€5,000 fine for blocking speed cams

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Drivers obstructing the operation of mobile speed cameras could be slapped with a  maximum fine of €5,000 under a Justice Ministry law proposal.

The ministry is currently working on legislation to clamp down on a campaign by citizens to park behind vans carrying mobile cameras reacting to what they claim is foul play by operators.

Pictures of minivans hiding in bushes and ditches are prevalent on social media and claims that operators are not putting up designated signs warning motorists of speed checks.

The bill provides that offenders damaging or obstructing cameras will be fined up to €5,000.

Currently, obstructing cameras by parking in front of them is not illegal due to a loophole in the legislation.

The amended legislation will be prepared and sent to the House for approval towards the end of September.

According to information from the Traffic Police, the bill will also include other amendments concerning the notification of offenders caught by the camera system.

The Justice Ministry and the police want to tweak legislation to allow authorities to notify offenders through an SMS on their mobile phones, as many do not come forward to pick up fines from their local post office.

Offending drivers are sent a notification letter to pick up their fine from their local post office.

However, the notification letters from the police are easily identifiable, with offenders avoiding picking them up.

In comments to Phileleftheros daily, a representative of the Traffic Police said that people should stop targeting the vans of the private firm operating the cameras as the company has nothing to gain if the number of speeding tickets increases.

Money from speeding fines, as he said, goes to local authorities.

According to data provided by the police, from 1 January 2022, when the network went live, up to mid-May, cameras have recorded 213,603 violations, with 181,920 fines sent out.

Out of these, only 67,362 have been paid.

The number of fixed cameras is 24, while another 12 mobile cameras are in action.

Based on the contract given to US operators Conduent State & Local Solutions, the latest additions complete the first phase of the traffic camera network.

By the end of the year, the contracting company should have installed and delivered another 66 cameras in fixed points covering all cities except Famagusta, which only gets mobile units.

Once the €34 mln system is fully operational, there will be 90 fixed units in 30 locations and 20 mobile cameras.