The fines for certain traffic violations, particularly for running a red light, have been substantially lowered under a bill passed by the House on Thursday.

MPs said the change was necessary, as some of the fines applicable up until now were deemed too steep for the average motorist.

Specifically, the penalty for stopping on the zebra crossing for pedestrians is now €85 – down from €300 previously. But where a driver goes beyond the zebra crossing, the fine remains as is at €300.

Marinos Mousiouttas, the Diko MP who drafted the bill, said that in some cases the fines for running a red light were too high.

Speaking on the House floor before the vote, Akel MP Valentinos Fakontis criticised the traffic lights system, calling it more punitive than preventative.

He said people are “drowning” in fines, and meanwhile many can’t afford to pay them – not when they’re on wages of €900 a month.

Elam’s Sotiris Ioannou described the traffic lights system as a “fiasco”. He said drivers are often “ambushed” including in areas which have no history of accidents.

Independent MP Andreas Themistocleous cited statistics according to which deaths from car collisions, far from going down, have increased by 41 per cent since the traffic cameras went into operation.

During a parliamentary discussion in March, lawmakers heard that last year authorities recorded 20,000 instances of drivers running a red light.

Meantime the government itself has tabled its own tweaks to the relevant legislation governing traffic fines and the use of cameras in cities. They stipulate that out-of-court fines for traffic violations will largely remain the same, but offenders will have more time to pay them.