MPs support increased penalties for abandoning the scene of an accident but will whittle down proposed steep increases for traffic offences, Phileleftheros reported on Wednesday.
It said that the House Transport Committee had completed its discussion of seven new bills introducing stiffer penalties for traffic offences such as speeding and using a mobile phone while driving as part of efforts to stem the bloodshed on the road.
According to the newspaper, MPs agree with the principle but have reservations as to the extent of the increase. A final decision on the actual penalties is expected to be taken by each party before the bills go to the plenary for approval later this month or early in November.
MPs have indicated that fines should be proportionate to income levels. They argue that fines of €200 are excessive and are counter-proposing €120 to €150.
Police have long called for tougher fines which they say will work as a deterrent.
Phileleftheros said that MPs agree with a bill to tow away vehicles which obstruct or are parked on bends of main arteries and for these to remain impounded until all the fines and the towing costs are paid.
They also agree with a bill introducing tougher penalties for abandoning the scene of an accident.
A bill which give police the right to impound a vehicle when a driver is found to be drunk or speeding also appears to enjoy the support of MPs.
The reservations focus on a stiff hike in fines for traffic offences such as speeding, not wearing a seat belt or helmet and illegal parking.
The government’s proposal is for fines for failure to wear a seat belt or helmet to rise from €85 to €300 and 3 to 6 penalty points. The same penalties are proposed for using a mobile telephone while driving.
Jumping a red light would be punishable with a fine of €200, up from €85 plus 3 to 6 penalty points, up from 2-4.
Parking in a disabled spot and on pavements will carry a €150 fine, up from the current €85
AMENDMENTS to a 1999 law forbidding electric cars on highways are expected to be discussed by the House plenum in one of its coming sessions.
The matter emerged after Green Party leader Giorgos Perdikis was set to table a bill to amend the existing legislation before the plenum on Friday, only to find that an amendment proposal on the same issue was already submitted in June by Disy MP Demetris Demetriou and Diko MP Giorgos Prokopiou, with protocol dictating that a second proposal cannot be submitted until existing proposals on the matter are discussed.
As such, the law amendment proposal drafted by the two MPs is expected to be on the agenda of the plenum’s coming sessions.
According to the existing legislation, all cars powered solely by electricity (i.e not hybrids) are not allowed on highways where the minimum speed limit is 65km per hour. The law was passed in 1999 when small electric cars that circulated at the time were unable to surpass the minimum speed limit.
The number of electric cars on the island is on the rise, as from a total of just 34 electric cars registered in 2016, the figure rose to 87 in 2017 before rising higher to 135 in 2018. Significantly higher figures are being recorded for hybrid cars, which reached 4,418 in 2017.
Europe as a whole saw a surge of 30 per cent in electric car registrations between 2017 and 2018.
Diesel and petrol cars nevertheless continue to dominate the market, with the expensiveness of electric cars, with prices ranging from €22,000 to as high as €1m, that result from high manufacturing costs appearing to be the main hindering factor for potential buyers.
In Cyprus, means of transportation running on renewable energy sources amount to just 2.6 per cent of the island’s market, a figure EU targets wanted to see rising to 10 per cent by 2020, though prospects appear grim. Ireland, on the other hand, has set the aim to ban all conventional cars by 2030.
Some efforts to promote the use of electric cars have been made by the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC), which installed E-charge stations for electric cars in 20 spots across the island – seven in Nicosia, five in Limassol, two in Larnaca, Paralimni and Paphos while Polis Chrysochous and Platres each have one station.
An EU programme also funded the installation of 12 additional charging stations for electric cars in Cyprus, while EU regulations will also require all parking spaces to provide charging stations as of 2020.
Experiments with electric cars began in the mid of 19th century after people started noticing the pollution from automobiles. Inventors attempted to create rechargeable batteries and introduced electric trams and trains. The first electric car was finally developed in 1890 and could reach 23km per hour but over the years, faded into oblivion until climate concerns began to take hold in recent decades.
Paphos police on Thursday evening arrested a man in connection with the possession of drugs, dangerous driving, failure to comply with a police signal and other traffic offences.
Around 11.20pm, officers patrolling in Peyia signaled for a quad bike to stop, but instead of stopping the 41-year-old driver picked up speed and tried to escape. His vehicle came to a stop when it collided with the patrol car.
He then tried to flee on foot but was stopped after a number of warning shots were fired in the air.
When he was searched a small amount of cannabis and three knives were found.
The man had no driving licence and was not insured.
As he refused to give a sample for a breathalyzer and a saliva sample for a narcotest he was arrested.
Paphos traffic wardens have entered a ‘new era’ of digital technology as state-of-the-art handheld devices will soon go into operation, the municipality said.
“The new equipment consists of small handheld computers and a printer that will be connected to the municipality’s computer system, as well as the GPS system for the immediate detection and recording of the location of any illegally parked vehicles,” a spokesman said.
The camera will record the vehicle’s licence plates which will then automatically identify the owner and issue any fines in a matter of seconds.
A meeting was held earlier this week at the Paphos municipal hall, in the presence of the mayor, Phedonas Phedonos where the ways of operating the new technology was discussed and explained.
“The representatives of the supply company also ran through all of the possibilities,” the spokesman added.
Using the new equipment, the municipality’s traffic wardens will become more efficient and productive in the performance of their duties, while also increasing the possibility of greater control by the local authority, he added.
The spokesman also pointed out that the new technology would help to prevent any allegations and discrepancies from complainants over past fines.
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