The Famagusta district court on Wednesday sentenced a 47-year-old woman who was driving at three times the normal speed, to a suspended three-year prison sentence and deprivation of her driver’s licence for 75 days.
The woman was caught driving at 155km per hour around 10pm on January 4 in the Dherynia area where she was stopped by traffic police.
From Saturday, the grace period for people caught on traffic cameras will be over and fines will be issued for offenders.
Police remind the public that, as of January 1, the new speed cameras system will be fully operational. There are currently four fixed and four mobile cameras while it is expected that gradually 90 fixed and 20 mobile ones will be introduced in total that will be operating round the clock.
The cameras started operating at the end of October for a trial period until the end of the year. People caught speeding or running a red light were sent notifications during this period instead of fines.
Fines will be issued for speeding, running a red light, and crossing a stop line. Once these are detected, other offences such as not holding the steering wheel with both hands, use of a mobile phone while driving, not wearing a seat belt or bikers not wearing a helmet can also be reviewed.
Vehicle owners will receive the fine by post. In the case the owner was not the one driving when the traffic violation was recorded, they must inform police within 15 days about who was behind the wheel.
The fine will be raised by 50 per cent if it is not paid within 30 days. If not paid within 45 days, the case will be referred to court. The fine cannot be paid in instalments, nor can there be an extension for the payment.
Paying the fine will also mean that the person found to violate the traffic code accepts the penalty points mentioned in the notice.
There are offences for which no out-of-court settlement will be issued and the person concerned will have to appear in court. This concerns cases when the penalty points exceed the limit, when going over 75 per cent of the speed limit, when the driver has no driving licence or it was revoked, and when they are found to drive categories of vehicles they are not licenced to drive.
People fined will be able to visit www.CyCameraSystem.com to see the photo of the vehicle and driver committing the offence and other information.
For more information people may call 80008009.
Police warned the public that there will be increased road and traffic checks from Thursday through to January 6, in a bid to prevent crashes which are typically higher during the holidays.
Zero tolerance will be shown for those who fail to comply ‘with the four main causes of critical crashes’, the police announced on Wednesday.
They singled out speeding, drink driving, not wearing a seatbelt and not wearing a safety helmet as the main violations which lead to loss of life.
The Christmas period is typically a time when a higher number of crashes occur as many people are out driving, while violations such as drink driving also rise.
Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos on Monday chaired a meeting of the Road Safety Council focused on actions to stem the bloodshed on the roads — a day after two road fatalities in Paphos.
Forty-four people have lost their lives in 43 road accidents so far this year, including 14 motorcyclists and six pedestrians.
Two of the road fatalities occurred in the Paphos district on Sunday. Androula Papachristoforou, 60, died after a hit-and-run as she attempted to cross Priamou street in Paphos at around 9.15 pm.
Earlier on Sunday, Chris Simmons, a 26-year-old Briton permanent resident of Cyprus was killed when his car went off the road, crashed into a tree and rolled over several times before coming to a stop in a field on Ayios Georgios Avenue in Peyia.
Monday’s meeting, attended also by Justice Minister Stefi Dracou, police officials and representatives of the education ministry, was a scheduled session of the Road Safety Council to review implementation of a strategic road safety plan.
In statements to the media, Karousos said his ministry was taking action to promote better behaviour on Cyprus’ roads, aiming to reduce accidents and deaths to a minimum.
“We are promoting a series of policies that will provide citizens with available means to ensure their protection,” he said.
“We have dynamically and decisively begun the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Road Safety for the period 2021-2030.
“Of the 158 action plans mentioned in it, 70 have already been Implemented in 2021, corresponding to 44 per cent of the total.
“The most important tool at our disposal is the traffic camera system, which has been implemented on a pilot basis on our roads on October 25. The duration of the pilot phase is three months. Eight cameras are being utilised at the moment, four fixed and four mobile. Once the system is in full swing, it will feature a total of 90 fixed cameras in 30 locations nationwide, as well as 20 mobile cameras,” Karousos said.
