First traffic cameras operational as of today | Cyprus Mail

The pilot operation of eight traffic cameras – four fixed and four mobile- started on Monday morning with the aim of reducing road accidents.

The cameras, installed as part of the initial phase of a €35m traffic-camera system, recorded about 500 violations in just two hours at a busy junction in central Nicosia last week.

However, authorities decided than no fines will be issued during the first two months of operation, with warnings sent to all traffic offenders.

The installation was completed after the relevant legislation was approved last Thursday by parliament.

The contract for the cameras concerns the design, installation, operation and maintenance of the traffic-camera system. It includes 90 fixed cameras in 30 locations around the island to cover black spots on the road network, as well as 20 mobile cameras which police will determine their location and operating hours on a daily basis.

Cameras will report speeding, running a red light and crossing a stop line. Once these are detected, other offences such as use of a mobile phone while driving, drivers not wearing a seat belt or bikers not wearing a helmet can also be reviewed.

Offenders will receive the fine with a registered letter and a specific code with which they can access to a photo of the traffic offence.

“With the installation of the traffic camera system we expect to improve road safety especially in urban centres where the majority of road collisions occur,” Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said earlier in October.

The project will be introduced in three phases.

The pilot phase, which includes all the necessary equipment for the operation of the centre for the automated traffic violation monitoring and reporting system, will operate for a period of up to three months. The first phase will include the installation and operation of another 16 mobile camera and another 20 fixed ones.

The second phase will include the installation of the remaining 66 fixed cameras.

Phase one should be up and running by July 2022 and phase three by June 2023. The contractor will maintain and operate the system for five years under the supervision of the police.

The cost of installing the system amounts to €8m and the operating cost for five years is estimated at €35m.

The project comes 15 years after a first attempt at a traffic camera system was ditched among legal and technical difficulties.

Source: First traffic cameras operational as of today | Cyprus Mail

More than 1,200 traffic violations in 48 hour campaign, cameras operational tomorrow

More than a 1,200 drivers were fined for traffic violations from Friday through to Sunday morning as police conducted a nationwide accident prevention, car and motorcycle sound pollution and youth delinquency campaign both on highways as well as secondary roads.

586 drivers were caught speeding and 50 were on the mobile phone.

93 people were not wearing seat belts, jumped a red light or parked in disabled spaces.

Police will be intensifying traffic violation checks over the next few weeks and in the lead up to the Christmas period.

Meanwhile, tomorrow sees the launching of the traffic cameras surveillance system on a pilot basis. Drivers have a two month grace period.

Relevant legislation was approved on Thursday.

Source: More than 1,200 traffic violations in 48 hour campaign, cameras operational tomorrow

House passes law for use of traffic cams | Cyprus Mail

The House on Thursday gave the nod to government legislation regulating the use of traffic cameras on roads and the issuing of fines – with the surveillance system expected to launch on a pilot basis by the end of the month.

Despite passing the related bills, opposition lawmakers grumbled that the government had presented them with a fait accompli – namely that it had brought the bills to parliament only after it had signed the deal with the company awarded the traffic cameras contract.

MP also inserted an amendment, removing from car rental companies the liability for payment of fines in the event a vehicle of theirs has committed a traffic violation. Instead, liability for payment of the fine falls on the customer renting the vehicle, or the driver at the time in question.

It is hoped the use of cameras will not only help reduce accidents, but also aid in better tracking traffic offenders.

Violations recorded by the system will be collected at a central hub from where notifications will be sent out to traffic offenders under the supervision of police.

The deal signed between the government and the contractor provides for 90 fixed cameras at 30 traffic blackspots islandwide, plus 20 mobile cameras for speeding for which police will decide the location and hours of operation on a day-to-day basis.

Cameras will report speeding, running a red light and crossing a stop line. Once these are detected, other offences such as use of a mobile phone while driving, drivers not wearing a seat belt or bikers not wearing a helmet, can also be reviewed.

The project will be rolled out in three phases. The pilot phase covers four fixed and four mobile cameras and all the equipment for the centre. Phase one covers the installation and operation of another 16 mobile and 20 fixed cameras and phase two the remaining 66 fixed cameras.

