Cameras to be resituated along high-accident roads

Move follows criticism that cameras were being placed in locations that would generate greater revenues from fines, and not save lives.

Camera 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Camera 311
(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 accidents.
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.
In a 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 new cameras.
The map was received with criticism in the media and by road safety advocates, with many claiming that their locations suggested skewed priorities.
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 Traffic Police.
“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.