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Police now seeking more sophisticated speed-camera system  

By Kristian Chrysostomou

Police have asked the transport ministry to install more sophisticated cameras which as well as recording speed, can also check for other crimes such as not wearing a seatbelt or talking to the phone while driving.

This is likely to delay the installation of speed cameras as was planned by the transport ministry.

In late July, minister of transport Vassiliki Anastasiadou said that by 2020 the speed camera systems should be working and fully operational. The gradual installation would begin in the first quarter of 2019. The decision came at the Road Safety Council meeting, where the intervention of President Nicos Anastasiades helped promote rapid implementation.

Police on Friday confirmed to the Cyprus Mail that they were asking the ministry to consider updating the cameras so that individuals who are caught speeding could also be checked for other traffic violations. The plan by the ministry originally was to introduce cameras that only photographed vehicles from behind.

“We plan to make sure that all vehicles are photographed from behind and front, a police spokesman said on Friday.

The ministry of finance has decided to fund the project using a private company and will do so in one-year instalments over five years. The company that is chosen will install the cameras and be responsible for their functionality over those five years. The total cost for the project is expected to be around €45.4 million and it is estimated that around €57 million will be made from fines during that period.

Chief of police, Zacharias Chrysostomou, stressed that the issue of individuals not wearing a seatbelt was being fought on multiple fronts. Urgent action is being taken towards the reinstallation of speed cameras and the increase of penalties concerning road infractions, while the lack of staff in the force, with 492 vacant positions, is being addressed.

The authorities launched an islandwide seatbelt and car seat campaign on July 30 to prevent and reduce traffic accidents and fatalities.

The campaign runs until August 5.

The recent deaths of three children, a five-year-old girl and two 11-year-old girls who were not wearing seatbelts, have prompted police to carry out increased checks.

When speed cameras were active from 2006 until 2007 before being stopped for technical reasons, there was a 54 per cent drop in accidents during those 11 months.

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