Rise in drunk, drug-drivers as road deaths climb

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Police in Cyprus are concerned over the increase of fatal accidents involving drivers under the influence of hard drugs or alcohol.

Following Sunday’s fatal road accident, which cost the life of a 68-year-old Israeli tourist who was hit by a car while riding an electric scooter in Ayia Napa, it emerged that the 26-year-old driver of the vehicle had taken amphetamine pills.

In comments to Phileleftheros daily, police spokesperson Christos Andreou said that every year five people lose their lives in accidents involving drivers who are either under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“The more checks we perform, the more people we find under the influence of drugs.

“We are extremely concerned over what is happening on our roads, with people consuming illegal substances or alcohol and getting behind the wheel,” said Andreou.

He said, every month, officers, on average, report more than 100 drivers who get behind the wheel after taking drugs.

Until May 31, 520 drivers were reported following a drug test, and 1,164 were charged for drunk driving.

Andreou noted that drug tests are not widely used due to their high cost.

He said officers are trained to recognise when a driver could be under the influence of drugs and perform a test.

Meanwhile, the long Pentecost holiday weekend saw three fatal accidents, claiming the lives of three people, with a 19-year-old motorcyclist on a ventilator.

In total, 19 people have lost their lives in 18 accidents this year, compared to 14 deaths from 13 road accidents in 2021.

The first fatal accident of the holiday weekend occurred at 8 am last Saturday, when 52-year-old motorcyclist Andreas Hatziphilippou, under conditions being investigated, was hit by a car on the Sotira-Liopetri road in the Famagusta region.

The second road death occurred on Sunday night, claiming the life of 59-year-old Merab Maglakelidze from Georgia, who was killed in a hit and run in Paphos.

The vehicle’s driver, a 36-year-old from Sri Lanka, was later arrested.

The third accident killed 68-year-old Israeli Tziv Poghal, who was riding his electric scooter on Nissi Avenue in Ayia Napa when hit by a car.