Traffic police officers will soon be armed with new hi-tech speed guns that can capture video proof of offending motorists.
Speaking to The Cyprus Daily yesterday, Traffic Police Chief Demetris Demetriou said the new technology is already used by most traffic police departments in the EU and will be a great help to the local authorities in their crackdown on reckless speeding. Speed is the biggest killer on the island’s roads.
“The new speed guns provide a digital speed reading like the traditional laser guns but they are also equipped with a video camera,” said Demetriou.
According to the chief, the new radars which produce a high-resolution image that identifies vehicle make and model, the licence plate number and in some case the facial characteristics of the driver, will provide concrete visual proof of speeding offences to avoid court disputes.
“They are extremely portable and capable of photographing a vehicle’s licence plate from considerable distance.” As part of a trial run, the department has ordered two guns with a view to equip more traffic officers once they have been tried and tested.
“We will be launching a tender next week in order to help us decide on a manufacturer,” said Demetriou.
“We cannot at this point comment on the cost of the speed guns.”
At least one of them will be used to monitor the troublesome Grivas Dhigenis Avenue in Nicosia which has in the past few years become a hotspot for boy racers and their dangerous driving.
“We want to send the clear message that drivers who break the speed limit will be caught and punished.”
The chief also reissued an appeal to the authorities for a feasibility study into the creation of a personal safety track for boy racers to compete on, with the idea of keeping them off the roads.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Communications also announced yesterday that it will install two fixed cameras along the high-risk avenue at a cost of €70,000 in order to help combat the problem.
The new safety initiatives were welcomed by Engomi Mayor Zacharias Kyriakou who is in the middle of leading a campaign against boy racers in his municipality, particularly on Grivas Digenis.
“The speed limit is 50km but many drivers will reach 150km putting the lives of residents at serious risk.”
Over the last six months traffic police targeted Griva Dhigenis in 19 road safety campaigns during which 2,660 drivers, the majority young men, were arrested for excessive speeding.
Officers seized a number of vehicles that had undergone illegal engine modifications.