Data collected from the pilot phase shows that citizens are familiarising with the system, as violations have significantly decreased, according to Karousos.
“Throughout the first week, an average of 804 violations per day were recorded by the cameras, with the number decreasing to 703 the following week and to 423 the one after,” he said.
The minister also added that accidents and deaths concerning motorcyclists are being carefully examined.
According to data collected from the EU-led ETSC Road Safety Performance Index (PIN), a policy tool to help EU Member States improve road safety, from 2018 to 2020 Cyprus recorded the highest death rate of motorcyclists involved in accidents who did not wear a helmet in the entire bloc.
“This is the reason why we have to act quickly, and I have personally met with organised groups of motorcyclists to listen to their concerns and suggestions on the issue,” Karousos said.
In this context, specific amendments to the driving licence law as regards motorbikes have been prepared. The first would introduce an expiry date to the learner’s driving licence, which will cease to be valid two years after being issued, in order to reduce the number of young drivers riding powerful motorcycles without a regular permit.
The second will prevent the holder of a learner’s motorbike driving licence from circulating on public roads without being accompanied by an official instructor.
Moreover, people driving bikes without their licence confirming they are allowed to do so will be criminally prosecuted. Driving schools will also be upgraded and moderninsed.
Karousos also added that in 2022 new plans regarding cyclists and pedestrians will be implemented.
“With the Christmas holidays fast approaching, we cannot afford to lose other lives on our streets. This year let’s all reach our destinations and our loved ones safely,” the Transport Minister concluded.
Six out of ten lawyers in Cyprus do not consider judges to be impartial, while eight out of ten believe judges are influenced by their personal ideological views, a survey has shown.
The findings of the survey, which included 228 lawyers, were presented at the law school symposium of the University of Nicosia.
It showed that 79.4 per cent of lawyers who participated believed judges are over-influenced by their personal views and 61 per cent do not consider judges impartial, Cyprus News Agency reported.
Meanwhile, 56.1 per cent of lawyers consider that public appreciation for their profession is moderate.
Another 55.7 per cent of responders said lawyers play an important role in the “occasional devaluation of the justice system by residents”.
The survey was carried out between July 1 and December 31 last year.
“There was a cultural problem in the justice process in Cyprus and those involved had to be convinced that a significant change and simplification of procedures were needed, as was the case in Britain,” British lawyer Lord Dyson told the event.
The reform of the rules of civil procedure is the seventh project funded by the European Commission. The proposed regulations were prepared by a group of experts, chaired by Lord Dyson.
During the event, other surveys were also presented about what will come after the new procedures are implemented and the use of artificial intelligence in civil justice.
The issue of law enforcement was also discussed at length and the need for immediate thorough reform of the relevant legal framework and other enforcement instruments.
The event was held in memory of former attorney-general, Alecos Markides who died in April last year.
The Data Commissioner’s office said on Wednesday it has officially approved the operation of the traffic cameras with fines being issued from January 1.
Following consultations with the police and the contractor the data commissioner’s office said it has approved the operation of the traffic cameras system. It added that its assistance concerned all stages of the system, from capturing a traffic violation on camera, to the payment of the out-of-court fines.
This was to ensure that the system’s operation will be in accordance with the law on traffic offences and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
The commissioner’s office said that it provided guidance “for the clear distinction of the roles of the police and the contractor as well as his subcontractors, for organisational and technical security measures and for the collection of information in order to identify the owner of the vehicle or the driver.”
Police also submitted an assessment of the impact of the system’s operation based on the GDPR.
“After it was found that, all the comments submitted for guidance were taken into account and that the requirements of the GDPR are met,” the commissioner’s office said, the system’s operation was approved.
But the commissioner’s office also called on the police and the contractor to be on constant alert to make sure the law and the GDPR are strictly followed.
Issuing of fines are expected to begin on January 1, after the contracts are signed for the processing and final inspection of the system, it added.
