Drivers face phone ban

| 28/10/2011

(CNS): Although presumed missing in the Glass House for some time now, the long awaited traffic bill has finally reappeared and was approved by Cabinet this week. The new traffic law is scheduled to reach the floor of the Legislative Assembly during the next meeting, due to start on 16 November. Among the many changes the new act covers, it introduces a ban on mobile phone use while driving. Under the new law it will be an offence for drivers to use their phones without a hands-free unit or making a 911 call. Another change to the law is the licensing of driving instructors, a written test for holders of foreign licences, a ban on wheel clampers and, at long last, the use of electric vehicles on the road.

According to the law, anyone using a mobile phone will be required to have the phone affixed to the vehicle in a hands free unit which requires only one button to operate the phone. It is hoped this will prevent people from texting and emailing while driving, an issue that has been raising mounting concerns in the community as being the cause of many of Cayman’s road accidents.

Drivers will be able to use their phones once they have stopped their cars and pulled over from the traffic flow but the law makes it clear it will be an offence to use them when drivers are stopped at traffic lights or a junction.

The new law provides for mobile phone infractions to be dealt with through the ticketing system but has not defined the level of the fine. The mobile phone ban, which has been called for on numerous occasions by the police commissioner, does not apply to police officers on duty.

Electric cars, which are currently banned from the public highways altogether, will, once the law is passed, have access to roads zoned at 30mph or under. With plans to reduce the West Bay Road speed limit to 30mph, this means that owners of green vehicles will be able drive from West Bay to Red Bay, even if the rest of the island remains off limits.  However, the proposed closure of the West Bay road as part of government's ForCayman Alliance may create problems unless the planned Esterly Tibbetts Highway extension provides a 30mph lane for electric vehicles.

The law, which repeals the 2003 act, also provides for people to pay traffic tickets electronically as an alternative to paying at the court house. Containing over 140 clauses, it covers regulatory and safety issues, including the registration of vehicles, the licensing of drivers and instructors, public transport, the use of vehicles and related equipment, traffic control and road use, as well as the powers of the police under the law.

Check back for more stories on the law on Monday.

Category: Local News

Comments (71)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    They banned cell phones while driving in Europe 10 years ago….did anything change since that….NOOOOOO….everybody is still busy on the phone and the same thing will happen here as well…..just another thing for the Government to get some more money and to keep some Officers busy!!

    • Anonymous says:

      You are obviously missing the point here! Using a cell phone while driving is DANGEROUS! The ban is to make driving safer. I bet you are all for the "seat belt law" which only protects you and has nothing to do with driving safely.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I totall agree with the ban on using cellphones while driving. As a victim of myself being rear ended at a red traffic light by a vehicle driven by a driver on a cell phone who did not notice the light. The end result beinga drastic lifestyle change  from chronic back pain and major surgery on my spine.

    I do not wish this to happen to any one and hence support this law.

     

  3. Anonyman says:

    Forget the cellphones, teach people how to use ROUNDABOUTS!!!!! No, you cannot turn right in the outside lane!!! Yes, you are allowed to go straight from the inside lane! Check the NRA website!

     

    That's my rant for the day 🙂

  4. Anonymous says:

    What's the point? I mean seriously?

    We have speed limit signs, laws that require one to use seat belts, babies and toddlers to be seated in car seats, only a certain grade of window tinting, reserved parking spaces for handicapped etc etc etc.

    I don't see any of those laws being enforced and to me, so I wonder how RCIP is going to enforce this law if they can't spot a dump truck with a dangerly stacked and uncovered load, taxies stopping wherever, and blocking whoever etc. etc.

    I am sure you get the idea. Writing a law into effect is not worth anything unless it is actually enforced!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I don't understand why the police are exempt on this one, I think they should be the ones setting an example.  As far as the clamping goes I think its fine as long as these companies now switch to tow trucks maybe that way all the lazy people will learn to stop parking on yellow lines :).

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree – there should be an impound lot for lazy double parkers and expired coupon cars.  Generate some fees for under-funded RCIPS, create some Caymanian jobs, get these derelict vehicles off the road!

  6. Name changed by moderator says:

    This is an very well needed idea and actually this should have been put  into law  that cell phones are prohibited while driving  decades ago … but still thankful that's it being put into place now.

     

    Because many Caymanians,Foreigners and Law enforcement employee's have this as an bad habit and now maybe by it being against the law to drive and be on a cell phone this could help avoid accidents that are caused trough drivers being on their celluar phones.

