The Sovereign Base Area Police have this week sent out a warning to all road users after heavy rain and strong winds made many of the motorways hugely challenging to drive on. The issue has become even more apparent in recent days, with debris and flash-flooding increasing the danger for drivers.
As a result, the SBA Police are keen to raise the issue with road-users in an attempt to make them aware of the increased danger at this present time.
Chief Inspector Mustafa Kemal, the Chairman of the Road Traffic Steering Group, explained: “The roads are not easy to drive on at the moment, what with the huge amount of rainfall we have experienced and now the heavy winds that have combined to increase the danger.
“We are urging drivers to slow down, there is a risk of aquaplaning as there are huge puddles on the roads and that, combined with the heavy winds and dark roads due to less sunlight, can be very treacherous.”
Speaking this week, the chief inspector also used the opportunity to highlight what the SBA Police have called ‘the Fatal Five’ – the five most comQmon causes of road traffic accidents.
On that list are failure to wear seatbelts, speeding, drink-driving, mobile phone use and careless driving and it was compiled after police officers undertook a forensic look at accident locations and the causes within the SBAs.
Over the past four years – when the ‘Fatal Five’ were first identified – the SBA Police have been relentless with its education campaign in an attempt to reduce the number of road traffic accidents.
Last year, the police’s efforts drew attention to the failure of many drivers to wear seatbelts when behind the wheel and once again, according to the chief inspector, getting the message through was all about education.
He said: “This is why we undertake education and enforcement campaigns, to get the message over to road-users. Serious injury and even death can be prevented simply by wearing a seatbelt for example and that cannot be overlooked.”
He was also quick to point out that drivers and cyclists also face financial penalties as well as legal action if found to be breaking the law.
He continued: “The fine for not wearing a seat-belt is not insignificant in this day and age and people must understand that if they are caught, they will have to pay the fine.
“Obviously, there are also far more serious penalties that drivers and motorcyclists could face and it is vitally important that they understand this.”
Enforcing the law and making the roads safer remains a policing priority and the chief inspector was clear on how that could be achieved.
“It is very important for the police to know for sure what is causing the majority of accidents on our roads so we can put in place a plan to stop drivers making these mistakes,” he said.
“There are a number of ways that we can work towards reducing the amount of RTAs on our roads and that is by working with other key stakeholders like the Cyprus Police, the Cyprus Joint Police Unit and other local authorities.
“Partnership working is the key to ensuring that we can achieve the maximum impact through the coordinated efforts of the various agencies.
“We will continue to use flexible enforcement based upon intelligence, professional judgement and discretion.
“We also aim to provide a visible and technological presence on our roads and we will work together with our partners to enforce against and educate errant drivers to affect their behaviour on our roads.
“This is not an impossible challenge and we at the SBA Police are committed to seeing the number of RTAs happening throughout Cyprus, not just the SBAs, reduce even further in the coming years.”