A rise in fatal accidents possibly indicative of an alarming trend has been observed, compared to the same period last year, police said on Wednesday.

According to data from the traffic department, vehicle collisions leading to injury and deaths are up by 16.7 per cent so far, while fatal accidents alone show a 41 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2023.

While last year at this time 12 road deaths had been recorded, this year has witnessed a total of 14 accidents with 17 deaths so far. One of the instances is the New Year’s Eve accident in Limassol, in which four members of the same family died when their car was hit by another driver at a light controlled intersection.

The final total of traffic deaths in Cyprus in 2023 reached 34. In 2020, 48 road traffic deaths were recorded and in 2021, the figure stood at 45, while in 2022 it stood at 37.

The marked reduction in road deaths starting in 2022 was largely attributed to the installation of cameras, in combination with other successful measures taken by the police.

This year, the biggest increase in fatal accidents so far has been recorded in Limassol, which saw three more deaths than in the same period last year (a total of six versus three), and seven in 2022.

In Nicosia six fatal collisions were recorded so far, compared to five last year, and two in 2022.

Larnaca is next, with three deaths in as many collisions, compared with one last year and none in 2022, while Morphou had one fatality and none in the two previous years.

In Famagusta one death was recorded this year, while in the corresponding period the last two years there were two each year.

Paphos is also the only district with no traffic fatality this year to date, compared to one last year and none in 2022.

Most deaths happened on urban roads in cities, not on highways traffic police spokesman Haris Evripidou told Phileleftheros. He attributed the increase in fatal accidents largely to irresponsible mobile phone use. Last year over half (11 out of 20) of road vehicle fatalities were due to phone use while driving, he said.

Even though fines from traffic cams have decreased since 2022— indicating increased overall compliance with traffic rules and speeding limits since cameras were introduced, negligent phone use and speed continue to be problems, Evripidou noted.

Pedestrians and foreigners appear to be the main road victims hit by careless drivers and their numbers have increased this year.

One encouraging fact is that there have been no fatal collisions due to inebriation this year and the data also shows a reduction in alcohol-related injuries, compared with past years.