“Data collected or that will be collected before the contracts are signed, as part of system testing, will be destroyed,” the office said.
The pilot operation of eight traffic cameras – four fixed and four mobile – started last October and though authorities had said those caught violating traffic regulations would receive warning letters until the end of the year, this was delayed afer the data protection commissioner found gaps in the procedure.
The contract 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. The cost of installing the system amounts to €8m and the operating cost for five years is estimated at €35m.
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.
Police will launch an islandwide campaign on Monday against driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
The traffic police will carry out checks until Sunday December 12, and they said they will show zero tolerance.
Drin/drug driving in addition to careless and distracted driving have been the two largest causes of fatal accidents in Cyprus over the last three years, accounting for 27.8 per cent and 20.8 per cent of them respectively.
Also, around a quarter of traffic accidents throughout Europe are caused by drink driving.
The use of drugs can affect the ability to concentrate and lead to a reduction in reaction time of the driver.
Cyprus reported the highest share of dangerous goods being transported by road in both 2019 and 2020, according to figures issued by Eurostat on Wednesday.
The EU’s statistical office said that overall the share of dangerous goods transported in the EU (in tonne-kilometres) remained the same in 2019 and 2020 at around 4 per cent of the EU total.
The member states that recorded the highest shares of dangerous goods in their road transport were Cyprus, which has no other mode of transport, (9 per cent in 2019, 12 per cent in 2020), Belgium (10 per cent, 9 per cent) and Finland (8 per cent, 7 per cent). In contrast, Slovakia, Ireland, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Latvia recorded shares of dangerous goods of less than 2 per cent in 2019; Ireland, Lithuania and Slovakia recorded such low shares also in 2020.
The largest group transported was ‘flammable liquids’, accounting for more than half of the total transport of dangerous goods in tonne-kilometres (54 per cent in 2019 and 53 per cent in 2020). ‘Gases’ (compressed, liquefied or dissolved under pressure) accounted for 14 per cent in 2019 and 15 per cent in 2020, while ‘corrosives’ accounted for 12 per cent in both years. The distribution between the different types of dangerous goods has remained relatively stable over time.
With regards to the types of all (dangerous and non-dangerous) goods transported in 2020, ‘metal ores and other mining and quarrying products’ was the largest product group transported in terms of tonnage, accounting for one quarter (25 per cent) of the EU total. Together, ‘other non-metallic mineral products’ and ‘food, beverages and tobacco’, each with a share of 12% of the total, nearly accounted for a further quarter. Another important product group was ‘agricultural, forestry and fishery products’, with a share of 10 per cent.
Incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles, including taxis and buses, and transportation means with lower emissions in combination with a car scrappage scheme were announced on Thursday by Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos.
The schemes, a step towards the transition to green transportation, were approved by cabinet this week.
The first scheme, with a €4m budget, concerns the scrappage of cars older than 12 years and their replacement with new ones with lower emissions, or with electric bicycles or in exchange for bus tickets.
For the scrappage of an old car and its replacement with a new one that emits less than 50 grammes per kilometre of carbon dioxide, the subsidy is at €7,500. In total 360 subsidies will be given.
Those wishing to scrap an old car and purchase a taxi that emits less than 50g/km CO2 the subsidy is €12,000 (33 subsidies).
For the scrappage of an old car and purchase of a new one for disabled people emitting less than 50g/km CO2 the subsidy is €10,000 (20). The same applies for purchasing a car for large families (20).
Regarding the withdrawal of an old vehicle and its replacement with a new electric bicycle, the subsidy is at €1,000 (533), while for the withdrawal of an old vehicle in exchange for free tickets on regular bus lines the subsidy will amount to €750-worth of coupons (100).
The cars must not exceed €80,000 including VAT, while for bicycles, the ceiling was set at €6,000.
Applications for this scheme will be accepted between December 6 and 20. Priority will be given based on the age of the car slated for scrappage. Older ones will be given priority.
For the purchase of electric bicycles, applications will be accepted between January 17 and 31.
