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.
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