The timeline for the pilot phase is the end of October. It will operate on a trial basis for up to three months. Phase one should be up and running in July 2022, and phase three in June 2023. The contractor will maintain and operate the system for five years under the supervision of the police. No fines will be issued for the first 30 days, but offenders will receive warning letters.

The €34m project comes more than a decade after a first attempt at a traffic camera system was ditched due to legal and technical difficulties.

Motorcyclist seriously injured following collision with a car | Cyprus Mail

Paphos traffic police on Wednesday were investigating the conditions of a collision that resulted in the serious hospitalisation of a motorcyclist.

The man, 50, is treated in serious but stable condition at the district’s general hospital with a leg and head injury.

According to police, the accident took place at 8.15pm on Tuesday in Chlorakas when, under conditions that are being investigated, the motorcycle of the 50-year-old man crashed into a car driven by a 61-year-old man.

Police arrived at the scene, and the man was transferred to the hospital via ambulance.

The country saw 34 road fatalities this year, of whom 14 were motorcyclists while seven of them were not wearing a helmet.

Source: Motorcyclist seriously injured following collision with a car | Cyprus Mail

Paphos police investigating case of stolen licence plates | Cyprus Mail

Paphos police are investigating the theft of licence plates and is asking the public to be on alert.

According to police, a 26-year-old resident of Paphos, filed a complaint that between October 18 and 19, that the licence plates of his vehicle with registration number MNN 548 were stolen while parked outside his residence.

Police are appealing to the public in case they notice a vehicle moving with the above mentioned registration plates to contact them at 26806060.

Source: Paphos police investigating case of stolen licence plates | Cyprus Mail

Queues form at petrol stations in north as two companies announce stop on sales | Cyprus Mail

Queues have formed at gas stations in the north after two companies, K-Pet and AlPet announced they would stop selling fuel as of Wednesday, reports said.

The two companies announced that under the current conditions they were making losses on sales and as soon as their stations were empty, they would stop selling.

Turkish Cypriot websites have been reporting over the past three days that they were having difficulty in finding Octane 95.

The president of the petrol stations association, Levent Cagdal, said that after the last increase in fuel prices, the Turkish Lara’s exchange rate had fallen again and fuel suppliers were calling for a new increase in prices. They were losing 1-1.30TL per litre sold, they said.

He noted that compared to the Greek Cypriot side, the price of gasoline is still cheaper in the north, while the price of milk and meat is cheaper in the south of the island.

The selling price of the 11 kg gas is also reported to start at 107 TL but again the two companies consider that “they are selling at a loss” and stopped the sales asking for a new increase.

The vice president of the petroleum association, Ertan Fidan, told Yeni Duzen newspaper said sales would continue only while stocks last and that discussions on the issue were ongoing. They have asked the ‘economy minister’ to take steps.
“The gas stations are using their stocks right now. There is congestion at the gas stations,” he told the newspaper.

Source: Queues form at petrol stations in north as two companies announce stop on sales | Cyprus Mail

Pilot traffic cams recorded 500 violations in just two hours at Nicosia junction (Updated) | Cyprus Mail

Newly installed traffic cameras recorded about 500 violations in just two hours at a busy junction in central Nicosia, prompting the transport ministry to delay the rollout of fines.

There are concerns from some that the delay implies that the government is still not fully prepared for implementation to go ahead, with the bills not yet finalised and as a sticking point remains over car rentals.

The initial phase of the new pilot programme inaugurating the eight traffic cameras – four fixed and four mobile – was set to operate until the end of November, only issuing warnings instead of fines, but will now run until the end of the year.

It may seem counterintuitive that a high number of violations being recorded will lead to a longer period without fines but it has been reasoned that the public may need more time to familiarise themselves with the new system.

Many complained that they were unaware of what will be considered a traffic violation, such as crossing the line at the traffic lights while the light is still red (and therefore making it difficult for pedestrians to cross).

