The President of the Road Traffic Accident Prevention Association Dr. Zeki Avcı*, has given a damning indictment on poor safety standards in driving, the state of the roads and the lack of government action to improve matters, Yeniduzen reports.
In an interview with Avcı, who was a founder of the Association, he said that 47 people had died in traffic accidents in 2023 and predicted that the number of fatalities this year would increase.
Avcı said that the standard of driving instruction was well below EU standards.
Street lighting remained inadequate and was getting worse. This leads to drivers being deemed less culpable in traffic accidents that took place in darkened streets.
Pointing out that the roads and driver training in the country are not adequate, Avcı said, “Just because you have a driver’s licence in this country does not mean that you have learned this job“.
He noted that there is no official textbook or curriculum in traffic education, Avcı said, “You get your driver’s licence before you have fully learned how to drive …You can get a driver’s licence without driving on the main road. Although night driving should be included, it is not…. Besides all this, when we look at education, there is no training or campaigns in schools.
“Insurance companies should also step in, the state should have the means“, he said.
Pointing out that the laws that do not provide any financial deterrents to encourage traffic safety should be updated, Avcı underlined that there should be deterrent penalties. He added that the driving licence examination system should be changed and rewritten.
Avcı said that people are beginning to dread driving even on the dual carriageways because of speeding and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
He said that the law on drug testing in traffic had been held up in parliament for 19 months. And even when it was passed, it is still not in force.
This is because the authorities are worried about who they might catch, he alleged.
Avcı said that the Nicosia-Kyrenia mountain road was very dangerous. Lorries have overturned on that road and they also overtake each other.
The Acapulco to Tatlısu road was another place where traffic accidents were increasing, he noted.
Avcı said children must also wear seatbelts. He pointed to the number of times a child was spotted standing up behind the front seat of a vehicle while it was moving.
He pointed out that drivers in the North make a point of putting on their seat belts if they cross to the south, where the law is more strictly observed.
Avcı said that the traffic laws needed to be updated, driving standards improved and streets should be properly lit. All this should be monitored by more traffic police, he said.
Otherwise the traffic death toll would increase this year, he warned.
*Dr. Mehmet Zeki Avcı a former Gynecology and Obstetrics Specialist Dr. Burhan Nalbantoğlu State Hospital, now retired, currently serves as the Dean of the University of Health Sciences at Cyprus Science University. He is the President of the Association for the Prevention of Traffic Accidents, of which he is one of the founders.