Coming Soon: More Cameras, Tougher Traffic Laws

Traffic laws in Israel are set to get a lot tougher, as new legislation increases the number of offenses a driver can be fined for.

Yaakov Levi ,

Israel news photo: Flash 90

Police are planning to deploy a lot more cameras along Israel's roads and highways – giving them more opportunity to catch more traffic offenders, for a wider variety of offenses than ever.

A new law will expand the range of operator infractions that drivers can be fined or prosecuted for. Among the offenses cameras will record under the proposal: Leaving the scene of an accident, even if a driver is only a witness and not involved; driving across a railroad crossing at a red light; speeding of any kind, in the city or out of it; refusing to identify oneself to a traffic cop; and more.

In addition, drivers caught with excessive levels of alcohol or drugs in their system will have their licenses confiscated on the spot, first offense included. They will get their license back after 6 months, minimum.

The proposal will also impose an automatic penalty on drivers who demand their day in court instead of agreeing to accept charges. Depending on the offense, licenses will be suspended until the trial date, usually a minimum of three months – or drivers will have to put up a bond equal to that of the fine they would have to pay if found guilty, getting their money back only if they are cleared of charges. That aspect of the law, its proponents said, was to help clear out traffic court of “nuisance cases,” in which drivers come up with ridiculous defenses for obvious offenses, tying up the court's time and preventing proper enforcement of the law.

The law is to be presented during the Knesset's winter session, which begins next week. It is expected to garner overwhelming support from MKs.