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500 drivers fined under tougher traffic laws

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Nearly 500 motorists and cyclists were pulled over by Cyprus police enforcing a tougher regime of fixed penalties for traffic offences.

According to Charis Evripiadou, the Traffic Department’s acting director, a total of 494 motorists were handed heftier fines in the framework of a stricter driving code introduced as of Thursday.

In comments to the Financial Mirror Evripiadou said: “Out of the 494, 297 were stopped for speeding, 18 for not wearing a seatbelt, 15 for using a mobile phone whilst driving, another 15 cyclists for not wearing a protective helmet”.

Heftier fines were introduced Thursday after MPs approved in July inflating fines for speeding, drink-driving, not wearing a crash helmet or seat belt, and using a phone at the wheel, reckless driving and parking in non-designated areas.

“Officers will also be handing out penalties for failing to renew a vehicle’s insurance policy, having the vehicle tested for its roadworthiness and exhaust emissions (MOT) and settling road tax obligations”.

Evripiadou reminded the public that police have also lowered its speed limit tolerance.

Motorists taking advantage of a 20% police tolerance on speeding over the limit will have to make new calculations, the Transport Ministry decided.

The Road Safety Council has approved new guidelines instructing traffic police to drop their tolerance to 10% plus 2 kilometres per hour in certain speed zones.

This would mean that a vehicle going 58 kilometres or faster in a 50kph zone in urban and rural settings could also be fined.

Previously drivers could get away with doing 62 Km/h on an urban road.

In the case of roads with a 65 km/h limit, motorists who go 74 and higher will be ticketed under the new rules.

The new law will see speedsters fined up to €5 for each kilometre they are caught over the limit.

Offenders caught breaking the speed limit by up to 30% will be fined €2 for every kilometre, up to 50% €3, and 75% with €5.

Drivers violating the speed limit by more than 75% will be sent to court.

Driving without a seatbelt will cost offenders €150 with the same fine applying for drivers who are caught using their mobile phone while driving.

Fines for both offences were €85 but increase to €300 if there is a second offence within three years.

Fines for cyclists not wearing a helmet go up from €85 to €200 and then €300 for a second violation.

The fine for parking in a spot reserved for the disabled will rise from €85 to €300, the same for drivers who run a red light.

Evripiadou said some offenders did not take the new fines too well, as they resorted to cursing the officer serving the notice.