     

    Hopefully they will become as strick with this offense as they are with traffic tickets.  

     

    Thank You … to who ever approved of this new law offense because it was well needed.

     

     

  7. Anonymous says:

    About time! Its completely irresponsible to drive and use a handset. Its easy and affordable to get hands free(bluetooth)

     

    Lets hope the law is enforced. Some very visible cautions/charges will act as a detterent.

  8. Castor says:

    ho hum, another law that won't be enforced, Yawn

  9. Anonymous says:

    The true positive is there's a gaping hole in the market for devices which are like modern day cell phones, but without the ability to make a call.

  10. Rev. BB says:

    There are some drivers out there (you see them every day) who barely have enough brain power to drive with utmost concentration.  Put them behind the wheel of a dark tinted SUV or truck and they act like they're playing a video game with pedestrians, wheel chairs, cyclists, and others they could kill are just trash to them (and they go to church, praise jesus!).

  11. Anonymous says:

    I play music off of m phone… does htis mean i must pull over everytime i want to change songs… 🙁 

    • Anonymous says:

      Ever heard of a CD player or radio?  Phones are for calling people not taking pictures, playing on Facebook, texting, etc.  We have a camera for pictures, computer for Facebook, etc.  I wish that we could get rid of every BB, iphone and all the other i's.  I can't stand seeing people scrolling on BB.

      Every time taht you are on the road and someone is driving real slow holding up traffic, it's because they are on the phone.  Get off the road and talk.  Another pet peeve of mine is these people answering phones or texting people in meetings or training sessions.  It is so distracting.

      • Anonymous says:

        maybe you prefered the olden days, as technology grows, it allows a camera to be put into a phone, as well as an mp3 player, this in turn saves people money as aposed to having to buy many electronics (which wastes resources and space in your pocket). 

        I do agree with the fact that some users get carried away and sometimes slow traffic, but other than that why does it matter to you if someone can take a picture/ listen to music on their phone. 

      • Dred says:

        Even though I agree with not using your phone while driving you are waaay the hell out of touch. Did someone beem you into the future or something???

        • Anonymous says:

          No, I just don't care to keep up with the Jones and waste money.  I prefer to live simply and I'm sick and tired of the rude BBm users on the road, in my meetings and in my training sessions who sit down and send BBM messages and talk on the phone.

          Yes and the camera phone thing is just plain invading people's privacy.  Ever seen anyone taking pictures of people in casket's at funerals?  Guess what they used… Camera phone. Okay, those are my pet peeves for today.

          When people learn how to use gadgets responsibly, then I will digress. 

    • Anonymous says:

      This is good to hear, but I hope like everything else they will enforce this law…remember loud music playing from a car is illegal, certain tint on windows is illegal on a car..oh yeah police talking on cell phones is illegal…..

  12. Michel says:

    A BAN OF WHEEL CLAMPING. THAT IS GREAT AND PLEASE SEND ALL THEM WHEEL CLAMPERS THAT HAVE BEEN FEISTY BACK HOME LET THEM TRY THAT WHERE THEY COME FROM !! I will gladly get my ear unit because it's very dangerous to drive and dial or what about texting. But make it for everyone please. Digicel and Lime, time to give back to your customers now by making this an easy transition as we are paying a lot already. get on TOP of it . Great marketing chance to sell more phone and give your customers

  13. Anonymous says:

    Why are police above the law….they can pull over just like any one else!!!

    I have witnessed them texting and driving, they lose focus just like every one else!!!

    • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

      It’s a privilege for being a member of the elite gang.  Others are treated differently. They will get away with this duplicity, because they know that Caymanians are disinterested in standing up for themselves…

  14. Anonymous says:

    I saw someone driving down the road with their whole face covered as they were wiping it (and it wasn't a quick wipe!).  At what point do you stop trying to legislate against stupidity and use the laws there are?  Why does cell phone use not come under driving without due care and attention and where were the police when this guy was driving without due care and attention and what appeared to be a t-shirt in front of his eyes?

  15. Anonymous says:

    It's not only the cell phones.  Turning and shouting at children, smoking, eating – all of these cause distractions to the driver.  You can't legislate against everything and not enough is being done about the laws that are already in place that are being broken every day.  http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/about/outreach/education/driverTips/Driver-Distraction-all.htm

  16. Anonymous says:

    STUPID Idea! Buisiness efficiency just went down 50%.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I hope the "pulled over from the traffic flow" part of the law is enforced as well.  Two wheels off the road isn't enough, get all four wheels off the road please!  The best way to reduce accidents has been suggested before in a reader comment:  Anticipate Stupidity!

