Judge Ophir Elon of the Be'er Sheva Traffic Court has issued a ruling that could dramatically affect police officers' enforcement of speed laws on the nation's roads. In a ruling that appears to be the first of its kind, Elon criticized the “Devora” radar guns used to track drivers' speed as largely inaccurate, and set restrictions on use of the device.
Elon spent significant time researching the radar gun, summoning expert witnesses and learning about the various factors that could affect the gun's ability to accurately assess a driver's speed.
Among other things, Elon heard that the measurements provided by the “Devora” device can be affected by the speed of nearby vehicles.
Finally, he issued an unprecedented ruling: “In order to assure that no other vehicle (included in this category are trains, trucks, motorcycles or any other type of vehicle) is traveling parallel to the vehicle in question and moving in the same directions, the police officer using the device must ensure (and testify in writing) that there is no other vehicle moving in the same direction as the vehicle the speed of which is being measured within 50 meters, on either side.”
Elon dismissed traffic officers' calls for the defendant, a citizen facing a speeding ticket, to prove that there had been other cars near him at the time his speed was measured. Proving that the speed presented by the radar gun was accurate and not was influenced by other vehicles is the responsibility of the police, and not of the driver, he wrote.
Despite overturning the accusation of speeding facing the driver, Elon did not award him damages. The driver was found not guilty due to reasonable doubt, but the initial accusation was justified, he said.