It was noted that from October 25 until January 1, 2022, traffic violations recorded by the cameras will instead only lead to a written warning which will be sent to the driver’s home address. The pilot programme has been billed as a period for the company to iron out any kinks and for drivers to acquaint themselves to the new rules.

A former advisor to the justice ministry on road safety matters expressed his dismay at the delay, saying that December is typically one of the deadliest months as regards road fatalities.

“Many young students return from abroad, there is a lot of drinking and drunk driving on the roads, last year we had nine or so deaths during December – is it really worth the delay?” he told the Cyprus Mail.

It is worth noting however that parliament has still not fully ratified the bills which are set to give the green light for the traffic cameras, with a final vote expected next Friday.

It was reported that the car rentals association has expressed its opposition to the billed legislation as it will shift the burden to the companies should a customer fail to pay a traffic fine recorded by the cameras.

Deputy head of the car rentals association Christakis Petsas told the Cyprus Mail that it is not their duty to chase down tourists who may have racked up fines and to act as police officers.

“We’re not in a position to start blocking credit cards, we’re not going to take on the duties of the state in handling fines potentially months after the incident may have occurred,” Petsas told us.

He detailed other issues of concern to the association, such as many tourists not using credit cards to pay for their rental vehicles and potential police requests for personal information leading to lengthy procedures.

Petsas also wondered why it is not possible for the fines to be collected at the airports.

Highlighting the difficulty in collecting fines, he referenced a recent report by the Audit Office that the state is owed tens of millions in unexecuted fine warrants.

“If they can’t collect these fines from MPs, politically exposed persons (PEPs) and the like, then what chance do we have to collect them from tourists abroad?” Petsas told us.

Haris Evripides of the traffic department told local media that more time has also been given to the public so that an information campaign can get underway, to make sure that people are not caught unawares.

He clarified some confusion over who is responsible for the fine: in the first instance, the fine will be sent to the owner of the car but should a second person – such as a spouse or relative – have committed the offence then it is up to the owner to inform the authorities. Those involved have 15 days to file the notice. Should there be a dispute between the owner and the second person then both are responsible.

Cameras will report speeding, running a red light and crossing a stop line. Once these are detected, other offences such as use of a mobile phone while driving, drivers not wearing a seat belt or bikers not wearing a helmet can also be reviewed.

The current plan for the traffic cameras is for 90 fixed cameras at 30 traffic blackspots islandwide and another 20 mobile cameras for speeding for which police will decide the location and hours of operation on a daily basis.

Source: Pilot traffic cams recorded 500 violations in just two hours at Nicosia junction (Updated) | Cyprus Mail

Four MPs among those who have not paid traffic fines | Cyprus Mail

Four MPs are on the list of high-profile people who have not paid their traffic fines for years.

According to daily Phileleftheros, no action has yet been taken against the exposed politicians who failed to settle their out-of-court fines, but a report drafted by the Audit Office is currently being prepared.

The article reports that a total of 23 warrants are pending against the four MPs and that the fines were issued between 2015 and 2020 for a grand amount of €5,374.

MPs have no immunity for traffic violations, a notion that was made clear a few years back in the case of now independent MP Andreas Themistokleous who was caught speeding more than once.

The former attorney-general had proceeded with the criminal prosecution against Themistokleous who was then with ruling Disy party for six cases of traffic violations, and he was forced to pay the fines.

Meanwhile, 69 police officers are also yet to pay for their traffic violation fines. Police chief Stelios Papatheodorou has instructed the directors of each district to urge them to settle their debts as soon as possible.

At the same time, police spokesman Christos Andreou said on Tuesday that all citizens requiring the assistance of the authorities will be checked first in order to make sure they do not have outstanding traffic fines to pay.

According to Andreou, at the moment, the amount of unpaid traffic violation fines in Cyprus has been estimated at almost €300,000.

Meanwhile, a meeting on the topic, presided by Justice Minister Stefi Drakou, was held on Tuesday, with the aim of finding solutions to mitigate the problem.

As mentioned in the meeting, last year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the fact that citizens were not working all the time, actions to collect the fines owed dwindled.

