But minister says no reduction in fines for going through red light
Drivers will not be penalised for warning others of speed checks ahead, and the €300 fine for going through a red light at the traffic cameras will not be lowered, the transport minister has told the Cyprus Mail.
Alexis Vafeades put rumours to rest which emerged over the past few weeks and circulated in reports after a road safety council meeting on Tuesday.
Vafeades categorically denied the rumours and reports that the ministry was preparing a bill to penalise drivers who warn others of speed checks.
“There is no such proposal, but what has been discussed is criminalising devices which interfere with the operation of the traffic cameras,” he told us on Friday.
He clarified that social media groups or apps which inform drivers of speed check locations are not prohibited.
“Neither is it prohibited for a driver to flash their lights to warn others of speed checks ahead,” he said.
Vafeades further explained that when the bill goes to the legal services for review, the language will clearly state that it is only devices which interfere with the cameras that are to be prohibited.
The other hot topic has been the possibility of the €300 fines from the cameras being reduced, with the minister previously having supported such a move.
Indeed, in early September Vafeades stated that some pensioners receive €600-€700 a month meaning they would lose half a month’s income by passing through a red light.
But on Friday he referred to a fatal crash this week in which a driver ran a red light, hit someone, and died.
“So let me clearly state that there will not be a reduction in the fines, the €300 fine for running a red light is not going down,” the minister said.
He said the police supported the fine remaining at €300.
“So the fine must remain high,” he emphasised.
The police have explained that the stationary camera units issue three types of fines: speeding (with the fine linked to how fast the vehicle was moving), passing over the white stop line (€25), and passing through a red light (€300).
Vafeades also promised further clarifications on the situation at intersections when drivers need to turn right.
“We clarified that if you move into the intersection while the green arrow to turn right is lit, then that is not a violation even if the green arrow switches off before you’re able to make the turn,” he said.
“Therefore you’re not punished even if the green arrow elapses – you are given time to move,” he said.
Vafeades added that was what had appeared to have caused widespread confusion and concern, adding that upcoming projects will aim to make the situation considerably clearer.
He said that will include clearer road markings, among other efforts, which are to be completed soon and to achieve immediate results.
“I think these efforts will be satisfactory for now to gain the public’s trust in the process at the traffic cameras and intersections,” he said.
But another longstanding complaint from the public is the notification process as to whether a fine has been received, with issues and delays in handing out fines leading to post offices being flooded with them.
“We decided to review the process and discussed the possibility of handing the fines at the ports and airports, and during road tax renewals – I believe this will make the handing over of fines much more effective,” he explained.
The minister also confirmed that a driver may soon be alerted via text message or email that they have been fined, but that development depends on the relevant bill the passing through parliament.
He added that some drivers currently complain that fines are arriving seven months after the violation.
As for the future of the traffic camera system, Vafeades said the second phase of installation is underway, meaning dozens more cameras are to be placed throughout Cyprus.
Information made available by the minister to Akel MP Nikos Kettiros shows that 241,695 violations have been recorded by the cameras since they became operational on January 1, 2022.
The data, valid up until August 30, further shows that mobile (van) cameras snapped the majority of violations – coming in at 173,178. Those were for speeding.
The fixed (stationary) cameras in Nicosia recorded 18,623 speeding violations, 27,243 drivers crossing the white line, and 16,574 for going ‘through’ a red light.