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Traffic cam operator dogged by backlog

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The operator of Cyprus’ newly introduced traffic cameras has committed to clearing a backlog of some 45,000 fines piled up over the first quarter of the year, which has put a freeze on the rollout of the network’s next stage.

The network was to be boosted with 16 more mobile and 20 fixed cameras to be installed in April, but the operator, Conduent State & Local Solutions, has had difficulty processing the thousands of violations pilling up since January 1 when the system went live.

Traffic police Deputy Chief Harris Evripidou was quoted by Phileleftheros daily as saying that from January 1 to date, some 53,000 violations have been recorded by the eight traffic cameras up and running, out of which only 8,000 have been processed with fines sent out to offending drivers.

Four cameras have been installed at one central junction in Nicosia and four are mobile units.

The operator told Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos on Monday that it would be speeding up the process to clear the backlog by the end of May.

According to news reports, Karousos is determined to keep the company accountable to its commitment to stick to its development timetable.

He said the operator needs to put things back on track and added that the system will move to the next phase only when all out-of-court settlements are delivered to offending motorists.

The company, Karousos said, “has the opportunity to prove that everything is running smoothly, so that on May 30 we can move on from the pilot to the first phase of the network”.

The company appeared ready to fulfill its promise and its representative stated that from the end of May, tickets will be issued within 24 hours from the time the offence is recorded.

Deputy chief Evripidou added that the force is confident that the pace of delivering penalties will pick up.

From 1300 to 400 daily

He noted that the eight cameras record some 400 to 500 violations a day, dropping from 1,300 during the first days of the system’s operation.

Once recorded, the operator has up to 180 to deliver the fine. From then, the owner of the vehicle has 30 days to pay the fine online, which will increase by 50% if not paid within 45 days. If the offending driver fails to pay the fine, the case is sent to court.

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

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

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

Another 66 devices will be imported by the end of the year for installation at a later stage.

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 more than 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.