Cyprus recorded the lowest number of road deaths in 2022, with officials pinning the success of re-introducing speed cameras after almost 15 years.
With three days to go until the end of 2022, Cyprus traffic police have reported 37 deaths from road accidents, seven less than last year.
Despite the high number of fatalities for an island of less than a million inhabitants, authorities are encouraged as numbers have been dropping.
Some 44 people lost their lives on Cyprus’ roads in 2021, down from 48 in 2020 and 52 in 2019.
The highest number of road deaths recorded in the past decade was 67 in 2011; a decade before, they were in triple figures.
Quoted by Phileleftheros daily, the acting head of the Traffic Department, Charis Evripidou, attributed the drop in fatal accidents to the speed camera network.
“We have not done anything different this year compared to previous years. The only thing that has changed is the introduction of the traffic camera,” said Evripidou.
The officer explained that Cypriot motorists had changed their driving habits, slowing down, as they knew that they could be caught on one of the network’s mobile cameras.
“This has gone a long way in helping to reduce accidents attributed to speeding and other road violations”.
Police do not plan to reduce their physical presence on roads, noting that experience in other countries has shown that a traffic camera network alone is not enough to clamp down on road accidents.
“Human intervention is still needed, even though speed camera networks clearly help to bring down death rates”.
Evripidou said the drop in fatalities is down to a decrease in car drivers who lost their lives on roads, which dropped from 20 to 10 compared to 2021 and 16 in 2020.
The number of motorbike riders to lose their lives in a road accident dropped from 13 last year to 11.
Serious injuries resulting from road collisions also seem to be recording a decrease, said Evripidou, adding that official figures still need to be compiled.
Most deaths in Limassol
According to traffic police data, the highest fatalities were recorded on Limassol roads, as 13 people lost their lives in the district, compared to nine last year.
Eight fatalities were recorded in Nicosia, down from 14.
Five people lost their lives in Paphos, compared to nine in 2021, while Larnaca recorded six deaths, the same as last year.
Five people lost their lives in Famagusta, down from six last year.
Out of the 14 people killed on roads this year (10 drivers and four passengers), only four were wearing seat belts.
As for the 12 dead in motorbike accidents (nine riders and three passengers), only five were wearing crash helmets.
Also killed were four cyclists, six pedestrians and one electric scooter driver.
Authorities are going ahead with the next phase of the traffic camera network, adding more fixed cameras at six busy junctions in the capital, Nicosia, and Limassol.
There are fixed cameras at four junctions in Nicosia to add to the four already in place at the busy junction of Griva Digheni and Demosthenis Severis Avenues.
Cameras have been installed at the busy junction on Strovolos Avenue, near the old Pepsi-Cola factory.
Fixed cameras are also on Limassol Avenue in Nicosia at its junction with Armenia Avenue, Makarios, and Digheni Akrita Avenues.
In Limassol, cameras will be installed at the junction of Archbishop Makarios with Nikos Pattichis avenues and the junction of Agia Fylaxeos-Gladstonos.
These cameras have yet to be connected to the control system, which will take several months.
Furthermore, authorities want to carry out several tests before going live.
Once the €34 mln system is fully operational, there will be 90 fixed units in 30 locations and 20 mobile cameras.
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.
Cyprus has adopted the European target of a 50% reduction in road fatalities and serious injuries by 2030.