    As for the 30mph limit for electric cars… really?  Why is that?  Guess there won't be any on Cayman Brac then. 

  18. Anonymous says:

    The law should also be changed:

    – so that everyone has to retake the driving test every 10 years. Please teach people how to use the roundabouts properly.

    – for a mandatory written AND driving test for anyone who is applying for a local licence. 

    – for when tourists rent a car, they receive a brochure that explains to them our driving laws (how to use a roundabout and to stay on the left side of the road, etc.). 

  19. Anonymouse says:

    I hope that the 30mph limit for electric cars is just for Neghbourhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) and not for any and all electric cars. Otherwise we'll still be banning the real future of (electric) cars. Tesla anyone?

  20. Anonymous says:

    The cell phone is only small part of the problem. I can only hope that the law has been changed for the drivers who have been qualified by using an automatic transmission but then go and aquire for themselves a manual and then become a nuisance on the roads. The other problem is the speeding fines of which have been in place from the devil was a boy. If the law hit the pockets of these drivers by hiking the speeding fines to start at $200.00 minimum, then we will see less accidents and better driving.

  21. Anonymous says:

    The speed limit along what is now a double lane highway from Butterfield Roundabout south to Bobby Thompson Way, can safely be raised from 25 to 30 or 40.  It is silly that it is so low, nobody goes that speed unless there is a police car ahead, and police feast on ticketing along there when their quotas are low.  Around the corner on Smith Road it is a dual way lane with no sidewalks and the limit is 40.  There needs to be more rational consistency to speed limits.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with the first part of your post but the speed limit on Smith Road is 30 ( I think it should be 25)

  22. R.U. Kidden says:

    Does anyone REALLY think the talking-while-driving law will be enforced?  Well….. maybe for a few weeks, but then you can expect the same old same old. 

  23. insane says:

    Our Police Officer on duty are never using their cell phones for the job!!!!!
    And they are bad drivers!!!! They have the radio inside the car……on my understanding, that should be enough!
    Banned for one……must ban for everyone!!!

  24. Anonymous says:

    Great news about the proposed changes to the traffic law, however, there must be two classifications for electric vehicles to operate in the Cayman Islands. As in the United States, the NEV's (Neighborhood Electric vehicles) are restricted on public roads where the posted speed limit is 35mph or higher because these vehicles DO NOT have to pass the rigid crash test as the HSEV (Highway Speed electric Vehicles). The Highway Speed EV's are certified in this category once they pass this test and can be driven on any roads in the United States just as any other vehicle. Some examples of HPEV's that will be offered in Grand cayman are: Tesla, Fiska, Coda, Wheego, eStar Commercial vans and trucks, Tazzari-Zero, Nissan leaf, Mitsubishi iMEV and the full line-up of EV's from China which have top speeds of 87 mph and can travel 265 miles on a single charge.  

  25. Anonymous says:

    Yeah right!!! It will be as effective as people, especially children, riding without seat belts!!!!!!!

  26. Anonymous says:

    West Bay road will not be a problem.  Put the speed limit on the current west Bay Rd. to 30.  and the alternative bypass would be faster.

    We need two alternatives to west Bay. Not just one inland rd.

  27. Anonymous says:

    So now the police dont need to wear seat belts, can use thier phones and are allowed to break the speed limit!

    • Anony Mous says:

      Don't forget that the police also park in fire lanes, hanidcap parking and on top of sidewalks at all times as they please without the care of the public's safty.

    • Anonymous says:

      and obviously they saved some money on the new cars by using the indictors to to turn on the blues and twoose, which would explain why they never use any indictors when turning off.

    • Bobo-Not says:

      I would hope that cops that don't know how to use a roundabout could also be persecuted too.  A whole bunch of those cops also use there blackberry to also text while driving just like another large portion of drivers (i.e. civilians) – both types are a menace to the driving community.  Will the RCIPS enforces the new law for those offending officers?

  28. Jim Knapp says:

    NOT AGAIN

    Electric vehicles provided by major auto manufacturers today are capable of speeds in excess of any Cayman roadway.  Nissan, BMW, Ford and others have or are introducing electric automobiles which operate at speeds up to 70mph+.  These are not golf carts or neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs).  The new electrics are full sized, safety compliant vehicles which are licensed to drive on any roadway in the world – except Cayman's of course.  To have the law prohibit them from using any roadway is a deterrent to moving away from fossil fuels – which this island needs to do.  If the law is, as stated in this article, it is unfortunate as we will have to challenge it in the courts at a cost to everyone which could so easily have been avoided.  Once again our law makers do not understand what they're doing or have been poorly misguided by their handlers.

