New road cameras set to be Treasury cash cow

The new speed and traffic light cameras will turn many normal drivers into hardened traffic criminals.

This week, we were informed about the new draconian "enforcement" initiative by the Israel Police Traffic Division, the State Prosecutor, and the Knesset to automatically revoke drivers' licenses for prolonged periods, greatly increase penalties on a range of offenses, and a slew of other totalitarian laws. Almost simultaneously, in January, scores of the new speed and traffic light cameras will begin operating, which will rapidly drive the number of penalty points to the threshold of the new criteria for the revoking of licenses and penalties. In short, a marvelously integrated measure.

I emphasize in advance that the system's designers are not only targeting serious offenders and murderers on wheels, but mainly normal drivers, who currently drive according to the rules of survival on Israel's roads. These are the drivers who will generate most of the fines which will flow into the Ministry of Finance's coffers.

Therefore, beginning in January, many drivers will have to adapt to the new rules of survival. As a service to our readers, "Globes" is presenting some adaptation tips for dealing with the new enforcement system.

Watch the speedometer

The typical speed threshold at which a driver can be fined automatically is 10% above the speed limit. A driver caught driving at 121 km/h on an intercity road with a 90 km/h speed limit will automatically be fined NIS 750. The normal sedan with an automatic six-gear gearbox moves at 120 km/h without effort or noise. Since this is basically the unwitting normative speed on highways, this is where the enforcement system's big money lies.

What can be done? Some cars are equipped with electronic speed regulators. Drivers without them can buy a simple GPS and activate its built-in voice warning to function to warn when the vehicle is speeding.

Do not rely on the driver ahead

On the roads where the cameras are due to be installed, many drivers depend on the car ahead being caught instead of them if it is going faster. However, the new system can take pictures at intervals of less than one second - more than enough to catch every car in a lane, and even two cars side by side on multilane roads. In short, don’t rely on others.

Driving at night

The new cameras can operate in all lighting and weather conditions. We do not yet know whether the Police will decide to operate the cameras at night, too, from the beginning, but it is a key risk for nighttime drivers who do not know the cameras' location and cannot easily see them, due to poor lighting. The solution: navigation systems.

Traffic light cameras

All the traffic light cameras will also operate as speed cameras. In other words, if you're a driver who cannot imagine running a red light, but hits the accelerator when the light at the approaching intersection is green, you've had it. It is enough to cross the intersection "speeding" at 70 km/h to get hit with eight points on your license and a NIS 750 fine - even if the light is green.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 29, 2011

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2011

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