The number of bookings made by traffic police so far indicate 2019 will go down as a record year, philenews reported on Tuesday.
In the first eight months of 2019, traffic police issued a total of 157,666 out of court fines while for the whole of 2018 it issued a total of 201,339. In 2017 it issued 193,258 and in 2016 a total of 189,021.
So far this year, police have issued 78,497 fines for speeding, 14,336 for failure to wear a seat belt, 1,508 for not wearing a helmet, 9,802 for using a mobile phone (free hands law), 9,517 for road tax and 4,091 for drunk driving. Fines were also issued for another 36,585 traffic offences.
Traffic cameras on Nicosia’ Grivas Dighenis avenue have recorded 3,330 cases of speeding so far this year.
Traffic chief Harris Evripidou told philenews that campaigns continue in a bid to raise awareness and implement the law. The aim is not to collect fines but to cultivate responsible driving and respect for traffic rules, he said.
Proposals before parliament to raise fines and penalty points for offences will help this effort, and though they will not eliminate the number of road fatalities will go some way in reducing them, he added.
But MPs appear reluctant to adopt a dramatic increase in fines.
House Transport Committee chairman Yiorgos Procopiou has spoken out in favour, saying the law should be particularly tough against those who park in disabled parking spaces or drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
But Disy’s Demetris Demetriou has suggested fines be proportionate to income. He has been echoed by Akel’s Christakis Tziovanis who supports tougher penalties, but based on the standard of living of the offender.
He has also called for quick action on installing traffic cameras. These have been out of use for 12 years, but the Transport Ministry recently invited bids to install a new system.
Greens MP Charalambos Theopemptou said that the roads were designed in a way that allows speeding, at a time when Cyprus tops the list of countries with accidents in residential areas.
The bills currently before the House propose raising the out-of-court fine for using a mobile phone while driving from €85 to €300. It also proposes a €300 fine for driving without a seat belt or helmet and for jumping a red light.
If the regulations are approved, parking on a pedestrian crossing will be punishable with a fine of €150 from the current €85, while the fine for parking in a disabled parking spot will rise to €200.