Police step up presence on highways

Hundreds of vehicles, as well as helicopters, to patrol roads.

police car 298.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
police car 298.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Hundreds of marked and unmarked police cars will patrol the nation's highways over the next two weeks in a widespread operation to enforce driving laws, particularly on Israel's major traffic arteries. Helicopters will monitor traffic from the air, Army Radio reported. Twenty patrol cars and five unmarked vehicles will be assigned to the Haifa-Tel Aviv road alone, an average of one patrol car per four kilometers of highway. No fewer than 46 patrol cars and six unmarked cars will be in action on Highway 4 between the north and Ashkelon. Head of the Traffic Police Shachar Ayalon said Sunday that the police would not pull any punches to "restrain drivers." "There are violations we consider 'road bullying', and we don't let people guilty of them off," Ayalon continued. Police now hold a new trump card in their struggle to enforce safe driving. Three weeks ago, the Transportation Ministry announced the enactment of a new regulation that would allow police officers to immediately confiscate vehicles whose drivers committed serious offenses, including hit-and-run collisions. Officers can now confiscate the vehicle on the scene of the offense, and impound it for 30-60 days at one of seven facilities throughout the country. The vehicle's owner will be expected to foot the bill for the hundreds-to- thousands of shekels worth of towing and storage expenses. Offenses for which officers can remove the vehicle from the road include drunk driving, new drivers driving without an adult accompanying them, driving in a vehicle which had already been ordered off the road due to safety violations, unregistered vehicles, vehicles of drivers whose driver's license was revoked, and vehicles involved in hit-and-run accidents. Commercial vehicles carrying loads over the listed weight for the vehicle can also be seized, as can commercial vehicles whose drivers have surpassed the legal limit for driving without rest.