In May 2006, a new law went into effect, as part of the Ministry's plan for fighting road accidents. The hope is that intimidating drivers with severe consequences will cause them to think twice before violating a traffic law.
Recent reviews showed that past punishments and fines given to severe traffic violators are not sufficient and that the possibility of confiscation and an extremely high fine can be an additional mean to dealing with severe traffic violators. The Ministry of Public Security has followed closely the legislation process and the Minister of Public Security set the regulations for the implementation of the law.
The following is an extracted portion of the new law, and lists the traffic violations for which a police officer of judge may order the confiscation of a vehicle:
- Freight transport beyond the weight allowed by the vehicle's license.
- Transporting a larger number of passengers than the law permits
- Transporting paying passengers without a permit
- Cabs transporting a number of passengers beyond the vehicle permit
- Driving a public vehicle, private bus or commercial vehicle beyond the amount of hours a day allowed by the law
- Driving a vehicle which has been banned from the road
- Driving a vehicle without a vehicle license
- Vehicle owner who allows someone to drive without a license for that type of vehicle
- Driving with an invalid license
- A new driver (within first six months) driving without an experienced escort and a young driver (under 21) transporting more than two passengers without an experienced escort.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
- A driver who was involved in a hit and run – abandoning an injured person on the site of an accident.
In any one of these cases, a police officer is allowed to confiscate the vehicle for a period of 30 days. In a case in which the vehicle had been taken off the streets in the 3 years prior to the current violation, the vehicle can be confiscated for a period of 60 days. A court of law is entitled to further order the confiscation of the vehicle for up to 120 days.
The law states the confiscated vehicles will be kept in authorized parking lots that meet the standards set by the Israel Police such as 24 hour supervision, a surrounding fence, accessible by public transportation, proper lighting, a sufficient alarm and closed circuit camera system, proper size and required insurance.
The law also states that following receiving a confiscation order, the owner of the vehicle must deliver his car to the closest authorized parking lot and must personally cover the costs of storing the vehicle.
To date, over 500 vehicles have been confiscated by the Israel Police all of which are stored in seven private parking lots across Israel that are authorized to store confiscated vehicles. Upon receiving a confiscation order, the vehicle owner or driver is allowed to appeal the decision before a judge.
The hope is that this new law will minimize traffic violations, thus drastically reducing the amount of road accidents in Israel