Traffic camera operators swamped by fines

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Cyprus’ traffic camera network was to be boosted with 16 more mobile and 20 fixed cameras installed in  April, but operators are trapped under a penalty backlog.

The traffic camera operators, Conduent State & Local Solutions, have been having difficulty processing tens of thousands of violations pilling up since 1 January when the system went live.

Website Philenews said the operators are swamped under some 50,000 notices.

They have only been able to cross-check data for some 10,000 (20%) and send out tickets to just 2,000 (4%) motorists caught breaking traffic rules.

Violations recorded by the four mobile and four fixed cameras had dropped to 600 a day in March, from 800 in January and 1,500 when they were first introduced on a pilot scheme in October.

Operators have difficulty confirming mailing addresses due to bad record-keeping or the time needed to calculate penalty points when more than one violation is recorded.

The delay builds up a backlog of fines as the camera network reports hundreds of violations daily.

According to Philenews, authorities and operators are contemplating delaying the launch of the first phase for a few months.

Operators are obligated to launch the first phase six months after completing the pilot stage, which was launched on 25 October 2021.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Transport Ministry essentially confirmed that the first phase of the network had been pushed back due to a backlog of fines, noting it will be launched once ‘practical issues’ are resolved.

“The purpose of the pilot phase was to test the system’s technical aspects and record any problems and issues that may exist from its operation in a real environment,” said the ministry.

The Transport Ministry said it would monitor operations closely, recording the identified practical snags.

“The Ministry assures its commitment to the proper implementation of the Traffic Camera Network, which so far has contributed significantly to reducing violations.

“Therefore, the first phase of the network will be implemented once the necessary solutions to practical issues are found”.

Legal doubts

The delay has reignited discussions over legal doubts and concerns of violation of personal data.

There are currently four fixed and four mobile cameras while it is expected that gradually 90 fixed and 20 mobile ones will be introduced over three years.

The four fixed cameras are at a busy Nicosia junction on Grivas Digheni and Demosthenis Severis Avenues.

Once the next stage is up and running, Cyprus’ traffic camera network will be enhanced with 16 more mobile and 20 fixed cameras installed in towns.

Another 66 devices will be imported by the end of the year.

Once the €34 mln system is fully operational, there will be 90 fixed units in 30 locations and 20 mobile cameras, which police will determine their place of operation.

The traffic camera network was introduced to reduce the number of deaths and road accidents.

So far, in 2022, there have been nine deaths resulting from nine road accidents.

When Cyprus introduced speed cameras in 12 locations in 2007, road accidents were reduced by over 50%.

Traffic cameras were first introduced 15 years ago, but technical and legal issues over the ownership of the platform and collection of fines forced the government to switch them off.

As an EU member, Cyprus has adopted the European target of a 50% reduction in road fatalities and a 50% reduction in serious injuries by 2030.