All posts by CyprusDriving

Motorist jailed and fined for speeding – Cyprus Mail

A 47-year-old man was on Thursday jailed for a month and fined €3,150, among others, for a series of traffic violations including, speeding, running red lights, and failure to comply with police instructions.

The 47-year-old had been clocked on March 17 on Nicos and Despina Pattihis Street in Larnaca, by members of the police motorcycle unit and was flagged down for a routine check.

Instead of stopping, the man accelerated in a bid to escape. The officers chased him and repeatedly asked him to stop his vehicle but he went on, running two red lights and driving at speeds that reached 160km/hour on a 65km road in Larnaca and 186km on the Larnaca-Kofinou road where the legal limit is 100km.

He was eventually intercepted near Skarinou and officers found out he had been driving with a suspended licence and without insurance.

On March 21 he appeared before the Larnaca district court where he admitted to 12 charges. He was remanded in custody and on Thursday he was sentenced to 30 days in jail. He was fined €3,150, his licence was suspended for four months, and he also received 27 points.

Source: Motorist jailed and fined for speeding – Cyprus Mail

Seven new bills for stiffer traffic penalties – Cyprus Mail

THE government has submitted seven bills to parliament introducing stricter penalties for certain traffic offences in a bid to curb deaths and serious injury on the island’s roads.

In the accompanying memo, the justice and transport ministries said a study carried out by the law department of the University of Cyprus has found that “current penalties for specific offences considered as the main cause of serious traffic collisions are very low compared with other EU member states and other advanced countries.”

The government said it sought to update penalties relating to speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, driving without a licence, failure to wear a seatbelt or crash helmet, and using a phone while driving.

The bills also provide for stiffer penalties for driving uninsured and without a road worthiness certificate.

Penalties are also raised for hit and runs, running a red light, parking on pavements – a common practice all over Cyprus – and taking parking spots reserved for handicapped persons.

They also introduce vehicle seizures, lower alcohol levels for drivers who had their licence suspended after completing 12 penalty points, and enable courts to issue driving bans pending an investigation.

For instance, if the alcohol levels in the breath and blood exceeds the legal limits but is under 36μg/100ml or 82mg/100ml respectively, the offender faces a jail term of up to three months and or a fine of up to €1,500. The penalties rise according to the alcohol levels.

People convicted of drink driving who re-offend within three years could face double the initial penalty imposed on them.

Police will also be given the power to impound cars for 24 hours if the driver is drunk, if they refuse to undergo a breathalyser test, or if they refuse to undergo the final test – unless someone else can drive them home.

Reckless driving that ends up causing bodily harm will be punishable with up to three years in jail and or a fine of up to €10,000.

Anyone involved in a hit and run with a fatality faces up to 10 years in jail and or up to €30,000.

Lesser penalties are provided for hit and runs involving bodily harm and property damage.

Included in the bills is an increase in the fines for speeding from €1 per kilometre to €5; using a phone while driving will fetch a €300 fine instead of the current €85.

Failure to wear a seatbelt will cost €400, also up from €85.

Not wearing crash helmets on motorcycles, running red lights, and parking on pedestrian crossings and spaces reserved for handicapped drivers will cost €200 from €85.

Source: Seven new bills for stiffer traffic penalties – Cyprus Mail

Man jailed for driving offences – Cyprus Mail

A 36-year-old man from Limassol was sentenced to two months in prison on Monday after being found guilty of a number of traffic offences.

The court sentenced the man to two months in prison and gave him three penalty points for reckless driving, for driving without insurance coverage and driver’s licence and for failing to follow police instructions.

He was also asked to sign two three-year guarantees for €1,000 each, for parking on the opposite traffic lane and driving without the consent of the vehicle’s owner.

Source: Man jailed for driving offences – Cyprus Mail

Speeding driver arrested after 25-minute chase – Cyprus Mail

Police arrested a driver for committing a number of offences on Sunday afternoon after chasing him for 25 minutes.

Officers signaled for the car to stop for a routine check at 2.20pm on Larnaca’s Nicos and Despina Pattichi street, but the driver picked up speed instead and jumped two red lights in his attempt to escape.

While officers were in pursuit, he drove at 160km/h on Limassol avenue in Larnaca, where the speed limit is 65km/h, and at a speed of 186km/h on the Larnaca – Kofinou motorway.

At 2.45pm, members of the police force finally managed to stop the man, a 47-year-old resident of Limassol, near Skarinou.

He had been driving with a suspended driving licence and without insurance.

After he signed a €1,000 bond guaranteeing he will appear in court on Monday the man was released.

Source: Speeding driver arrested after 25-minute chase – Cyprus Mail

Parliament passes new road tax measures – Cyprus Mail

A bill was passed on Friday by parliament to re-evaluate road tax on cars based on their exhaust waste and the vehicle’s age.

