By Evie Andreou
THE JUSTICE minister will discuss further measures aimed at preventing fatal road accidents after seven people died in just one week.
Two 20-year-old men died on Friday evening in separate traffic accidents in Larnaca and Ayia Napa. A 76-year-old man died on Thursday after a drunk driver crashed her car into his. His wife, 84, was seriously injured.
Two teenagers were killed two Saturdays ago in separate accidents in Nicosia, and another two, a woman, 26, and a 48-year-old man, were killed in separate incidents in Nicosia and Limassol on Tuesday.
Last week’s fatalities raised the number of road accident deaths to 26 since the beginning of the year.
According to police statistical data, that makes four accidents and two fatalities more than the same period last year when, in total, 44 people died in 41 fatal road accidents.
“Some people do not realise the dangers they take when they don’t wear seat belts, do not wear a helmet, when they speed and consume alcohol before driving,” Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said on Monday.
The minister also said that within the week he would have a meeting with top police officers to evaluate the next measures they would take to prevent fatal road accidents. He even said that they might proceed with legal amendments.
“The goal is to continue the downward trend of fatal road accidents seen over the last few years and especially last year’s,” Nicolaou said.
In 2013, the number of road accident victims in Cyprus was 53 per million inhabitants compared to 61 in 2012, a decrease of a 14 per cent. In 2001, there were 140 road accident victims per million inhabitants said a report of the European Commission.
The minister said that elderly drivers would be one of the issues on the agenda. One of last week’s fatal accidents was caused by a 77-year-old man who failed to stop at a stop sign and rammed a van driven by a 48-year-old man. The van overturned and was sent crashing into a pickup. The 48-year-old was crushed by his vehicle, police said.
“Unfortunately they too are one of the issues that we should be concerned with, to evaluate the measures taken up till now toward that direction,” Nicolaou said.
Heads of the traffic police had already a meeting last week to discuss the recent spate of road deaths, particularly those involving elderly people.
Police are considering a legal amendment which would oblige drivers over 70 years of age to undergo an annual general medical examination, both mental and physical.
At present, medical examinations are obligatory every three years for drivers over 70.
By Evie Andreou