Cops back judge on DUI limit

| 06/06/2012

_DEW7013.jpg(CNS): With more than a dozen fatalities on Cayman’s roads over the last five years where alcohol was a factor, the call by Justice Richard Williams to lower the legal alcohol limit and bring the jurisdiction in line with other countries has been welcomed by the police. In recent months the RCIPS has been clamping down on drinking and driving, which senior officers have frequently described as endemic. One glance at the traffic listings in the local Summary Court on any day gives an idea of the numbers of DUI charges being brought. On Wednesday alone close to 50% of the cases involved alcohol and police say action is required to make the roads safer.

Last Thursday during his sentencing ruling in a death by dangerous driving case Justice Williams pointed out that, while the UK had a legal limit of 80mgs per 100mls of blood and other European countries were as low as 50mgs, Cayman has one of the highest legal limits in the world with 100mgs of alcohol in 100mls of blood. The judge said he believed the time had come for Cayman to review the level at which the legal limit was set.

Scientific evidence points to the fact that a driver’s concentration begins to be effected with as little as 40mgs of alcohol in 100mls of blood. This means people are being permitted to drive legally on Cayman’s roads with alcohol levels double the point of where concentration begins to lapse.

The police told CNS that the RCIPS was fully supportive of the judge’s position and there was a need to lower the legal alcohol limit in an effort to try and make Cayman’s road safer.

"We fully support the position of Justice Williams on this matter,” an RCIPS spokesperson said Wednesday. “Any steps that can be taken to reduce road crash injuries and fatalities on our roads must be explored.  We have said time and time again that drink driving is endemic on these Islands, and unfortunately, despite the numbers of deaths and injuries on our roads, people still continue to drink then get behind the wheel of their vehicles, endangering themselves and innocent road users. It's clear that we need much tighter legislation to help us make the roads of Cayman safer for all."

Although the judge’s call to lower the limit received public support on the CNS blog Monday, the major concern in numerous comments relating to a drinking and driving was the lack of an alternative to the private car. Bloggers said that drivers are getting in their cars after drinking alcohol because taxis are too expensive and there is no public transport at all after dark. Among the more than fifty comments posted in response to the story, bloggers called for a comprehensive review of public transport and the introduction of a regulated bus, taxi and ferry services.

See related story: Judge: DUI limit too high

Vote in CNS poll: What is the main cause of drinking and driving in the Cayman Islands?

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Comments (48)

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  1. Whodatis says:

    I believe this brave young lady should have the final say on this matter.

    Sad story, but good to see her maintaining a positive outlook.

     

     

  2. Real World says:

    For goodness sake, this is so easy.  Fines are no deterent, and sure there are other issues that must be dealt with, but a driving license endorsement programme is a no-brainer– except for our legislators, of course:

    Speeding = 3 point endorsement and fine.  Not wearing seat belt = 3 points and a fine.  Cell phone useage = 3 points and a fine.  9 points = fine for offence, immediate ban for 12-months, and resit driving test.  DUI over 100 mg (should be 50mg, of course) = big fine, immediate 9 point endorsement, ban for 12-months, and resit driving test.  Driving after being banned = big fine, 2-year ban, and resit test.

    Now, sit back and watch the death toll on the roads plummet.  The boy-racers will have to think very hard before they drive in a manner that ay cause them to lose their licenses, their hot Hondas, and as a consequence their hot bitches?  And, if they continue to break the law they'll endorse themselves off the roads in any case.  Hit these, young, dangerous drivers where it hurts them: not in their pockets — take away their wheels.

    Here's one other punishment:  Not putting toddlers into safety seats, nor children into seat belts, and letting toddlers ride in the front seat of a car with the seat belts around their throats = death by stoning for out-and-out child abuse.  Don't you love your children?

     

     

     

  3. Slowpoke says:

    When it comes to accidents involving injuries, the “scientific evidence” you refer to, is misleading and a gross oversimplification of the issue. There are personality/social/behavioural/environmental/physiological/etc., factors that are as or more important and need to be addressed.

    Does any sane person really think that if we had lowered the legal limit to .05, the person involved in this accident would have said to himself “well, now that the law has changed, I will only have one beer and drive safely”?

