Counting 29 road fatalities in the first eight months of the year – six in the past 11 days – police on Monday issued a dramatic appeal to politicians to put the necessary measures in place to stem the trend and force Cypriot drivers to comply with the code.
“Despite efforts, co-ordination, planning and anticipation of the possibility of an increase in road collisions, the expected level of prevention was not possible,” police spokesman Christos Andreou said after an emergency meeting of the force’s top brass including police chief Kypros Michaelides, convened after six died on the road in the past 11 days.
Andreou said the force has repeatedly asked the state to increase penalties for traffic-related offences as a necessary deterrent.
“With the current arrangements, we have the disappointing state of affairs of having hundreds of checks and citations with thousands of violations and offenders without a change in behaviour,” he said.
The government submitted bills introducing stricter penalties in March but for various reasons they have not yet been discussed by parliament.
Included in the bills is an increase in the fines for speeding from €1 per kilometre to €5 while 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. 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.
Traffic cameras have been another long-standing demand. Cameras were removed after being used for a few months in 2006, because of a dispute with the contractor, and since then there have been several tender procedures that were annulled. The latest process provides for the installation of cameras sometime in 2021.
“As the police, we emphasise the importance of putting traffic cameras in operation,” Andreou said. “Their contribution in reducing road collisions is proven internationally and in the brief period they were implemented in Cyprus they acted as a catalyst in limiting collisions by half.”
Pending the stricter penalties and cameras, instructions have been given for stronger police presence on the roads and stricter policing with emphasis on offences such as speeding, drink driving, use of mobile phone.
“The members of the police have been instructed by their superiors to be strict in enforcing the law regardless of displeasure and driver reaction,” Andreou said.
He said however, that police could not be left alone in this effort.
Andreou said the force conducted seminars at schools, army camps, and elsewhere but the effort must be reinforced with the contribution of organised groups, the state, families, and local societies.
So-called black spots on the road network were also recorded with the aim of making changes to reduce dangers. Police will also increase its presence in areas with a high frequency of traffic violations.
There have been 29 fatal road incidents so far this year, but August has seen a spike with six people killed in 11 days alone, four involving cars and two motorbikes.
A 74-year-old woman died from a neck injury on August 16 in the Ayios Ambrosios-Vouni area of Limassol after she crashed head on with a car driven by a 27-year-old woman.
A 40-year-old man died on August 19 after he lost control of his motorbike and crashed on the Palechori–Agros road.
A few days later Savvas Constantinou, a resident of Xylotymbou, was on the way to Agros when he apparently lost control of his bike, which crashed into the railing on the side of the road.
A 72-year-old woman was killed and a second one, 70, was in critical condition after the car they were travelling in fell into a ravine on the Kalopanayiotis to Gerakes road on August 21.
A collision of five cars in Limassol on August 24 left 75-year-old Savvas Charalambous dead and five more people injured, two of whom suffered serious injuries.
A 24-year-old motorcyclist, Bruk Mark Christodoulou, lost his life after his bike collided with a vehicle on a Nicosia road on Saturday night.
The death of Limassol resident Costas Petros Garposis, 71, whose car fell down a hillside in the Limassol region on August 25, is attributed to a heart attack.
Police on Monday arrested a 15-year-old male in Limassol on suspicion of possession of cannabis.
Officers on patrol spotted the 15-year-old in the driver’s seat of a car parked in an area of Limassol on Monday night.
As soon as he saw the officers, the youngster started the car and raced away. He was seen throwing a plastic bag containing a small amount of cannabis out of the window which police seized.
He managed to get away but was found shortly afterwards.
When he was questioned, he reportedly admitted to the possession of the illegal drugs and the traffic offences he had committed.
In Paphos meanwhile, police charged a 15-year-old and his father after the teen was caught driving a car. Police said they stopped a car driven by the 15-year-old boy just after midnight, while his father was in the passenger seat.
The father, who was not wearing a seatbelt, told police he was giving his son driving lessons and he was driving with his consent.
Both father and son were charged and will appear in court later.
A 17-year-old girl was found driving a car in Oroklini without a licence and insurance on Monday evening, police reported. Her father was in the vehicle and told police officers he allowed his daughter to drive. The girl was charged for driving without a licence and the father for allowing it.
The past 10 days saw six road deaths, police said on Sunday, issuing an urgent call for a change in the behaviour of drivers.
After two people – Bruk Mark Christodoulou, 24, and Savvas Charalambous, 75 – lost their lives on Cyprus roads on Saturday night, police issued a desperate call to alert the public that “it is imperative that we change our mentality and culture as regards our driving behaviour.”
The list of road accident victims is growing, the police said, stressing that we can no longer believe ourselves to be untouchable and beyond risk. “We must realise that danger lurks in every centimetre of distance we choose to cover with our car or motorbike.”
Road safety rules must be followed, police said, because it’s “a shame, it’s unfair, to lose human lives on roads.”
