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Traffic camera system inundated by number of violations

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Photo: Christos Theodorides

The embattled traffic camera system is struggling under the current volume of fines it is issuing, with officials calling for a further delay to widening the programme.

The ongoing pilot phase is unable to cope with the fines issued from just four stationary cameras – about 500 daily, with officials fearing a further flood should they progress into the first phase which would add another 20 stationary units.

The electromechanical services department has called for a delay to the implementation of the first phase, according to daily Phileleftheros, with the pilot phase initially only scheduled to last three months.

About 27,000 fines have been issued but most violations have not been sorted. A chunk of the unsorted fines are ready but have not yet been sent by post, as is procedure. Some are receiving fines in May for violations which occurred in late January.

Close to seven months later and many of the core issues delaying the system are still present, such as difficulties in identifying the driver and a lack of staff at the company (Conduent State & Local Solutions). It is understood that the traffic department is preparing a report for the relevant ministers.

Difficulty in the identifying drivers and cross-referencing their details across various government databases and linking them to the correct address has a been a problem from the beginning, while it is not clear to what extent this has been remedied.

There has also been flood of complaints from the public who are eventually receiving their fines. One source of tension is that many are being fined for simply touching the white line at traffic cameras, once the light has gone red, even if the vehicle has not crossed over.

Haris Evripidou of the traffic department explained that in such cases a fine of just €25 is issued instead of the €300 had the vehicle fully crossed the line at a red light.

Some members of the public have expressed concern and have questioned why such cases are being investigated and burdening the programme when instead the focus should be on graver incidents.

He was also asked why drivers who are fined and wish to contest the claim are not able to review footage of the case, to which Evripidou replied that the current legal framework does not permit it. Currently, drivers are only provided with a photograph depicting the alleged infraction, with Evripidou stating that for it to be otherwise the law must be changed.

It was initially hoped that the pilot phase would be a period for the public to become acquainted with the system and that subsequently the volume of fines would decrease substantially.

As it stands, the traffic camera system in the Republic remains with just the four stationary and four mobile units installed late last year despite the initial plans setting out for 110 units – of which 90 would be stationary and 20 mobile.

There are fears that if more cameras were to come online then the system would be further choked and bogged down.

The pilot phase began on October 25 2021 and was only set to last for three months – with the first phase after that itself only set for six months with the addition of a further 16 mobile units and 20 stationary units.

The second phase was originally set to be completed within a year of the first phase and envisaged a further 66 stationary units.

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