    If you would gather 100 people and get them all over the limit and then told them to drive home, would they all speed, crash and kill people?

    A funny but true story:  A friend of mine was doing research for his dissertation in neuroscience.  One aspect included the effects of alcohol on various mental tasks.  So, they set up a “bar” and gave different individuals various strength alcoholic drinks.  Even though the goal was to not get anyone over the limit, one person got very drunk.  So they decided they had to abandon the experimental protocol and tell him that in fact, he had been assigned to the control group and consequently had not been served any alcohol.  In spite of that, he remained so “drunk” that they had to drive him home.

    I reiterate my earlier post, we need to address “impairment” (no matter the source) and how it affects perception, judgement, behaviour etc. and not focus on some random number pretending that we are being "scientific".

    • Real World says:

      You ask:  "If you would gather 100 people and get them all over the limit and then told them to drive home, would they all speed, crash and kill people?"  Of course not, but the research evidence suggests they would all be at a greater risk of doing so, and reducing the risk of injury and deathon the roads is the primary objective. 

      A study published in the journal Addiction suggests that there is no such thing as a safe blood alcohol level, and that driving after consuming even a small amount of alcohol — just one beer, for instance — is associated with incapacitating injury and death.  Entitled: "Buzz Kills: No Amount of Alcohol SafeTo Drive," found that blood-alcohol levels well below the U.S. legal limit are associated with "incapacitating injury and death."  The study used official data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System that includes information on all persons in the U.S. who were involved in fatal car accidents — 1,495,667 from 1994-2008.

      Accidents are 36.6 percent more severe even when alcohol was barely detectable in a driver's blood," said David Phillips, a University of California, San Diego sociologist and study co-author.  The study notes that even with a minimal blood-alcohol content of 0.01, there are 4.33 serious injuries for every non-serious injury versus 3.17 for sober drivers.  The study also found that the greater the blood-alcohol content, the greater the average speed of the driver and the greater the severity of the accident.

      "Compared with sober drivers, buzzed drivers are more likely to speed, more likely to be improperly seat-belted, and more likely to drive the striking vehicle," the study reports.

      It's clear to anyone with even half a brain that the only safe alcohol level to drive a car is 0.0%, and any driver who thinks otherwise is a danger to himself and others.

    • R.B. says:

      True.  How's this for a point system: Many drivers on this island start with an IQ of 70.  They lose 10 points when talking on the phone.  They lose 5 points when bopping to the stereo that is thumping their s-box to pieces.  They lose 25 points when texting.  They lose points for yacking to the crowd in their car, peeping at people on the side of the road, eyes and hands everywhere but on the road and wheel, etc.  About 15% of the people driving here (70% on weekend nights) are complete morons and should not be behind the wheel even sober.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Here's a fantastic idea and complete solution…People take responsibility for THEMSELVES and DON'T drink and drive!

    Stop blaming the police, government, lack of buses, etc. If you want to go out and party, then suck up the taxi fare, pay it, and go home SAFE. $30 bucks is far less expensive than taking someone's life, (or your own for that matter), or causing serious injury to others.

    In this case, 1+1=drink responsibly.

    • Anonymous says:

      Taking responsibility for yourself is not a concept that has a lot of backing here.  Being Carefull and watching out for yourself is your best bet.

  5. Knot S Smart says:

    And here are my favourite bar jokes:

    One night, a police officer was stalking out a particularly rowdy bar for possible violations of the driving under the influence laws. At closing time, he saw a fellow stumble out of the bar, trip on the curb, and try his keys on five different cars before he found his. Then, sat in the front seat fumbling around with his keys for several minutes. Everyone left the bar and drove off. Finally, he started his engine and began to pull away.

    The police officer was waiting for him. He stopped the driver, read him his rights and administered the Breathalyzer test. The results showed a reading of 0.0. The puzzled officer demanded to know how that could be. The driver replied, "Tonight, I'm the Designated Decoy."

    ….

