The issue of serious and fatal road accidents was discussed on Wednesday in a broad meeting at the Presidential Palace, chaired by President Nicos Anastasiades, with the participation of all relevant Ministries and agencies.
In remarks after the meeting, Justice Minister Giorgos Savvides said that the meeting came as a result of President Anastasiades' serious concern over the matter.
Savvides said views were exchanged on potential additional measures that could be taken to tackle fatal road accidents, while particular emphasis was placed on the need to change the culture and mentality of driving in Cyprus.
As a first and immediate measure, attendees of the meeting agreed to increase police presence on the island’s road network, with a view to boost police presence even further in the future.
A campaign will seek to curb various road offenses with a particular focus on sidewalk parking and parking spaces for disabled persons
Savvides said alcohol and narcotics checks will be stepped up, stressing that at the meeting it was decided that “police will be instructed to at least double narcotics tests.”
Savvides made it clear that the move is “not a matter of raising state revenue.”
In collaboration with municipalities and communities, he said, a campaign will be launched seeking to curb various road offenses with a particular focus on parking on sidewalks and parking spaces for disabled persons.
He also said that "the debate - and hopefully a vote - on the increased penalties requested by the Justice Ministry from Parliament is at its final stage. The discussion among the House Transport Committee has been completed and I believe that in a matter of weeks - perhaps within this month - they [the penalties] will be brought before the plenum.”
Further plans to combat irresponsible driving also include advertising campaigns in cooperation with the Press and Information Office.
Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said concrete timetables will be set for the implementation of the decisions.
He also said his Ministry's proposals are focused on leveraging technology, as they include the proposal to construct an online platform through which citizens can report problematic incidents across the island’s road network.
Karousos said that the meeting’s discussion also delved into the need to continue the suspension of driving licenses for dangerous drivers, as well as the need to increase the difficulty of driving examinations through the use of technology.