Cyprus Mail

Fewer road accidents but more dead

Although there were fewer road accidents in 2015, more people have died because of them, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said on Tuesday while he added more checks on drivers will be carried out.

Speaking after a briefing at the traffic police headquarters with the police chief, the minister added that sentences will be re-evaluated as will the communication strategy on safe driving.

“In 2015 we had a reduced number (of road accidents) compared to the period between 2010 and 2014, despite the fact there is an increase in road deaths and the number of victims,” he said.

“We will increase checks and focus on the causes of road deaths, with a zero tolerance policy,” he added.

The aim, Nicolaou said “is not to increase the number of bookings, but increase the number of checks. Drivers need to realise that police are constantly on alert and drivers’ behaviour is being monitored.”

Branding it unacceptable people were dying due to drink driving, speeding or not wearing a seatbelt, the minister said there would be campaigns in schools, primarily targeted towards students aged 15 to 17 and younger.

Asked if this would include new curriculum in schools, Nicolaou said this was a matter for the education ministry but there had been a strategy designed to regularly visit schools.

“We all remember references from our childhood, like when the policeman taught us how to cross the road when we were young.”

Similar campaigns are already underway for conscripts.

Nicolaou stressed the need to take more drastic measures in combating traffic violations and cultivating road safety awareness.

A new communications strategy set to achieve this has already been agreed upon and is based on a scientific study stemming from evaluating different groups of drivers – elderly drivers, foreign nationals, bikers and so forth.

In addition, the University of Cyprus is to undertake a study on the sentences handed down by courts while in the meantime, a new research and study centre for road problems will be set up, Nicolaou said.

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