Police warn motorists of speed crackdown
By Leo Leonidou

THE POLICE yesterday launched a new road safety campaign after one person was killed and another five were seriously injured in a 48-hour period over the weekend.

Director of the Traffic Unit Doros Achilleos said that the clampdown, which will take place over the next fortnight, would focus on speeding.

He added that so far this year, there have been three more road deaths than for the corresponding period in 2007.

“There will be a marked increase in police numbers, particularly on motorways and A-roads,” he explained.

“Motorists have to get into their heads the fact that speeding is one of the main contributing factors to serious and fatal accidents.”

He also said that, “there were undoubtedly fewer accidents when the traffic camera system was in operation and we would have fewer victims today if the system was still operational.”

Concluding, he stated: “Unfortunately, motorists get behind the wheel with the wrong mentality and continue not only to speed, but also to commit a wide variety of other violations.”

Yesterday, the Road Safety Council convened for the first time under the new government, with a raft of measures announced.

After the meeting, Communications and Works Minister Nicos Nicolaides said the Council discussed doubling the budget available for traffic policing.

“We have decided to expand the Council, with qualified personnel from other government departments to be immediately transferred to help out,” he announced.

“Experts from throughout Europe will be invited to put forward suggestions for improving road safety and the police will be reinforced with more equipment including an extra 100 motorbikes.”

He added that new tenders for a traffic camera system would be offered “at the appropriate time.”

A new, free hotline (1415) was also launched yesterday, where citizens can report what they consider to be un-roadworthy vehicles to the authorities.

“I welcome this hotline where we will target vehicles which pollute and are dangerous to those driving them and to others,” Nicolaides said.

“Once a complaint is received, it will be investigated by the Road Transport Department, which has the power to take the vehicle in question out of circulation if need be,” he said.

On Saturday afternoon, a 19-year-old National Guardsman was killed after he lost control of his car and collided with an electricity pylon in the Famagusta district village of Liopetri.

The incident happened close to his barracks, after Marios Antoniou had been discharged for a period of leave.

Famagusta Traffic Police Sergeant Andreas Constantinou said the victim had been speeding.

In an earlier, unrelated incident, four National Guardsmen aged 18 and 19 were left in a critical condition after the car they were travelling in was involved in an accident on the Limassol-Nicosia motorway, at the Pareklisia exit.

And in Limassol, a 19-year-old cyclist was seriously injured after being hit by a car.

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