The bill was passed with 41 MPs for and five against, while two MPs abstained.

MPs from all parties said the goal of the legislation is to promote the sale of cars that are environmentally friendly and for Cyprus to not be a graveyard of car pollution.

Parliament also passed a zero excise tax on vehicles. Based on the bill, cars that are powered by diesel, that are in Euro 5a and Euro 5b categories will be charged €50, while petrol vehicles of the same type will not pay an excise tax.

Euro5 cars are vehicles that were created from September 2009 to August 2014.

Cars that are classified Euro 4, created from 2005 to 2009, will be charged €300 if they are powered by petrol, while diesel cars will be charged €600.

Vehicles older than these will also be charged the same the parliament decided.

Euro6 vehicles, both petrol and diesel, will not be charged an excise tax. These cars were created from 2014 to 2018.

Source: Parliament passes new road tax measures – Cyprus Mail

Cabinet approves stricter sentences for traffic violations – Cyprus Mail

The cabinet on Friday approved stricter penalties for certain traffic violations including vehicle seizures for certain offences.

Speaking after the meeting, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said the state had exhausted all other means of getting the message through to people regarding road safety but it was time for stricter measures.

“There is a need for more drastic measures like increasing the penalties,” he said. “This way the right message will get through.”

Included in the bills is an increase in the fines for speeding from €1 per kilometre to €5; using a phone while driving will fetch a€300 fine instead of the current €85.

Failure to wear a seatbelt will cost €400, also up from €85.

Not wearing crash helmets on motorcycles, running red lights, and parking on pedestrian crossings and spaces reserved for handicapped drivers will cost €200 from €85.

“We have introduced a combination of offences in the legislation like speeding while under the influence of alcohol. They must face the full brunt of the law,” the minister said, adding that the increases were viewed as a deterrent.

Drivers involved in hit-and-runs where a person was killed will be looking at manslaughter charges whose maximum penalty is life in jail.

For serious offences, the bills provide for offenders to face court in 24 hours and a driving ban. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol would see the vehicle seized. The minister did not specify the duration.

The bills, which are the product of consultations with all interested parties will be sent to parliament for approval.

“This is a matter that concerns all of us and we ought to tackle this situation together,” he said.

Source: Cabinet approves stricter sentences for traffic violations – Cyprus Mail

Limassol driving examiners protest against understaffing – Cyprus Mail

Limassol driving examiners gathered for two hours outside the road transport department offices on Friday to protest over the lack of staff.

In statements outside the offices, the head of the Limassol association of driving school owners Simos Koufallis said the patience of the candidates was exhausted because due to the understaffing they have to wait for up to five months to take a test.

He reiterated the danger that learner drivers are increasingly tempted to drive illegally.

“When a young driver has 25-30 hours of training and does not succeed in the first test, he usually chooses to ride without licence and insurance until the next appointment comes up,” he said.

Over the past ten years, 11 examiners have left the road transport department, culminating in 2018 when three of them retired within three months.

Though two examiners were recently seconded from Paphos to Limassol after a letter was sent to the transport ministry on February 11, a severe shortage of examiners remains as there are still only four examiners in Limassol, who cannot cope with the demand.

Koufallis added that the problem was bound to escalate in early summer when applications would almost double due to students returning from abroad, and graduating pupils.

Commenting on an announcement from the road transport department which said additional examination dates would be added for the month of April in Limassol, Koufallis said the announcement was issued after the protest was declared and there was no way it could solve the problem permanently.

The issue, he added, would be discussed at a meeting scheduled on April 4 with the transport minister.

Source: Limassol driving examiners protest against understaffing – Cyprus Mail

Police checks on 800 truck drivers saw six in ten booked for offences – Cyprus Mail

Police checked a total of 799 trucks and 39 buses during a week-long campaign carried out between February 18 and 24 and booked a total of 494 – more than 60 per cent – truck drivers for various traffic offences.

The local campaign was part of a wider initiative by European Police Traffic Police Network Tispol.

According to a police announcement, the purpose of the campaign was to prevent road traffic accidents involving buses and trucks and to combat traffic offences committed by drivers of such heavy vehicles.

The focus was on driving and resting hours as well as acceptable technical condition of the vehicles.

Tispol is partly financed by the European Commission with the aim to improve road safety and law enforcement on the roads of Europe.

Source: Police checks on 800 truck drivers saw six in ten booked for offences – Cyprus Mail

House to vote this week on emissions tax – Cyprus Mail

THE House will this week be voting on two government bills that aim to introduce emissions-based taxes on passenger cars and vans.

