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20° Nicosia,
18 October, 2018
 
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Traffic camera citations by registered mail

New proposal aimed to force non-paying violators to run out of excuses

Newsroom

Drivers who commit traffic offences and are caught on camera will receive the bill in the mail, if a current proposal for a new network to be rolled out next year goes forward. 

According to Treasury government officials, traffic camera fines should be mailed by regular post to the address of the registered vehicle, in order to save money.

But during a committee meeting recently, according to daily Phileleftheros, it was proposed that the tickets be sent by registered mail even if it meant it would cost more money.

The logic behind the more expensive route, according to the committee overseeing the process from start to finish, is to establish a more effective revenue process for the state by preventing vehicle owners from coming up with excuses, such as not having received a notice.

Offences would range from going over the speed limit and violating a red light to using a mobile phone in a non-hands-free manner and not wearing seat belts

Currently, the only two cameras operating in the Republic of Cyprus today are in Nicosia, on Grivas Dhighenis Avenue, which have been running since summer 2014.

But initial hopes of curbing late night racing matches along Engomi’s notorious road stretch had turned into a full-blown operation of fining average drivers going to work, school and home, sometimes taking months to be notified of a possible violation over the phone.

As a result, many people who received fines complained to police for not acting in a timely manner, as in some cases drivers had accumulated enough penalties to lose their licenses in just a few short months without ever knowing about the first violation.

Another problem was the speed limit on Grivas Digenis, which was only 50 kilometres per hour. Following public outcry, it was raised to 65.

Previous efforts to install, operate, and maintain a nationwide speed camera network had failed for many reasons, including legal concerns over privacy, operational costs, staffing, and technical issues.

The new cameras, expected to be installed before the end of 2019, would allow a private contractor to operate the network and flag vehicles for police, who would then examine the violation and sign off on the ticket for offences ranging from going over the speed limit and violating a red light to using a mobile phone in a non-hands-free manner or not wearing seat belts.

Sooner than later

It is not clear whether legal clearance has been obtained for new legislation to go through and a fast-track bidding process to go forward.

But the government last summer said it found ways to cut red tape for the project, estimated to cost over 40 million.

Transport Minister Vasiliki Anastasiadou said at the time that there were ongoing efforts within government agencies to streamline procedures and merge different deadlines so that cameras can be installed sooner than later.

Local experts believe traffic cameras would save lives on the road, following countless collisions over the years and an apparent increase in fatal accidents recently, involving cars, motorbikes, bicycles, and pedestrians.

Opponents of the speed cameras say they are an invasion of privacy and do little to prevent accidents.

TAGS
Cyprus  |  camera  |  traffic  |  police  |  speed  |  seat belts  |  safety  |  accident  |  auto  |  privacy  |  legal  |  law  |  constitution

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