Cyprus Mail

Traffic cameras stumble on collection concerns

Traffic cameras were installed on Grivas Dhigenis Ave in Nicosia in 2014

By Angelos Anastasiou

A DRAFT bill prepared by the Electromechanical Services Department for the introduction of 110 traffic cameras to capture speed-limit violations has stumbled on who will manage delivery and payment of speeding tickets, a source has told the Cyprus Mail.

According to the source, the bill has been prepared and forwarded to the Legal Service for review. It calls for the purchase of 90 fixed cameras, as well as 20 mobile ones, that will take pictures of speeders and record the violation.

“This is a measure to catch and punish speeding drivers – no seat-belts, no mobile phone use, they will only capture speeding,” the source said.

But the effort appears to stumble on who will undertake delivering the speeding tickets issued by the cameras, with police wanting as little involvement with the operation of the cameras as possible.

As a result of the police’s reluctance to engage, the bill calls for the operation of the cameras by the contractor that will install them.

The problem facing the Electromechanical Services Department is that current legislation precludes private contractors from issuing, delivering and requesting payment for speeding tickets.

The issue will be on the agenda of a meeting scheduled for next week between Justice minister Ionas Nicolaou and Transport minister Marios Demetriades.

“The EMS is ready to go, and the bill has been with the Legal Service for a long time now,” the source told the Cyprus Mail.

“We hope a breakthrough can be achieved at next week’s meeting so the tenders process can start.”

Previous efforts to introduce traffic cameras in combating speeding violations ended in fiasco, after various malfunctions were reported. During their operation, police said they were unable to deal with the mounting backlogs of undelivered speeding tickets.

Traffic cameras were installed along Nicosia’s Grivas Dhighenis avenue in mid-2014, in hopes of curbing the racing matches that were frequently held on the long, straight patch of road.

Although the measure proved a success in this regard, serious problems were reported in the first few days of the cameras’ operation, including repeated complaints by inconvenienced residents leaving from or returning to their homes, who said they were being issued fines on a daily basis.

The problems were largely ironed out after the speed limit was raised from 50 kilometres per hour to 65, though the illegal racing matches were simply moved elsewhere.

As a result, the EMS is considering moving the Grivas Dhighenis cameras to other high-risk areas for speeding, or where fatal car accidents have taken place.

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