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Speed cameras will save lives, money

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Re-introducing speed cameras on Cyprus’ roads will save lives by reducing road accidents while bringing down the social costs of traffic incidents which amounted to €210 mln in 2019.

Thirteen years after dismantling its national traffic camera network due to technical and legal hiccups, Cyprus signed a €34 mln deal with US firm Conduent State and Local Solutions for cameras to be gradually operational from next June.

Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said the installation of 110 speed cameras will help reduce the number of lives lost on Cyprus roads.

Cameras will be used to detect traffic violations, from speeding and running a red light, to talking on a phone whilst driving and not wearing a seatbelt.

The focus will be in urban areas where most accidents take place.

“With these new steps we have taken, we hope to significantly contribute to the reduction of road accidents in the country,” Karousos said in a statement.

The minister argued that several official studies, both home and abroad show that fewer accidents occur where cameras are installed.

“Traffic camera systems have been proven to significantly reduce road accidents. This project aims at enhancing road safety and protecting human life.

“The government has intensified its efforts to increase road safety and reduce road accidents through the implementation of new systems.

“There is no doubt that the traffic camera system to be installed in Cyprus will reduce road accidents.”

Karousos said that during the period when Cyprus had speed cameras in 12 locations, road accidents were reduced by 53.57%.

As an EU member, Cyprus has adopted the European target of 50% reduction in road fatalities and 50% reduction in serious injuries within the decade 2021-2030.

The goal was incorporated in a new safety plan approved by the national road safety council last September.

Karousos argued that by saving human lives, socio-economic benefits also arise.

“In 2019, the cost of road accidents in Cyprus, which included 52 deaths, 340 serious injuries and 343 minor injuries, amounted to €210 mln. Road accidents since 2015 have cost some €1.1 bln.”

According to the Minister, European studies reveal that each road death in Cyprus costs €1.83 mln, each serious accident costs €315,000 and each minor accident costs €25,000.

“Therefore, even a 20% reduction in accidents will bring economic benefits, apart from saving lives.”

In calculating the cost of road accidents, studies take into consideration medical costs, loss of production, settlement costs and traffic congestion costs.

Human costs are more than half of the total, while the damage to vehicles is also relatively high (about a quarter of the total cost).

The project of re-introducing speed cameras to Cyprus roads will be implemented in three phases.

The pilot phase, which is expected to be completed within six months, includes the operation of four mobile cameras and the installation and operation of four fixed cameras in one location.

A centre for processing violations will be installed where notifications are going to be issued and sent to offenders. This is expected to be completed in another three months.

After the initial nine months, a first phase will start, lasting a further six months. This involves the operation of 16 more mobile cameras and the installation and operation of an additional 20 fixed cameras in six locations.

During the next and final phase, to be completed within one year after the first phase, 66 fixed cameras will be added, bringing the total to 90, in 23 locations.