The cars slated for scrappage must have a valid road tax licence and be registered in Cyprus for the past consecutive seven years. In case a car has been immobilised, it must have a valid road tax licence within the last 18 months and not have a cancelled registration on the day the applications start.
The second scheme is in the form of an “eco-reward” for the purchase of zero-carbon emissions (purely electric) vehicles, including bicycles, with optional, subsidised scrappage of old vehicles, aged 12 years and over. The budget for this scheme is €8m.
For the purchase of a new electric car, the subsidy is €9,000, and an additional €1,000 if applicants want to scrap an old vehicle. In total 360 subsidies will be given for this category.
For taxis, the amount is €19,000 plus €1,000 for the optional scrappage of an old car (24). For vehicles for disabled people (13) or large families (13), the amount is €11,000. The optional scrappage of an old car also applies here. The new vehicles must not exceed €80,000 inlcuding VAT.
The scheme also provides for the purchase of a used electric vehicle with a €4,000 subsidy plus €1,000 if applicants wish to scrap an old one. In total 320 subsidies will be given.
For used taxis the subsidy is €12,000 (25), while for the purchase of a used vehicle for disabled people (15) or large families (15), the amount is €7,000. An additional €1,000 will be given for the optional withdrawal of an old car.
This applies for vehicles that are not over €50,000 and were initially registered on January 1, 2019 or later.
The scheme also provides subsidies for the purchase of large electric buses (€100,000), small buses (€40,000), commercial vehicles (€20,000) and the purchase of electric mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles, or lightweight four-wheel vehicles (€1,500).
Applications will be accepted between December 20 and January 3 on a first-come first-served basis.
According to Karousos, who said 50 per cent of emissions come from transportation, these schemes aim to promote electric motoring and the introduction of more electric vehicles in the country but also vehicles with low carbon dioxide emissions.
On the benefits of electric vehicles, Karousos referred to low charging costs with a reduction of up to 64 per cent in comparison with conventional fuel, free road tax licence, free parking in some municipal parking areas, low maintenance costs, and reduction of pollutants even in the way energy is produced today in Cyprus.
He said the goal is for electric cars to make up one fourth of newly registered vehicles by 2030 with a gradual rise of these numbers so that almost all of new registrations by 2035 concern electric vehicles.
For more information and applications: www.ev.gov.cy
Road fatalities in Cyprus for 2019 were a little above the EU average, according to data released by Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office.
In 2019 there were 59 deaths per million inhabitants in Cyprus, compared to 52 deaths per million inhabitants on average in the European Union.
When it comes to road injuries, 768 injuries per million inhabitants were recorded in 2019 in Cyprus, well under the EU average which stood at 2727 per million inhabitants.
The number of road deaths and injuries has declined significantly in Cyprus over the past decade. The number of road deaths fell from 89 per million inhabitants in 2009 to 59 in 2019, while the number of injuries fell from 2162 per million inhabitants in 2009 to 768 in 2019.
At a regional level, the highest incidence rates were recorded in the province of Luxembourg in Belgium (171 road fatalities per million inhabitants), and Região Autónoma da Madeira (165) and Alentejo (156) in Portugal.
The lowest incidence rates were recorded in Wien in Austria (6), Stockholm in Sweden (9) and Berlin in Germany (11).
Between 2009 and 2019, the incidence rate for road fatalities in the EU fell by almost one third (-32%). This downward development was repeated in more than 9 out of every 10 regions for which data were available.
The most rapid declines were recorded in Ciudad de Melilla in Spain (-100%), while two regions in Greece (Sterea Ellada and Anatoliki Makedonia, Thraki), Wien in Austria, Västsverige in Sweden, and Luxembourg also recorded falls of more than 60%.
However, there were 19 regions across the EU where the incidence rate for road fatalities increased during this period.
Regional data are presented at NUTS 2 level. At this level of detail, Cyprus (as well as Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Iceland and Liechtenstein) are considered single regions due to the size and population of these countries.