Police’s Traffic Department head Yaron Beeri told the gathering but that the courts are only able to deal with 90,000 of them.
“We can’t successfully carry out this project because we don’t have set trial dates,” he said, adding that cameras take approximately two weeks to calibrate, which could have added to issues that showed up in the comptroller’s report.
Beeri added that most of the comptroller’s recommendations have been “learned and implemented.”