Traffic court judges have the largest workloads of all judges in the country, and and thus there are serious bottlenecks in dealing with cases - some 130,000 of which must be handled each year by 36 judges.
By comparison, the total number of new cases brought before family and labor courts is about 110,000.
According to attorney Eilon Oron, who specializes in traffic violations, two to three months pass, on average, between the time a ticket is issued and the case comes before the court. Initially, the accused are usually part of an "assembly line" process, appearing briefly to declare innocence or guilt. In most cases the parties ask for a hiatus to reach an accommodation. Lacking that, a date for a hearing is set - sometimes a year later.
In most cases, after the end of the period during which a license has been revoked, it is returned to the driver. Sometimes, however, the prosecution asks to delay its return until completion of legal proceedings, which may take time.
The bottlenecks have spurred plans for a reform in the system, with special attention to be given to the "red cases" - i.e., involving drunk drivers or serious accidents. Under the current system there are extensive delays in dealing with such cases, but a new proposal calls for charges to be brought against the drivers involved within 30-90 days of revocation of their licenses immediately after the incident. Also, in "red cases" the licenses will not be returned to serious offenders and their cases will be given priority in court.
Moreover, as part of the suggested reform, traffic court judges will deal with no more than 75 cases per week, and will have one day a week to dedicate exclusively to the serious ones.
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