Speaking to reporters, House transport committee chairman Giorgos Prokopiou said they had been informed by ministry officials that they had not yet invited tenders.
He said they have asked the transport minister to come to the committee in a month to give them more details about the conditions and how the new system will operate.Traffic cameras had been installed in 2006, helping cut down traffic collisions by 53 per cent. But technical issues and subsequent legal problems meant their removal and considerable delays in installing new ones.
The state was now looking to install 90 fixed cameras and 20 mobile ones to catch speeding drivers and those running red lights.
Ruling Disy MP Demetris Demetriou stressed the need for the systems to be up and running as soon as possible since it was a matter of safety and human lives.
Thirteen people out of 41 killed in road incidents so far this year were under 25-years-old, police data showed, as most deaths occur during the early morning hours due to speeding and reckless driving.
Speaking at an event to mark traffic safety week, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said 41 people had died so far in 2017 in 37 fatal collisions.
“As a state, we are declaring a fight to cultivate traffic awareness because traffic safety must be embedded as part of our culture,” the minister said.Citing a study carried out to assist the new communications strategy, the minister said the typical Cypriot driver was “hasty, impatient, careless, one who ignores the traffic code in Cyprus and does not respect other users of the road network.
“On the contrary, Cypriot drivers display exemplary road behaviour and follows rules to the letter when abroad,” he added.
The minister said the data that emerged through the study enabled the authorities to draft a more effective and focused communications strategy aiming at educating and sensitising the public, especially new drivers.
As part of the strategy, the cabinet has approved the creation of a driving school where courts or the police will refer motorists who need training and education.
Driving education will also be introduced in schools in a bid to cultivate awareness, the minister said.
Police chief Zaharias Chrysostomou said the number of deaths to date led the force to intensify efforts further to educate and sensitise the public.
Police have also acquired 22 vehicles equipped with automatic number-plate recognition technology, allowing officers to spot offenders easily.
Chrysostomou said their work will be assisted greatly by 90 fixed and 20 mobile traffic cameras expected to be up and running early next year.
Traffic cameras were installed in 2006, helping cut down traffic collisions by 53 per cent. But technical issues and subsequent legal problems meant their removal and considerable delays in installing new ones.
BikeSafe is a Police led motorcycle project involving class room and practical riding workshops. The main aim is to reduce the number of bikers being hurt on Cyprus roads.
In order to use the BikeSafe brand, the workshops have to conform to the BikeSafe criteria as run by Police forces throughout the UK.
Four Cyprus Police Officers have recently been trained to become BikeSafe assessors. The training was delivered in a partnership between the Cyprus Police and RoSPA Advanced Drivers and Riders Cyprus.
The first part of the training ensured that the officers had the road riding skills required, based on ‘Motorcycle Roadcraft’, The (UK) Police Riders Handbook. This involved advanced rider training and test. Only those passing the RoSPA motorcycle test at the highest level would be considered as assessors. All of the officers attained the Gold Grade.
The second phase of the training was theory based to ensure a good working knowledge of both Roadcraft and the BikeSafe curriculum. The officers gave a talk on different sections of the BikeSafe material and answered questions on the matters raised.
The third phase was a practical exercise taking the form of a BikeSafe ride-out with the officers having to give appropriate feedback to a motorcyclist they were assessing.
The officers passed with flying colours.
Final arguments will be heard on October 13 and the sentence passed later.
Speaking to reporters after court, Themistocleous said he fully respected the decision that found him guilty of three charges but said he would be appealing the case.
Last year, the supreme court lifted his parliamentary immunity so that he could be tried for speeding offences which took place on April 4, 2015 when he was caught driving his car at a speed of 172 km/h – 72km over the legal limit.
On February 12, 2015 he was caught doing 170km/h, 141km/h on October 14, 2014, and 91km/h in a 50km/h zone on July 10, 2014 where he also faced charges for violating a traffic signal – the white continuous line in the middle of the road.
He was found guilty for speeding on two occasions and for violating a traffic signal.
It appeared Themistocleous had made matters worse for himself when stopped by officers as he had apparently displayed inappropriate behaviour.
Police reports indicated that on numerous occasions, he had invoked his parliamentary immunity when told he would be charged.
“We think that the behaviour, words and deeds, attributed to the defendant, leaves no room for different treatment,” other than to lift his immunity, the supreme court said at the time.