It added that it makes daily efforts toward improving road safety. The hundreds of reports made by the police against traffic offences may unnerve the public, but they only serve one goal: “to persuade drivers, through fear if need be, to comply with road safety rules.”
Among EU member states, Cyprus and Luxembourg had the lowest number of cyclists killed in road accidents in recent years, according to figures for 2017 released by Eurostat on Tuesday.
The highest rate is in Romania (10 deaths per million inhabitants) and the lowest rate is zero, recorded in Cyprus (2016 data) and Luxembourg. The EU average was 4 per million inhabitants.
The number of fatalities recorded in road traffic accidents in the EU is estimated to be around 25,000 in 2017, corresponding to 50 fatal accidents per million inhabitants. The annual number of deaths on EU roads has been around 25,000 since 2013, after a steady decline from 43,000 in 2007. In Cyprus, the numbers have also declined over the years, from 83 in 2008 to 53 in 2017.
Passenger car deaths accounted for almost half (46 per cent) of all fatal road accidents in 2017, followed by deaths of pedestrians (21 per cent), motorcyclists (15 per cent), bicyclists (8 per cent) and deaths involving other forms of road transport (10 per cent).
In the EU member states, Bulgaria ranks highest in the passenger car category with 64 deaths per million inhabitants (2016 data), which is almost six times the lowest rate, that of Malta (11, also 2016 data).
The rate of deaths among pedestrians in road traffic accidents is highest in Romania (37 deaths per million inhabitants) and lowest in Denmark (3).
Greece had the highest rate of fatalities in relation to motorcycle accidents (20 deaths per million inhabitants) in 2017. This contrasts with the situation in Bulgaria (2016 data) and Estonia, where the rate is zero.
According to Eurostat, the data have been extracted from the Care database (the Community database on road accidents resulting in death or injury). Care contains detailed data on individual accidents collected by the member states from police and hospital sources.
Tampering with the mileage of second-hand cars is at last coming to an end, the Cyprus Consumer Association announced on Monday.
According to the announcement, the customs department in a letter dated August 7 informed the association that it would soon include mandatory information regarding used cars which shows the number of kilometres clocked up by the vehicle.
The customs department will make its database available to the road transport department so the information is available when cars are being registered.
If the department finds the vehicle’s odometer has been interfered with, the car will not be registered.
The Consumer Association said tampering with the mileage is not just about misleading consumers in terms of purchase price and maintenance costs, but is also related to issues of road safety and environmental damage.
In a 2018 study on the manipulation of odometers in motor vehicles in the EU, the European Parliament said the practice is widespread in cars traded cross-border in the EU and is estimated to affect up to 50 per cent of cases.
“The total economic costs of odometer fraud in second-hand cars traded cross-border in the EU can be estimated to be at least €1.31 billion, with the most probable fraud rate scenario yielding €8.77 billion of economic loss,” the report says.
There are several reasons, it explains, the first being that the fraud is practically impossible to detect, as the manipulation does not leave any trace in a car’s electronic devices.
New cheap technologies allow easy and cheap tampering of odometers.
Second, the majority of car manufacturers do not install high security protection for odometers that could help strengthen anti-fraud prevention.
Third, many member states do not provide consumers with the necessary tools to enable them to check a second-hand car’s history.
Though odometer tampering is prohibited in most EU countries, sanctions vary, the report warns, and only in five member states can consumers access pre-purchase mileage information, Belgium, the UK, Hungary, the Netherlands and Sweden.
The Commons transport committee warns that current laws give the ‘misleading impression’ that hands-free use is safe. MPs demand that ministers look at extending the current legislation.
Drivers should be banned from all phone use behind the wheel – including hands-free calls, MPs declare today.
Using technology such as car speakerphones or bluetooth headsets can create the same crash risks as holding a phone, they warn. The Commons transport committee warns that current laws give the ‘misleading impression’ that hands-free use is safe.
Instead, MPs demand that ministers look at extending the current legislation, which only bans use of hand-held phones while driving.
They also want the Government to consider increasing punishments for drivers using mobiles, as well as recruiting more traffic officers or using roadside cameras to catch offenders.
The radical proposal, which will now be examined by the Department for Transport, is likely to be welcomed by road safety groups, particularly as figures suggest the number of crashes involving mobiles is rising.
An 18-year-old motorcyclist is in critical condition in Limassol hospital after being involved in an accident on Sunday afternoon in Limassol.
The incident happened at 6.40pm when a car driven by a 36-year-old man collided with the motorbike at the junction of Esperides street and Omonia avenue.
The biker was taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with head injuries and a ruptured spleen.
He underwent surgery and is being treated in the intensive care unit. His state of health is described as very serious.
The driver was tested for alcohol and had a reading of 62µg instead of the 9µg allowed for drivers who have had a licence for less than three years. He also tested positive for drugs.
He was arrested while the causes of the accident are being investigated.
This was the second serious injury in an accident involving a motorbike during the weekend. An 11-year-old girl is in hospital in critical condition at the Nicosia general after the motorbike she was a passenger on crashed into a vehicle on a Limassol road on Saturday evening.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.