CYPRUS: Cypriot drivers are notorious highway speed offenders

Cyprus has one of the highest violation rates of breaking the speed limit on highways (63%) in the European Union, according to the PIN Flash Report, published by the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC).

Lithuania has the lowest percentage of speed limit violations with 19% (with a speed limit of 130km/h) and Portugal the highest with 64% (120km/h), followed by Cyprus 63% (100 km/h).

The study was published ahead of an important vote in the European Parliament on Thursday on future mandatory in-vehicle safety technologies.

Researchers looked at the numbers of vehicles found to be driving above the speed limit on different road types in the countries that were able to provide such data.

In Cyprus, 37% of cars and vans violated urban speed limits, while the lowest rate is found in Sweden with 35% and the highest in Poland by 75%.

Although the above percentage for Cyprus is the second lowest of the reporting countries, it concerns more than a third of all cars and vans and given the fact that the majority of road deaths in Cyprus occur in urban areas (as opposed to other European countries), complacency is not allowed, said the representative of Cyprus to the Council, George Morphakis.

The ETSC’s Road Safety Performance Index (PIN) programme was set up in 2006 as a response to the first road safety target set by the EU to halve road deaths between 2001 and 2010.

In 2010, the European Union renewed its commitment to reduce road deaths by 50% by 2020, compared to 2010 levels.

PIN covers all relevant areas of road safety including road user behaviour, infrastructure and vehicles, as well as road safety policymaking. Each year ETSC publishes PIN Flash reports on specific areas of road safety.

The report covers 32 countries: the 28 Member States of the European Union together with Israel, Norway, the Republic of Serbia and Switzerland.

In rural non-motorway roads, the percentage of cars and vans that violate the speed limit in Cyprus is low with 18%. The lowest percentage in the PIN countries is recorded in the UK with 9% and the highest in Israel by 70%.

The report notes that on urban roads, where 37% of all EU road deaths occur, the researchers found that between 35% and 75% of vehicle speed observations were higher than the legal speed.

In rural non-motorway roads, where 55% of all road deaths in the EU occur, between 9% and 63% of vehicle speed observations were higher than the speed limit.

On motorways, where 8% of all road deaths in the EU occur, between 23% and 59% of observed vehicle speeds were higher than the speed limit.

Speed is a major factor in overall road safety performance. Excessive and inappropriate speed is accountable for about one third of fatal collisions and is an aggravating factor in most collisions.

While reducing speeding will require a combination of measures including higher levels of enforcement, improved infrastructure and credible speed limits � the authors singled out Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA), a driver assistance system available today, as the key in-vehicle safety measure for tackling the problem.

On 21 February, the European Parliament’s Internal Market (IMCO) Committee will vote on critical new EU vehicle safety standards which include a proposal to make overridable ISA a mandatory technology on all new vehicles from 2022.

It is estimated that this single measure could eventually reduce deaths on European roads by 20%. The entire package of vehicle safety measures is expected to prevent more than 25,000 deaths between 2022 and 2037, but only if it is adopted in its entirety.

Source: The Financial Mirror