Justice Minister Emily Yiolitis on Thursday called on drivers to conform with traffic laws, the first day hefty new fines for violations went into effect.
“We are all concerned about traffic accidents, we want to limit the amount of deaths and injuries, and there is one very simple way of doing that and avoiding fines, which is to conform,” she said.
Asked about new fines while attending the Independence Day parade, Yiolitis said the fines would not be able to change driving behaviour on their own, but they could be a tool.
“There needs to be individual responsibility. All drivers need to realise that they must conform with the law and drive responsibly,” she said.
Increased fines are part of a raft of tough new measures for traffic violations which cover speeding, drink-driving, reckless driving, failing to wear a helmet or a seat belt, and cell phone use while driving.
As of Thursday, fines for motorcyclists not wearing a crash helmet more than doubled to €200, while those not wearing a seat belt will now have to fork out €150.
For some violations, the new penalties are extremely severe. For example, drivers failing to wear a seat belt will have to pay a €150 fine, which will be raised to €300 if there is a second offence within three years.
The fine for not wearing a helmet will rise from the current €85 to €200 and then €300 for a second violation.
Using a mobile phone while at the wheel will now cost drivers €150, instead of the current €85, with the fine potentially rising to €300 in case of a second violation within three years.
The fine for parking in a spot reserved for the disabled will rise from €85 to €300, as will the one for drivers who run a red light.
The changes are part of an ongoing effort aimed at limiting Cyprus’ high number of road deaths and serious injuries. At 67 deaths per 1 million inhabitants, the island has more road deaths per one million inhabitants than the EU average of 51.
“We hope that the increased penalties for traffic violations will help improve the safety on our roads and, at the same time, we expect full cooperation from drivers,” a police statement released on Tuesday said.
“Only this way can we drastically reduce road accidents and the consequent loss of lives on our roads.”
All the revised sentences have been posted on the website www.roadsafetycyprus.gov.cy.