The President’s Cabinet is cutting red tape when it comes to traffic cameras, in an effort to have a system installed sooner than later.
Following a number of deadly accidents in the Republic of Cyprus, there is a bigger push to bypass procedures this time around to avoid failed efforts in the past to install and operate an island-wide speed camera network.
Officials believe traffic cameras would save lives on the road, following countless collisions over the years and an apparent increase in fatal accidents recently.
Previous efforts to install, operate, and maintain a camera network had failed for many reasons, including legal concerns, operational costs, staffing, and technical issues.
The transport minister expects that cameras could be installed by the end of 2019, barring any unforeseen circumstances
But Transport Minister Vasiliki Anastasiadou says there are ongoing efforts within government agencies to streamline procedures and merge different deadlines so that cameras can be installed sooner.
Anastasiadou, who spoke to daily Phileleftheros, said the Ministry has proposed to skip a feasibility report altogether and any technical specifications would simply be included in the contract specifications.
She expects that cameras could be installed by the end of 2019, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou also said this week that enough time has been wasted with the camera installations, echoing that feasibility studies are not needed. He added that direct consultations could take place with agencies that take on the drafting of bidding proposals.
A total of 110 cameras, 90 stationary and 20 mobile, are expected to cover areas with trouble spots and major intersections, as defined by data available through the Traffic Police department.
Traffic police also is pushing for front cameras that would take photos of drivers from the front, in order to fine people who violate a number of rules, including mobile phone use and not wearing seat belts.
But parliament is unlikely to pass such a measure, as there was a huge backlash from the public with many in the past citing privacy issues.
Police say a number of alleged offenders had claimed later they were not the ones driving their vehicles over the limit or violating a red light, saying instead it was their spouse, housemaid, or other relatives.
Authorities say that road collisions were down by 53% in 2007 when traffic cameras were in oiperation for 11 months.
No other studies are known on the effects of cameras in reducing fatal accidents in Cyprus, but officials cite experts overseas where cameras have already helped bring the number down considerably.