Police also cited traffic offences between 1993 and 2011, and 21 between 2003 and 2015.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Press Enquiries: Adam Grinsell/Jo Bullock +44 121 248 2134/2045
Out-of-hours +44 7785 540 349
RoSPA assesses older drivers for the ITV documentary-series 100 Year Old Driving School
RoSPA assessors will be supporting older drivers during an ITV documentary-series looking at why and how the elderly still get behind the wheel.
The three-part show, called 100 Year Old Driving School, will air on ITV tonight (Tuesday, September 12) and follows the lives of a group of British drivers, over the age of 90, who still enjoy driving on the roads.
They will be given assessments from some of the charity’s top examiners, providing hints, tips, encouragement and guidance on how they can improve their driving or whether it may be time to hang up their keys.
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: “Driving a car is an important part of personal, family and work life for millions of us, providing freedom and independence to get about as and when we need to.
“Experienced drivers are, in general, safer than those with less experience but as we get older, our health and fitness, often including our eyesight, physical condition and reaction times, begins to decline. Age-related conditions can also begin to affect our driving and can eventually mean that there is a point when an individual needs to give up driving. However, as this documentary will show, this point is different for everyone; there isn’t an age at which all drivers become unable to drive safely.
“Many older drivers recognise that their driving ability is changing and consequently change when and where they drive. Driving assessments, such as RoSPA’s Experienced Driver Assessment and refresher training courses can help older drivers.”
The documentary, produced by production company RDF Television, will also air on Tuesday, September 19 and 26.
For further information on older drivers, visit olderdrivers.org.uk
THE police have adamantly denied accusations from the public that drivers are being fined for offences they did not commit for the sake of meeting internal quotas, especially when conducting high-profile road safety campaigns.
In the space of one week last month, the Sunday Mail received complaints from several readers claiming they had been wrongly fined for traffic offences.
Two different men were fined in Germasogia, Limassol at two traffic lights close to each other for running a red light – charges they both deny.
One of them, Robert Michael, a 70-year-old retired British policeman who had worked in London, said he was absolutely perplexed by the fact he was fined when the light was very much green when he passed it.
“I braked as I approached the traffic lights just in case they would go amber but they were still green. I continued to drive on and a policeman pulled me over to say I had passed with a red light,” he told the Sunday Mail.
“I’m an ex policeman from London. I don’t break the law. If it was justified I certainly wouldn’t dispute it.”
Michael said he began disputing the case with the police officer on scene and when Michael told him he was willing to take the case to court, the officer allegedly responded with “you can try but we always win.”
Cases such as these are always very difficult to prove or dispute.
Unlike London, which is covered with cameras and CCTV, in Cyprus a court case would be the word of one man against that of an officer.
“In the UK I would have a shot at justice but not in this country,” Fields said.
“I had children in the car, so of course I was driving carefully.”
On the same day, a friend of Fields, Egis Rukviza also got stopped at a nearby set of traffic lights in Germasogia for what he was told at the scene was running a red light.
Rukviza has been living in Cyprus with his wife Neringa for the past seven years after they moved from Lithuania and says in all his time here he had never once been fined.
Due to Rukviza’s broken English, his wife spoke on his behalf to the Sunday Mail “my husband stopped at the traffic lights because it was red and there was another car in front of him. Then it became green and they drove on. Police didn’t stop the first car. It was an expensive one, so they didn’t bother, but they stopped my husband.
“I know my husband, he drives very carefully,” Neringa said.
According to their account, once pulled over, the police officer called on a colleague of his – who was sitting in the car – to write up the fine.
“He didn’t even see what happened. My husband kept insisting it was green,” she said.
Later that evening, the couple went to the police station to complain and ask for proof of the offence – they were told there were no CCTV cameras.
Police spokesman Andreas Angelides said the difficulty with such complaints is that there is hardly ever any evidence – unlike those that are caught speeding with the use of a radar – and it was the word of one person against another.
“We also have to keep in mind that the person being fined might be overreacting,” and perhaps falsely denying the charge, Angelides told the Sunday Mail.
Police’s campaigns are aimed to clamp down on bad drivers not an attempt to give out tickets left, right and centre, he added.
On August 29, in a one-day campaign, 259 people were booked in Limassol alone between 8am to 5pm.
Of those, 78 were booked running a red light while 82 were caught using a mobile phone while driving.
“I don’t mind these campaigns. I think they’re great. But you can’t fine innocent people as a source of income,” Michael said.
