Three people a day are injured or killed in road accidents in Cyprus, safety experts said on Tuesday as Transport Minister Marios Demetriades stressed how important it was to have speed cameras up and running in 2017.
Speaking at a news conference organised by police and NGO Reaction to mark mobility week and Wednesday’s European Day Without Road Deaths, Demetriades said the new system would begin operating gradually from next year and be fully operational islandwide by 2019
He said the ministries of transport, justice and finance were discussing how to finance the project.
“This is where we are stuck,” he said. “I believe the project must be started in 2017. It can be fully implemented between 2018 to 2019 but it should at least start in 2017 to establish the foundations that we can build on towards gradual implementation. There is no other choice.”
In cooperation with other bodies such as police, NGOs, and the fire and ambulance services, Demetriades said a lot of collaboration was happening under the umbrella of the road safety council to try and reduce traffic deaths.
“Our aim is to implement actions at a much faster rate related to road safety. Certainly a lot has been done but we have to take the next big step,” he said, adding that getting to the next level of progress in road safety could only be done by implementing speed camera systems.
In the meantime, Demetriades said the state was moving ahead with the installation of security cameras on buses, which should be finished by the end of the year.
The head of Reaction, Marios Stavrou said that in the years 2014-2015, three people each day were either injured or killed in road accidents in Cyprus.
In 2015 alone, 57 people were killed, 377 seriously injured and 570 slightly injured.
“Road safety in our country is one of the biggest social problems,” he said.
“Proper prevention at a young age is the number one catalyst that can reduce the number of road collisions.”
The head of the police traffic department Yiannakis Charalambous said greatest concern of police was “the lack of road safety awareness by Cypriot drivers”.
He said that out of 57 road death last year, 56 were due to human error, and the 33 deaths that occurred so far this year were all down to human error. He also said that behind every “cold road fatality statistic” lay a story of human tragedy.
In the coming days Reaction will be distributing information at key points on the road network in cooperation with the traffic police, as well as holding educational road safety workshops.