Source: Four MPs among those who have not paid traffic fines | Cyprus Mail

Push to ‘halve serious accidents’ by 2030 | Cyprus Mail

The justice ministry’s aims to halve fatal and serious traffic accidents by 2030, Justice Minister Stephie Dracou said on Monday.

Speaking at a press conference to mark the first day of road safety week, the minister said this year’s theme aims to raise awareness of all road users to adhere to the highway code and cultivate proper and responsible road behaviour.

“The numbers of road accidents, but especially the victims…are of particular concern,” Dracou said, adding that it was “imperative” to find ways to deal with them.

Since the beginning of 2021, 33 fatal traffic accidents were recorded with 34 fatalities.

The justice ministry has promoted many projects and actions in collaboration with the police and other relevant bodies, Dracou said.

Road safety is also a key pillar of the state’s strategic planning for 2021-2030, which was recently approved by the road safety council and will be an “important tool”.

This includes the implementation of the new communication strategy on road safety, information campaigns and lectures and workshops at the traffic education park for army conscripts and children of all ages.

Moreover, special emphasis is given to young drivers and the training of drivers caught violating the traffic code. The coming driver training school will “help raise drivers’ awareness of the dangers posed by insufficient compliance with traffic rules”, the minister said.

Dracou pointed out that traffic fines have also recently been increased. These include fines for speeding, failure to wear a seatbelt or helmet, running a red light, drink driving and driving under the influence of drugs.

Moreover, eight traffic cameras – four fixed and four mobile – which will go into operation by the end of October for the pilot phase of a traffic camera system and the smart patrol vehicles offer the means for “more effective policing” Dracou said.

To prevent traffic violations, the ministry aims to increase police checks in the coming months and not just for road safety week, October 18 to 24.

“We need to be constantly vigilant. Additional measures are needed, measures that will target the causes that cause [accidents] as they are identified by studies and analysis of the statistical data collected by the competent police department,” the minister said.

The press conference of the traffic department took place in collaboration with CNP insurance, which supports the road safety week for the 22nd consecutive year.

In his statements, police chief Stelios Paptheodorou said officers will intensify checks focusing on “dark spots of the road network”.

Source: Push to ‘halve serious accidents’ by 2030 | Cyprus Mail

New pilot traffic cams to be operational by end of October | Cyprus Mail

Eight traffic cameras — four fixed and four mobile — will go into operation by the end of October for the pilot phase of a long-awaited traffic camera system authorities hope will lead to a significant reduction in road accidents.

“The main aim of the project is to prevent and reduce deaths and injuries as a result of traffic collisions,” Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos told reporters after being briefed on progress so far.

When a previous system was in operation at 12 locations, road collisions were slashed by 53.57 per cent, he said. “With the installation of the traffic camera system we expect to improve road safety especially in urban centres where the majority of road collisions occur.”

Karousos first visited the centre for the automated traffic violation monitoring and reporting system which will process the data, and then went to a busy Nicosia junction where traffic cameras will soon be in operation.

Violations recorded by the system will be collected at the centre from where notifications will be sent to traffic offenders under the supervision of police. The agreement is for 90 fixed cameras at 30 traffic blackspots islandwide and another 20 mobile cameras for speeding for which police will decide the location and hours of operation on a daily basis.

Cameras will report speeding, running a red light and crossing a stop line. Once these are detected, other offences such as use of a mobile phone while driving, drivers not wearing a seat belt or bikers not wearing a helmet can also be reviewed.

The project will be introduced in three phases. The pilot phase covers the four fixed and four mobile cameras and all the equipment for the centre. Phase one covers the installation and operation of another 16 mobile and 20 fixed cameras and phase two the remaining 66 fixed cameras.

The timeline for the pilot phase is the end of October. It will operate on a trial basis for up to three months. Phase one should be up and running in July 2022 and phase three in June 2023. The contractor will maintain and operate the system for five years under the supervision of the police. No fines will be issued for the first 30 days, but offenders will receive warning letters.

The €34m project comes 15 years after a first attempt at a traffic camera system was ditched among legal and technical difficulties.

Source: New pilot traffic cams to be operational by end of October | Cyprus Mail