There are three courses of action available for people to follow when they feel they have been wronged – send a letter to the chief of police, take the case to court, or speak to the local traffic police supervisor.
If there is a case of bad police behaviour, then the public can also file a report to the independent authority for the investigation of allegations and complaints against the police.
Michael and Rukviza however tried – and were rebuffed twice – when they tried to speak to Limassol traffic police, they said.
After they discovered they had both been fined, they headed to the Germasogia police station asking to speak to the traffic supervisor. They were advised to go the next day.
The following day however the supervisor was apparently still unavailable to meet them and sent out the police officer that fined Rukviza.
Upon closer inspection Rukviza also realised that although his supposed offence was running a red light, the ticket said he had been driving while on his phone – an offence he also denies.
“The officer, when he came out to meet my husband and Mr Robert (Michael) at the station, then insisted they had driven past a red light,” Neringa said.
“So they asked him why the ticket was for driving while using a mobile phone and he said ‘you committed both but I fined you only for one’.”
Rukviza was considering filing a report over the police officer but said “they all work together. I don’t think a complaint would even make it to the policeman’s file. I doubt they even have a file.”
Angelides told the Sunday Mail that under no circumstances do police have quotas of fines that have to be filled.
“On the contrary, officers are told that if they’re not sure about an offence – say someone was caught for speeding but they weren’t sure if the person was wearing a seatbelt – then to ignore the seatbelt offence,” he said.
“Over the years, the behaviour of the police force has improved as well and the way they respond to the public. Many times the officers are on the receiving end of abuse from people that are upset about being fined who start shouting and swearing.”
All of which is no doubt true, but is of little solace to Michael and Rukviza. Both men paid their €85 fines, but feel it is unjust, as they insist they didn’t commit the offences.
“If I’d done it, of course I’d pay,” Fields said.
Apart from seat belt checks, police will also be looking to see if children are properly seated in child seats.
The campaign – which is part of a wider European initiative by the European Traffic Police Network (TISPOL) – will run until September 17 across the island.
The aim of the campaign is lower the risk of injuries and road fatalities by motorists and passengers not using seat belts. Officers will also be checking to see if children are properly fastened inside the cars.
According to police figures, 62.6% of road fatalities were due to drivers and passengers not being properly fastened.
Traffic police pulled over the motorist after the radar recorded his car tearing down the Kalo Chorio-Larnaca Airport motorway at a speed of 216km/h. A 72-year-old man from Nicosia was placed under arrested and taken to Kiti Police Station where he was formally charged.
The driver, who had been drinking, is set to appear before a Larnaca magistrate at a later date.
Drivers that have collected 10-12 penalty points on their driver’s licence will be sent to the classroom to attend road behaviour lessons instead of being sent to court, a system which seems to have remarkable results abroad.
The creation of a driver’s training school was passed by the Cabinet in June and will operate under the supervision of the Justice Ministry.
Statistics show that Cypriots are repeat offenders with 200,000 drivers being booked each year for traffic violations.
A typical example of the situation is last Wednesday’s police operation from 20:00 until 03:00 on Thursday morning.
A total of 209 bookings were made, 105 of which were speed violations, 29 for traffic light violations, 33 for using mobile telephones while a stolen motorbike was also recovered.
Traffic violators will follow a specialised series of lessons, prepared by the Justice Ministry, in line with their violations.
The classes are aimed at combatting dangerous road behaviour and to educate violating motorists in correct driving principles and attitudes.
The school will be responsible for conducting specialised courses for traffic violators, conduct practical examinations at the close of lessons. It will issue a relevant certificate of attendance and inform the police and courts of such. Failure to attend or complete a course will be regarded as a violation.
The school will also be responsible for cooperation with educational and other stakeholders in Cyprus and abroad in the promotion of research and the development of new and specialised training programmes and the adoption of good practices based on scientific research.
The classes will be available to persons with court referral following traffic violations, motorists who have had their licences revoked, motorists who have 12 penalty points or more on their driver’s licence and motorists with 10 penalty points on their licence and who volunteer to attend lessons.
The government’s traffic safety strategy includes the introduction of a driver’s education class in Lyceums and a new communications strategy aimed at youth with regards to road safety.
“As is well known while using a phone results in the driver’s attention being distracted,” an announcement said, adding that such actions greatly contribute to increasing the likelihood of a road traffic collision.“At European level, modern surveys show that between 10% and 30% of all road traffic collisions are caused by distracted drivers. Mobile phone use plays a key role in this.”