Traffic cameras switched on at last
By Leo Leonidou

LONG OVERDUE, the traffic camera system was finally switched on yesterday, ending nearly a year of delay and uncertainty.

Forty cameras (33 fixed and seven mobile) have been activated across the island, with an initial test period taking place until the middle of October.

Police spokeswoman Christalla Demetriou yesterday told the Mail that, “offenders will be sent tickets but there will be no fine or penalty points while the test period is in effect.

“Initially, an educational programme will aim to inform the general public on how the cameras will be used and will give an opportunity to our traffic personnel to become acquainted with the new system.”

The police have printed 2,000 educational leaflets, which are available to motorists, with a short film explaining the ins and outs of the system to be broadcast on television channels over the coming days.

Director of Traffic Police Theodoros Achilleos explained that once the test period comes to an end, the fine will be one pound for every kilometre per hour over the speed limit, as it is currently. If a driver is caught jumping a red light, the fine will be £50 plus two penalty points on their driving licence. Speeding drivers will also receive penalty points under the existing system.

The traffic chief also noted that, “if three-quarters of a vehicle crosses the white line while waiting at a red light, the driver will be fined. We hope this will put an end to the ridiculous practice of drivers creeping relentlessly forward at the lights.”

Tickets will be hand-delivered to offenders’ homes, rather than through the post.

A spokesman for the Traffic Unit said the aim was to increase safety on the roads.

“Excessive speed and jumping red lights are the two main culprits of serious road accidents,” he said. “With the introduction of the traffic cameras, our hope is that the number of accidents will be reduced.”

Makis Constantinides, Permanent Secretary of the Communication and Works Ministry, who have been in charge of the project, said yesterday that, “a review of how everything is progressing will take place nine months from now.”

He said the cameras “are very important, as studies indicate their impact on driving behaviour. We hope this impact will be dramatic and that drivers will become more law-abiding and that Cypriot driving standards will improve.”

He also spoke of his relief that the long-running saga has come to an end and thanked the police for their co-operation.

The General Manager of the Cyprus Automobile Association, Takis Kyriakides described the installation of the cameras as very beneficial.

“The safety of motorists and pedestrians is something that we feel very strongly about and we are in favour of any measures that increase road safety. Perhaps the cameras will stop young people killing themselves on the roads and causing injuries to others,” he said.

There are plans for 450 cameras island-wide over the next four years, at a cost of 6.5 million euros.

Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2006