    • Anonymous says:

      "…To have the law prohibit [electric vehicles] them from using any roadway is a deterrent to moving away from fossil fuels – which this island needs to do".

      Steady on, Jim. Electricity in Cayman is produced from fossil fuels. The increased demand for electricity would certainly make CUC happier.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Well I dont agree that Police should be exempt  that's why they are given hand held radios & radios in there vehicles. Just another excuse for them.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Why limit electric vehicles to roads with less than 30 mph speed limis. Most new electric vehicles have maximum speeds in excess of 70 mph. Note to Government, not all electric vehicles are golf carts! Get with the times BoBo's

  31. Not PPM or Big Mac says:

    “According to the law, anyone using a mobile phone will be required to have the phone affixed to the vehicle in a hands free unit which requires only one button to operate the phone.”

    Does this mean that you can’t make or receive calls using an ear piece as the phone wouldn’t be ‘affixed’ to your vehicle by a hands free unit?

  32. Anonymous says:

    Why should the police on duty be expemt? Is there a specific reason why they can not use a handsfree set just like everyone else driving.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don't think laws should be put in place that the politicians and police officers don't adhear to

      • Anonymous says:

        You're right! Make sure that Police, Fire or Ambulance don't speed to any accident that you or someone you care about has been in. Those 'few critical minutes' that someone might now not get because Emergency Services were busy stopping to make a call to confirm the address; or maybe coming to a complete stop at a red light don't REALLY matter do they?!

  33. Anonymous says:

    Some good and some bad in here.  The mobile phone ban is patronising crap frankly and I'd say so even if someone hit me while using one.  Like many things in life the problem is the ones who are ignorant of their own limitations and take it overboard, neglecting to refocus their attention on the road as they approach junctions or intersections.  These tend to be people who are not very intelligent generally.

     

    The licensing of driving instructors is a good idea as they have a great responsibility to their clients to teach them properly and accurately so that they pass, what with it taking as long as it does to get appointments for tests. 

     

    Obviously the ban on wheel clamping is long overdue.  Parking is one of those things that people who live in a car-centric society simply have to do and if everybody lightened up a little and just put their car wherever they can put it without blocking others I think we would be just fine.  If you go to Africa or around the Caribbean cars are just left here and there and the world does not end. 

     

    The written test for foreign drivers is just another way to generate fees andanother thing that potential migrants will have to dread and budget for. 

  34. Anonymous says:

    Does this include the police as they are just as bad, if not worse than anyone else…….. I hope they lead by example

    CNS Note: See article which states police officers are exempt while on duty.

    • Anonymous says:

      I welcome this law but will things be any different if it is not enforced properly? The number of toddlers I see standing up and bouncing around in moving cars horrifies me. As does the number of adult passengers without seatbelts.  I don't see why a ban against cell phone use will be any different. Perhaps we need trafficwardens to go after these more "minor" offences including parking violations, instead of regular police officers who have a whole slate of other offences to deal with. Instant fines, no going to court, a bigger fine next time…. it won't balance the budget but every penny helps.

  35. Anonymous says:

    "police can use phones when on duty" WHY???

    What about other law enforcement that come under the Gov umbrella? i.e. Fire service, Customs and Conservation Officers?

     

    • Anon says:

      I agree.

      Give the police radios to use on duty and ban them from using phones too.  They're always on their Blackberry's and rarely doing official business I might add.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Is the above a picture of a hands free unit?  Could help with unemployment?

  37. Anonymous says:

    Fantastic!  I will bet that we will see a significantly reduced number of accidents, if enforced and taken seriously by the population.  I read somewhere that in one country (the country excapes me right now) they noted a 20% reducion in car accidents during the blackberry blackout. 

    Also, a great opportunity for businesses who sell hands free units….Christmas presents for all.

     

     

  38. Anonymous says:

    What is the extent of the ban on clampers? There are many businesses that rely on clampers keeping their parking spots free as unscrupulous individuals hog them for hours and never even use the business that owns the space.

    I've been clamped twice. I didn't like it, but I pushed my luck and it ran out. Perhaps they will also address those dazzling blue lights and those number plate covers that obscure the letters, and while they are busy chasing their friends over these matters, they can start eliminating excessively tinted windows.

