CYPRUS: Heavier penalties for traffic offenders

Cyprus motorists committing offences that endanger lives are to pay heftier fines as the government is set to submit a law proposal which could quadruple current penalties.

The Justice Ministry aiming to bring down the number of traffic accidents and fatalities is putting forward a bill which will introduce effective, proportional and deterrent sentences.

This includes, for the first time, procedures for vehicle confiscation in the event a driver is found to have used drugs or/and alcohol, as well as temporary suspending the offender’s driving license with a court order.

The bill was prepared after a study commissioned by the Justice Ministry and carried out by the Faculty of Law of the University of Cyprus, found that penalties for driving offences are relatively law compared to other EU member states, and less effective in bringing down the road accident-related death toll.

The bill will see speeding fines significantly increase as speeding tickets will be five times heftier. Speed offenders are to be fined EUR 5 instead of one for every km/h over the limit.

Penalties regarding the offence of drunk driving are to go up according to the driver’s alcohol intake. Fines will begin from EUR 125 (up from EUR 100) if the driver is tested with results indicating 22g / 100ml – 35g / 100ml.

If the case goes to court, then the penalty imposed increases from EUR 1000 to EUR 1500 and / or 3 months imprisonment, while the driver will be penalized with 3-4 penalty points from 0-2. Fines could reach EUR 5,000 with the driver jailed for up to a year.

For driving under the influence of drugs, the fine is increased from EUR 3,500 to EUR 10,000, while offenders will see their licenses revoked.

Fines for using a handheld mobile phone while behind the wheel of a car almost quadruples as offenders will have to pay EUR 300 instead of the current EUR 85. The same fine will apply to driving without a safety belt or helmet.

Penalties regarding the use of seatbelts are to double. Drivers and passengers not wearing a seatbelt could be fined up to EUR 2,000 and find themselves behind bars for six months. The driver of a vehicle carrying a minor without a seatbelt could be fined up to EUR 4,000 and face a one year prison sentence.

Driving without insurance will incur a EUR 200 fine and without a MOT certificate EUR 150.

Running a red light will go up to EUR 300 instead of EUR 85, while drivers parking in a space reserved for the disabled will be fined EUR 200 instead of EUR 85.

The increase in penalties has a deterrent effect,” said Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou, adding that serious traffic offences have grave consequences.

Source: The Financial Mirror