    A businessman enters a bar, sits down at the bar, and orders a shot of tequila. After he finishes the drink, he peeks inside his shirt pocket, then orders the bartender to prepare another shot of tequila. After he finishes that, he again peeks inside his shirt pocket and orders the bartender to bring another shot of tequila. The bartender says, "Look, buddy, I'll bring ya' tequilas all night long – but you gotta tell me why you look inside your shirt pocket before you order a refill." The customer replies, "I'm peeking at a photo of my wife. When she starts to look good, I know it's time to go home."

  6. Anonymous says:

    lower the limit, i dont care! and neither do any of the other people this amendment is targetting.  Whats the difference?  1 drink 2 drinks?  

    http://www.ou.edu/oupd/bac.htm

    check that link out for some information.  

    The culture in Cayman is not to have a "few drinks" and call it a night.  No, this island is FULL of heavy drinkers (because thats all there is to do!!!!!!!).  .01 or .008 makes literally no difference as I will make a "bold" assumption that all of these accidents and fatalities, where alcohol is involved, the BAC is well above both of those figures.

    No,  you ignorant officials, experts, politicians, police officers of the Cayman Islands.  What you need to do is some social studies and research and develop other activities for the people of this country to do instead of visit their local pub.  AND WHY THE HELL IS THERE NOT A TRADE SCHOOL HERE?!   

    Here's an idea… tax the hell out of alcohol.  If you really cared, why is that not on the table?  Lowering the BAC limit pfft, please…. Bout as useful as (insert recent proposal here).  

    oh, and having a bar every 500 yards sure helps too.   

    /endrant 

    i sure hope ignorance isn't contagious.  

  7. Anonymous says:

    Lower the drinking limit is good and hopefully it's passed yet stiffer fines, sentences and better driving education might be more effective as I think ignorance in the mindset of people who believe it's ok to drive a vehicle after consuming too many drinks and goes out and kills or seriously injures someone. For instance the guy who killed Mr. Martin was giving a 3 year sentence surely if he was at .50mg probably wouldn't make much difference but giving him a 20 year sentence plus a $100,000 fine would send  a strong message to would be offenders and give some level of comfort to Mr. Martin's family.

    Another thing to consider is transportation options as public buses are small, don't run reliably and don't service island wide.Taxis are a major rip off and passengers shouldn't have to pay CI$30 for a 5 miniute trip home. Goverment needs to get a private company to operate a tram service that runs from the West Bay 4 way stop to the airport via George Town and West Bay Road, build proper bus stations in all districts that will operate 24 hours a day 365 days a year.After 12am passengers will pay an extra $3 even if they live in East End and was having a night out on Seven Mile Beach.Run a high speed ferry service from that'll have stops in various harbours and marinas e.g Camana Bay, Spotts, Morgans Harbour and Rum Point. At all of these ferry sations there'll be local buses to drop pasengers off near their next destination. We need to look at long term positive solutions and quit with the short term band aid attitude.

    Blessings to all,

  8. Anonymous says:

    For the amount of duties gowerment collects on alcohol it should provide free transportation for people to go drinking. Looks like they'll soon be cutting their noses off to spite their faces.

  9. Anonymous says:

    DUI is not the biggest and most important thing right now, look at g-twon business are being closed and unemployment is the highest ever, that is the cause of the crime rate in c-islands!!!!

    • WildBoy call me Steve-O says:

      So true. They will NEVER EVER catch anyone besides people who basically "give away" themselves viacrashing, swerving etc…

      Poor Excuse.. blaming such terrible "crimes" on alcoholic beverages now. The number of  real UN-SOLVED crime cases are, if im not mistaken, at an ALL TIME HIGH. What a WASTE of EVERYTHING mate. I figure Cayman needs more people with more than their given 5 senses.

    • Anonymous says:

      "Spring break shot glass" and "ceramic stringray" merchants are not our primary employers, nor have they ever employed those Caymanian youth gangs that perperate majority of our crime.  Many of those troubled youth have never held a fulltime "9 to 5" job. 

  10. Thunder Storm says:

    Why don't this country come to the realisation that its ALCOHOL thats the most deadliest drug…………..other are we all under the blinders and still thinking that alcohol does not impair one;s ability to think, be alert, judgement, reasoning and slows down the reflexes between brain and limbs.

     

    Further, we do this country contunue to issue liquor licences in mass quantities?

