Cyprus is mourning its 51st road victim of 2019 with 21-year-old Panayiotis Panayiotou dying in a car accident, as the 20-year-old passenger fights for his life at Nicosia General Hospital.
The two men were found in a ditch after plummeting down a 190-metre cliff when their car veered off the Spilia-Kannavia mountain road.
The two young men were located at the scene by Kakopetria police officers at around 8.30 pm on Sunday night.
Chief of Cyprus Traffic Police Yiannis Georgiou told CyBC radio on Monday morning that the two young men were not wearing seatbelts.
Cyprus police data shows the number of traffic deaths in 2019 (51) has already exceeded last year’s toll of 49, while there are concerns over a further increase during the festive season.
Deaths on Cyprus roads at their highest level for two years
In 2014, Cyprus mourned the loss of 45 people, with deaths spiking to 57 the following year, dropping back down to 46 in 2016.
In 2017 53 people lost their lives on Cyprus roads, and 49 in 2018.
With the rate of fatalities per population still high, and far from EU targets set in 2010 for member states to halve them by 2020, Cyprus is obliged to reduce road deaths to less than 30 a year.
According to Eurostat, Cyprus is well above the EU’s road death average of 49 per million inhabitants. Latest data available shows Cyprus with 62 deaths per million inhabitants in 2017.
With Christmas approaching, authorities are concerned as the festive seasons sees drivers behaving in a more ‘erratic’ manner while drunk driving becomes a factor.
Cyprus’ Youth Council has launched a zero casualties’ campaign under the slogan #takecare.
The main idea behind #Take Care is that young people should not just be the recipients of this campaign, but the protagonists.
That is why the Cyprus Youth Council has invited young people to participate in the campaign as ‘Chiefs’.
The team of Chiefs is the driving force of the campaign, made up of people who have experienced the consequences of a traffic accident, are actively involved in road safety campaigns and are willing to work for social change.
Traffic watchdog REACTION has launched their Christmas campaign under the slogan ‘I will be there’ (#thaeimaiekei), in an effort to raise awareness over road safety by reminding drivers that there is someone waiting for them at home.