    Typical poorly thought out Caymanian law-making, shooting from the hip and afraid to tackle their friends infractions. I'm sick and tired of this crap.

    • Dred says:

      Na na na na….hey hey hey…Good bye…na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey Good bye….

      I still recall the time they falsely ticketed me for being in the spot for over an hour when it was only 20 something minutes but how do you argue with them? They have you vehicle clamped and a book saying when they "supposedly" spotted your car in the spot. I had no choice but to pay the $75. Well in the end I feel justice is now served on them.

      Might be a good time to look a new job!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Dred this discussion is about the cell phone use. I personally can use my cell phone and not have it impact my driving. That being said there are many who use cell phones will driving and it significantly impacts their driving. So if made a law I have not problem with complying with it.

        Same with the clamping of cars. People out there are looking at clamping agencies clamping people illegally. And if they dont comply with the rules then fine. But tell me why were you in the illegal spot in the first place?

        I see a lot of people park illegally and jump out of there car to do things. Meanwhile everyone else is inconvenienced. Not only that but their actions become a danger to other road users. I see a lot of young drivers park in handy cap spots when the spot right next to it is open. Maybe we should not have a clamping agency but one that takes off the tires.

        • Dred says:

          Honestly first the law covers all of the above but I am being honest here when I say this. Some people can't drive period on phone or off. Putting a phone in their hands is like giving someone who hasn't taken their anti-psychoatic meds a bomb in a busy subway.

          I have seen peopleon phone driving up on sidewalks. Seen bikers having to almost drive off into the bush to avoid them. Then there are the others who slow down to where you could probably park your car and walk up to their window and slap them for being so stupid.

          I believe the law hasn't obviously been COMPLETELY thought out. Electric cars for instance is STUPID beyond belief. 30MPH honestly. ECs passed 30MPH 10 years ago maybe even before that. The greatest issue for ECs is not the MPH but the length of charge because the batteries technology is behind the vehicles making manufacturers have to think of new ways to generate electricity such as from stopping and other means. But ECs can now do 50 plus miles without a charge. That's like from one side of Cayman to the other.

          If you ask me this is about being nice to the gas companies and less about moving forward to a alternative Cayman. This is why CUC is where they are today no one really wants to put the foot in their throat about alternative energy. Shabby excuses like "the radar took our spot" is so pathetic it makes me wanna hit someone.

          I wanna take a second and give a shout out to all the Wheel clampers…See ya…..

          I would also like to ask people to be respectful though of handicap parking spots. I know we don't have many handicap people driving BUT let's respect their spots please. This is not about that. It's more about the idiots who work at these companies who are really trying to make a buck for their employers at all cost. Not caring if someone could be in an emergency or not.

          By the way it's not just about people who are parking in handicap spots or on parking curbs it's about people who could clap your car in a parking spot which allows 30 mins parking after 10 mins and their word is of greater value than yours because they said you were there longer and they hold the key to the clamp. This happened to me. It's happened to many others. These people have quotas. It's how they make money. It's illegal because it's almost like theft as they are not allowing you to use your vehicle. What if I had an emergency to go to?

          If my child died because of them I be 1,000,000% honest with you the case would not make it to court for the clamping side of it. You read between the lines. They have no right to immobilize my vehicle.

        • Anonymous says:

          Private companies should not be the ones implementing the fines

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you telling me that a business does not have to right to tell people where to park on their property?

      Some of you are too lazy to go and find a proper parking spot.

  39. Anonymous says:

    If cell phone ban is to have any teeth, the mysterious RCIPS Traffic Dept needs to get out there and start earning some public respect for existing laws. Two officers could fill a year's worth of ticket books in a single morning at any given roundabout.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Anyone with a Blackberry can go to App store and download the handsfree app – one of the freebee/thank you's from RIMM after last week's outages.  It's called, "DriveSafe.ly"

    • Anonymous says:

      Pretty much every phone comes with an earpiece now. There's no excuse for driving and holding a cell phone, except perhaps stupidity.

  41. Anonymous says:

    No More clamping! That is the bestnews this island has ever had! Well just behind the Premier actually building some docks! XXXX

  42. Anonymous says:

    Digicel and Lime profits to fall if properly policed!

  43. Anonymous says:

    Welcome to 2005, Cayman!

  44. Anonymous says:

    Well many of our politicians will be guilty upon this passing of this.

    I suspect this will be the new excuse; "I couldn't answer the phone because I was driving".

  45. Anonymous says:

    About time too! Cayman is dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.