Traffic offenders will need to dig deep into their pockets under long-awaited tougher penalties set to be approved by the House of Representatives by the end of June.
The House Transport Committee has hammered out consensus on the seven bills after amending the initial proposals submitted by the government.
The steep fines for offences such as drunk driving, speeding and failing to wear a seat belt come as authorities finalise a new strategic plan to slash the number of road fatalities in Cyprus by half in the next decade.
The number of road fatalities in Cyprus in recent years has ranged around 50 every year. Police hope tougher penalties and traffic cameras for which tenders have been launched will help stem the bloodshed.
A total of 15 people have already died on the island’s roads so far this year, compared to 11 in the same period last year.
The House Transport Committee has reached consensus on the new fines, although amendments may still be introduced before the seven bills go to the plenary for approval.
As things stand now the new fines are:
- For not wearing a seat belt, the fine will rise to €150 and then €300 if there is a second offence within three years.
- The fine for not wearing a helmet will rise from the current €85 to €200 and then €300 for a second violation.
- Use of mobile phone while driving will be punished with a fine of €150 (from the current €85). It will rise to €300 in case of a second violation within three years.
- A traffic light violation will carry a fine of €300 (now €85).
- The fine for parking in a spot reserved for the disabled will rise from €85 to €300.
- Parking on a yellow line will rise to €100 from €65.
- Overtaking on a pedestrian crossing will rise from €65 to €200.
- For speeding: for speeding by 30% above the limit the fine will rise from the current €1 per km to €2; for speeding by 50% above the limit the fine will rise to €3 per km; for speeding by 70% above the limit the fine will rise to €5 per km; if the driver is speeding above 75% of the limit, the driver will appear in court which can impose a sentence of up to two years in jail and/or a fine of €6,000
- For drunk driving: for alcohol levels from 23mg to 35mg the fine will rise from €100 to €125, from 36mg to 55mg from €200 to €250 and from 56mg to 70mg from €300 to €500.
- Driving under the influence of drugs will be punishable with jail or up to three years and/or a fine of €10,000.
- If there are more than one offences, for example speeding while under the influence of alcohol, penalties will double and offenders will appear in court (there is no out of court fine) where they will face a sentence of up to four years in jail and/or €15,000 fine.
- Reckless driving will be punishable with jail of up to two years and/or €6,000 fine. If under the influence of alcohol, drivers will be banned from driving for two months.
- Driving without insurance will carry a fine of €200 and 3-6 points.
- Driving without MOT will carry a fine of €300 for professional drivers and €150 for drivers of private vehicles.
- The penalty for causing a fatal traffic accident will rise from up to four to up to 10 years in prison and a fine of €30,000. Abandoning the scene of an accident will carry the same penalty.
- An amendment will allow police to confiscate the vehicle of drivers caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Source: MPs set to approve tougher penalties to crack down on traffic offenders