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Court's License Ruling Angers Police

The Supreme Court has overruled police authority to revoke the licenses of “wild” drivers.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 7/27/2009, 6:27 PM

(file)

The Supreme Court ruled Monday morning that traffic police cannot revoke drivers' licenses for long periods of time based on their own interpretation of a driver's record. Any license revocation must be based on clear and uniform guidelines, judges said.

The ruling involves a traffic law currently in effect, which states that the Licensing Authority may revoke a driver's license if he or she “poses a threat to bystanders or... is wild or disturbed.” The Authority selects “wild” drivers based on their history, and those with 100 traffic violations or more are considered dangerous. The driver is given a chance to appeal the decision.

The law was put into effect following a tragic accident in which a father and two young children were killed, and a woman was injured by a truck driver with 196 previous traffic violations.

Based on the law, dozens of drivers who had many traffic violations on record were called in for hearings, and several lost their licenses for between three and ten years. The Tel Aviv District Court upheld the rulings, but two drivers continued their battle to the Supreme Court.

"The Licensing Authority cannot revoke a driver's license using its authority as defined by section 56 without clear and standard guidelines... Only after setting clear, practical and objective guidelines can the Authority exercise its control,” wrote Justice  Salim Joubran.

A senior police official complained about the verdict, telling Maariv, “The immediate significance of this decision is that it will return 'ticking bombs' to Israel's highways. It's absurd that people with 180 or 190 past traffic violations will be out on the roads.”