Legislators have wrapped up discussion of the two bills – the first revising road tax rates by linking them to a vehicle’s emissions, and the second abolishing import tax.

At the House finance committee, a majority formed (Disy, Diko and Solidarity) for amending the second bill, so that rather than scrapping the import tax altogether, as proposed in the government text, the tax will be kept but reduced to zero.

This was done, explained Diko MP Angelos Votsis, to enable customs to continue carrying out vehicle checks.

The state will be losing an estimated €15m per year (including VAT) from scrapping the import tax, although this loss will be made up by increasing the road tax.

Currently, import taxes are as follows: vehicles with CO2 emissions up to 120 gr/km, no tax; from 121 to 150 gr/km, a tax of €25 per gr/km; 151 to 180 gr/km, a tax of €50 per gr/km; and upwards of 181 gr/km, a tax of €400 per gr/km.

As for the road tax, with the new regime the annual fee payable will be as follows: vehicles with carbon dioxide emissions less than 120 gr/km kilometre, €0.5 per gr/km; 120 to 150 gr/km, €3 per gr/km; 150 to 180gr/km, €5 per gr/km; and over 180gr/km, €10 per gr/km.

Annual road tax cannot exceed €1,500.

On top of that, under the coming changes road taxes will feature an additional fee depending on a vehicle’s emissions rating and age.

Vehicles compliant with the Euro6 emissions standard (manufactured from September 2014 and later) will not be subject to any extra charge. However, diesel-powered vehicles likewise complying with Euro6 will nevertheless be charged an extra €100; exempt are vehicles with exhaust emissions designated as 6c or 6d.

For Euro5-compliant cars (September 2009 to August 2014), an additional €100 will be charged for vehicles running on petrol, €250 for those running on diesel.

For older vehicles, the charges are €300 for petrol and €600 for diesel.

The aim of Euro 6 is to reduce levels of harmful car and van exhaust emissions, both in petrol and diesel cars. For diesels, the permitted level of nitrogen oxides emitted has dramatically dropped to a maximum of 80mg/km, compared to the 180mg/km level that was required for cars that met the previous Euro5 emissions standard.

The aim is to gradually phase out older vehicles which tend to pollute more.

According to daily Politis, citing numbers from the Road Transport Department, approximately 90 per cent of imported vehicles emit over 150 gr/km.

In 2018, about 1000 new vehicles and 5,500 second-hand cars of this category were imported.

In the same year, in the emissions category of over 200gr/km, just 111 new cars were imported, compared to 506 used cars.

Opposed to the scrapping of the import tax are importers of second-hand vehicles, who under the current situation had an advantage over dealers in new cars.

In 2018, for example, 67 per cent of newly-registered saloon cars were second-hand. Also, of the some 32,000 used cars imported, over half were diesel-powered.

Moreover, the average age of the fleet of saloon cars – both new and used – has been rising. In 2014 the average age was 2.62 years; by 2017 it rose to 3.68 years.

The average age of second-hand saloons alone went up from 4.88 years in 2014, to 5.77 years in 2017.

Source: House to vote this week on emissions tax – Cyprus Mail

Plan to link road tax to emissions agreed by lawmakers – Cyprus Mail

A new policy on linking the road tax to emissions has been agreed by legislators, who will be tabling a bill to the House plenum on March 1.

Under the new regime, the road tax payable will be as follows: vehicles with carbon dioxide emissions less than 120g per kilometre, €0.5 per gramme; 120 to 150 g/km, €3 per gramme; 150 to 180g/km, €5 per gramme; and over 180g/km, €10 per gramme.

Road taxes will also feature an additional fee depending on which emissions standard a vehicle complies with.

Vehicles compliant with the Euro6 emissions standard (manufactured from September 2014 and later) will not be subject to any extra charge. However, diesel-powered vehicles complying with Euro6 and designated as having 6c and 6d exhaust emissions will be charged €100.

For Euro5-compliant cars (September 2009 to August 2014), an additional €100 will be charged for vehicles running on petrol and €250 for those running on diesel. For older vehicles, the charges are €300 for petrol and €600 for diesel.

The aim of Euro 6 is to reduce levels of harmful car and van exhaust emissions, both in petrol and diesel cars. For diesels, the permitted level of nitrogen oxides emitted has dramatically dropped to a maximum of 80mg/km, compared to the 180mg/km level that was required for cars that met the previous Euro5 emissions standard.

Although agreeing the emissions charges, MPs remain divided on whether to scrap the fuel consumption tax entirely, or keep the levy and make it a staggered one – higher charges for higher emissions.

The House transport committee called on the government to prepare a scheme for retiring older vehicles with compensation incentives to owners.

Source: Plan to link road tax to emissions agreed by lawmakers – Cyprus Mail