Traffic camera network cancels 11,000 fines  

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Cyprus’ traffic camera network has run into a brick wall, as operators decided to recall 11,000 fines after admitting that cameras did not produce clear photos to identify offending vehicles.

Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos confirmed the news on Tuesday, who said that plans for moving to the next stage for another 36 cameras to the eight in operation in June would officially be put on ice.

In comments to Phileleftheros daily, Karousos appeared frustrated by the operators’ performance, saying authorities have requested further explanations.

The company said in many cases, the registration numbers of the vehicles were not visible; in other cases, the photos taken by the cameras were not clear, or the vehicle was not photographed from the correct angle, while some other incidents involved special vehicles such as ambulances.

The news comes after the operators said earlier in the month a backlog of 45,000 fines bogged the system down while offenders complained of being slapped with excessive penalties.

Since the network went live at the beginning of the year, 78,826 motorists were reported, of which just 36,000 have received fines through the post.

Cyprus’ traffic camera network was to be boosted with 16 more mobile and 20 fixed cameras in April, but plans were delayed due to the large backlog.

Last month, the system’s operators, Conduent State & Local Solutions, had committed to sending out all fines by the end of May to launch the second phase of the network in June.

“Our goal is to have offenders identified on the spot, with fines being issued instantly and sent out,” said the minister.

Meanwhile, drivers have complained that they have been handed a higher fine than the designated penalty for their offence.

Most complaints submitted to the management company concern offences recorded by the four fixed cameras.

Motorists claim they were handed a €300 fine for encroaching beyond the stop line when the fine should be €25.

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 the busy Nicosia junction of Grivas Digheni and Demosthenis Severis Avenues.

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.

Traffic cameras were first introduced 14 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.