Screen shots from video, Channel 2
Screen shots from the video, showing the men (right) and the speedometer hitting 260. Photo by Channel 2
Text size

The national traffic police yesterday charged three men from Acre, all 23, who allegedly filmed themselves traveling at 260 kph in a private car and uploaded the clip on Facebook. The video's notoriety spread and was picked up by the national media in August. This is the first time charges in Israel have been based on a video from the popular social network.

The video clip shows a driver and two passengers traveling in a BMW on the coastal highway (Route No.2 ) from Tel Aviv to Haifa. The car's speedometer, shown in the footage, clearly points to 260 kph, 170 kph over the highway's speed limit.

Police said the two passengers actively encouraged the driver to break the speed limit, contributing to the atmosphere and the circumstances of breaking the law. Besides filming the alleged offense, the perpetrators reportedly debated where on the Internet to upload the clip with one passenger saying: "For YouTube ... film me ... glue that scale [on the speedometer]" and another saying, "I can't believe it. Netanya to Haifa in nine minutes. Wow." The two also clapped their hands as the driver picked up speed.

The driver has been charged with negligent driving and endangering human life by driving at an unreasonable speed. "His driving at 260 kph was, in effect, a game of Russian roulette, and it was a miracle the incident didn't end with serious injury or worse for the passengers or passersby," the indictment said. Police also requested to revoke the driver's license until the legal process is complete.

The two passengers, the prosecution argued, were guilty of inciting negligent driving and inciting to drive over the speed limit.

"The prosecution is trying to build an indictment on a video shot on a cell phone," said defense attorneys Ziv Gilad and Ronit Gilad. "The video clip is not a measuring instrument acceptable in court. Cars of the make described in the indictment are limited to 250 kph by their manufacturers, so the car couldn't have traveled at 260 kph."

The defense added: "The footage clearly shows all the malfunction lights in the car alight, which means there was no longer any possibility to measure the vehicle's speed, even if the footage is relied on."