Drivers found to be driving under the influence of drugs, are found to be way over the alcohol limit or exceed by far the speed limit will have their licence taken away immediately, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said on Friday.
He was speaking after a meeting of the road safety council, which he presided over in the presence of Justice Minister Giorgos Savvides.
The transport minister said the measure would be implemented as of Friday. Police said they would discuss the practical implementation of this proposal on Monday.
A police source told the Cyprus Mail that for alcotests, instructions will be given for licences to be revoked immediately in cases where the reading is 120μg and over, while those found with over 70μg when breathalysed will be subject to this measure if they are caught for the same offence again. As regards speeding, the source said whether a licence will be revoked will be assessed for each case.
Karousos, citing the “very worrying data” presented during the meeting on driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs and speeding, said that the council has decided to make use of the powers of the road transport department.
“When it is confirmed they are driving dangerously, their licences will be suspended immediately until their cases are investigated,” Karousos said.
He added that the road transport department has the power to suspend drivers’ licences.
The minister gave as an example the case of the professional driver caught driving with his feet last November.
“His license was cancelled and he was asked to take exams again to be able to obtain a professional driver’s licence,” Karousos said.
The 43-year-old man was called in for questioning by the police last November after posting a video on Facebook of himself driving his truck using only his feet, on the Nicosia-Limassol motorway. He faces two charges relating to engaging in a senseless, dangerous and reckless act and driving without insurance. He is due in court next week.
Karousos said the road transport department, after being informed by the police, will immediately revoke the licence of those found driving recklessly through speeding or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
He explained that if a driver’s narcotest is found positive then his licence will be immediately revoked until his case is referred to a medical council which would look into whether he or she is a regular drugs user or not.
“If someone is found to speed excessively, they will be deemed as dangerous and the road transport department has the power to revoke their licence and it will do so,” the minister said, adding that they will exhibit “zero tolerance”.
Justice Minister Savvides said that this year started tragically since by the end of January five people had died in road accidents, most of them young persons.
He said that seven bills and a regulation on harsher penalties for traffic offences are currently being discussed at the House transport committee and expressed hope they would be tabled to the plenary to vote within February.