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Cyprus

New push to reduce road accidents

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In an effort to curb road deaths, authorities plan to undertake a detailed study and evaluation of all accidents over the past two years, which for the first is expected to draw “useful conclusions” on the behavior of drivers, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said on Tuesday.

Addressing a road safety conference in Nicosia, Nicolaou said there would also be a reassessment of the island’s accident black spots and the general behavior of drivers, particularly of young drivers under different driving conditions.

“In 2015 so far we recorded 48 fatal accidents with 49 fatalities,” he said. “These negative statistics necessitate the general enlisting and mobilising the whole of society. Enlightenment should not be the sole responsibility of the police. Efforts to prevent and reduce road collisions should be undertaken by other competent bodies, since each individual can play its own role, starting with the family.”

The main causes of road fatalities are driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding, and non-use of helmets, the minister said.

From the penal side, he said a study would also be done that would evaluate the adequacy of penalties and deterrents, and their enforcement. This study would bring in lawyers, psychologists, sociologists and others. He also referred to the new bill in the works that provides for a ten-year sentence for causing death due to negligent driving.  The introduction of the narcotest and the re-installation of traffic cameras plus a zero-tolerance policy would also go a long way towards reducing accidents, Nicolaou said.

A new communications policy that would put more emphasis on the use of social media to target young drivers would also be implemented, Nicolaou said.

“Awareness and changing human behavior can only be achieved with proper education, enlightenment and education of future drivers, from childhood through high school,” he said.

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