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12° Nicosia,
23 July, 2024
 
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Over 40,000 unpaid fines await court action

Overloaded courts anticipate surge in traffic violation cases

Charalambos Stylianou

The photo-enforcement system that utilizes traffic cameras has yet to see any unpaid violators' cases being brought to court, according to a report on Philenews.

The latest police data reveals that currently, 40% of fines sent by mail remain unpaid, indicating that there are over 40,000 pending cases. Although the system is still in Phase A, once it becomes fully operational by the end of the year with 90 fixed cameras and 20 mobile cameras, the courts can anticipate a significant surge in cases.

The initial challenges encountered between the Traffic Police and the contracted company responsible for managing the system have mostly been resolved. These challenges primarily revolved around verifying driver information to ensure accurate prosecution and identifying drivers of company-owned vehicles.

The process for registering cases involves the contracted company providing information about the violator and the violation to the Traffic Department. Once identification is confirmed, the details are forwarded to the relevant police station for case preparation and registration. Subsequently, indictments are delivered to the offenders following the standard procedure for other traffic violation cases.

Authorities are worried that the already burdened courts will face additional strain when the influx of cases begins, potentially leading to delays of over two years in resolving traffic-related matters.

The issue of payment deadlines for fines has been addressed through legislative amendments. The Legal Service guarantees that the expiration of timeframes will not impact the detection and delivery of registered documents, including fines and letters. However, undelivered fines have become a concern, as many drivers deliberately choose not to collect them. Moreover, some individuals, due to practical reasons such as address changes, illness, or absence, do not receive the necessary notifications.

These fines do not expire, and efforts are underway to develop an electronic catalog that can identify individuals who attempt to travel or engage with the police, ensuring the delivery of extrajudicial notices.

Data indicate that between January 1, 2022, and May 17, 2023, the cameras recorded 213,603 road violations, out of which 181,920 fines were sent by mail. Unfortunately, only 67,362 extrajudicial fines have been settled, highlighting the challenges in collecting the outstanding fines.

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