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House committee chair proposes halving fines for running red lights

House transport committee, transportation
The House transport committee

House transport committee chairman Marinos Mousiouttas presented a proposal on Thursday to halve the cost of fines for motorists who run red lights from €300 to €150.

Mousiouttas presented the proposal at the committee’s meeting and clarified that his proposal entails an initial fine payable of €150, but that those who reoffend within three years be charged the full €300.

He explained that similar fine structures are already applied to offences such as driving while using a mobile phone, not wearing a seatbelt while in a car, and not wearing a crash helmet while riding a motorcycle.

Speaking after the committee meeting, he said the discussion “was held in a very good atmosphere” and expressed his appreciation for the input of other MPs.

“During the discussion, it emerged that the fine of €300 is imposed either if someone stops on the line or goes too far over it. If you stop with half your car on a pedestrian crossing, the fine is €25, but if more than half your car is on the pedestrian crossing, the fine is €300,” he said.

He added, “we believe that a fine should be based on the severity of the crime and the maximum severity is when someone runs a red light and carries on regardless, but the act of stopping too late is not as serious, especially if someone has only kind of crossed the line.”

He said the transport and justice ministries committed themselves to studying his proposal and reporting back to the committee by January 15, where it is expected they will present their own counterproposal for proportionate impositions of traffic fines.

Additionally, he pointed out that at Thursday’s House plenary session, MPs are set to discuss the potential reduction of the time required for driving licence penalty points to expire from three years to two.

The matter had already been discussed at the House transport committee last week.

To this end, Mousiouttas said he expects there to be a “more general discussion” on the issue of traffic fines with the relevant ministries in the coming days and weeks, with issues pertaining to the reliability of traffic cameras also set to be up for discussion.

Akel MP Valentinos Fakontis also spoke about the matter of traffic cameras after Thursday’s committee meeting, saying “it has become clear that the system has lost its way from what it was intended to be, a tool to prevent traffic accidents and collisions.”

He added, “traffic violations recorded by the cameras, where someone has two wheels over the white line, incur a fine of €300. This is unfair and devastating for people, especially when one considers the pressure people are under with frozen wages and the rising cost of living.”

“We went to stop people falling victim to road traffic accidents, but at the same time … this must be done through creating a culture and awareness of road safety and a mutual respect between road users,” he said.

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