No Driver's License? No Big Deal

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Half the notices on driving license revocations never reach the offending drivers, a state comptroller report released yesterday said. According to the report, 5,589 criminal cases of driving with a revoked license have been launched in 2007 alone, but the police do not have data on how many of these cases have led to indictments or how many were closed.

The comptroller indicated a number of failures in every one of the agencies responsible for enforcing traffic laws, as well as in cooperation between the agencies. The scoring system set up to prevent offending drivers from getting back behind the wheel was criticized as ineffective, and was noted to have been only partially applied to drivers who have accumulated the most revocation points.

The report says the likelihood of identifying a person driving with a revoked license depends on the officer at the scene checking the police database. However, the data on such checks and their results is not being gathered and preserved, making systematic supervision of the implementation orders more difficult.

Flaws have also been found in transferring information from the police to the Transportation Ministry database, which further impinges on the ability of the ministry to operate the scoring system. The transfer of information convictions from courts to police was also found lacking.

Additionally, a loophole in the computer system used to produce drivers' licenses had been found, making it possible to produce or upgrade licenses to disqualified drivers. This loophole had been reported in last year's state comptroller report as well.

Another shortcoming was located in the Transportation Ministry, where medical documentation produced by would-be drivers is not verified. Written parts of the driving exam have also been criticized. The phrasing in their latest version was found to be defective, leading to a rise in failure rates, from 67 percent to 78 percent when taken in Hebrew, and from 67 percent to 93 percent when taken in Arabic.

Many of the questions were phrased in a misleading manner, and some offered no correct answers at all. An internal review ruled out 392 out of the 1,680 questions in the database, leading to a drop in failure rates to 76 percent in Hebrew and 69 percent in Arabic. The Transportation Department in the police issued a statement on the report.

"Synchronizing information between the court administrative system and the police is being currently examined by an interministerial team," the statement read.