     

    Why hasnt the legal age of drinking raised to age 21 ?

     

    `I guess most  will alliken my comments to the obese woman who sued MacDonalds for making her fat!!!…………one might say, no one held a gun to ones head but what good is leadership and wisdom if it isnt shares …………..God forbid one has to face an unfortunate and heartbreaking situation then one either lives with regret or suddenly has 20/20 vision. or both.

     

    Caymanian yound men are a dying breed if we do not help implement some guidance from society / community

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      anything in excess is bad for you…alcohol in moderation has health benefits….

      i'll make my own decisions in life thank you….

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you do a breath test before you wrote that?

  11. Drink Pepsi says:

    I'm sure the "average" (alchohol) drinker spends more on drinks in an evening out than a taxi fare home. 

    If  you can't afford a ride home, don't drink.  Its really that simple. 

    Try people watching instead, that is the funniest and cheapest high you will ever have!

    • Mawga says:

      There's always the option of drinking at home! Not only is it cheaper, its safer 😉

    • Anonymous says:

      Now THERE's an idea. Save the money you spend on drinks for the taxi fare. Then you can drive yourself home, and put the money in the bank the next day. And you won't even get a hang over. And you still get to watch the people. And you won't kill anybody on the road home. and you won't get a DWI. And you won't be financing the UDP's spending spree. Win win win win win.

  12. Thumbs up! says:

    Good for you Justice Williams.

    I'm tired of hearing about people who kill others in cars while drunk on our roads and end up serving less than 2 years.  We should make the same fuss about drunks driving as we do about guns! 

    The end result is the same, people die.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Wait till July 1st, more info will come, taxi drivers pissed off. New company launching, hopfullyour roads will be safer. 

  14. noname says:

    SORT. OUT. RIPOFF. TAXIS.

  15. Anonymous says:

    What we need is bus services late at night so people can get home…or reasonable taxi fares.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I like the idea someone else mentioned about $5,000 fines. If we also included a provision that would prohibit offenders from being MLAs so much the better but I doubt that would ever get passed.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I have found that I can stay below the legal limit by visiting establishments that charge $5 or more for each beer. I run out of money long before I can get drunk……

  18. Anonymous says:

    To change the law would require way more work than CIG lawmakers could muster.  Until that changes all these great ideas are just wishes.  Nothing will change until leadership changes.  Until then wish away.  And try not to drive in the late evening.

  19. Weed Tree says:

    I too agree that the limit should be lower.   Alcohol is a dangerous drug in line with cocaine or even worse. 

    Ever watched a person when they have had a hit of cocaine?  While doing it they hides behind trees, under floors and on roof top.   They are always looking out and very edgy.  After the hit,  They become miserable and walk the side streets with their heads down picking up small gravel stones and throwing them back down.  Only God knows what they are looking for.  But they are just miserable souls out of their mind.

    Ever watch a person getting drunk?  They turn into a proper idiot in half an hour.  They sit on a bar stool and look around at every one with a frown and as if they have lost their eyesight.  They will wobble over and hug you up, push you off  your bar stool, drink your beer and then offer to buy you  another one,  pee on the bathroom floor.  Search the parking lot for their car, and swear their wife came and took it.  .Finally finding it, they drive  home on the wrong side of the road at top speed,  and go home and run the wife and children out of the house.  Falls asleep with a machette in his hand.

    Ever seen the man that smoke the Herb.   He gets paid on Friday evening.  Makes sure he separates his herb money from the house money.   He will call home and tell his wife he is playing two dominoes.   He is quiet, relaxed, very calm and consious of his surroundings.  Smile at you now and then,  give you a nod, and greet you with a Blessed.   He will drink only one  beer all night. Then go home and eat all the left over rice and beans  in the house.  .

    Now you judge for yourself which of the three is worse.

    • Kmanlady says:

      This is so true… i say, legalize ganja, do anyone remember the 60's; 70's 80's when all we had as drug on this island was ganja and alchol, the crime was very very very low. that all change when the cocaine arrive and there was a bar on very cornor street.

      LEGALIZE GANJA!!!!!!!!

    • hattra says:

      …. and the "herb" smoker is 20 times more likely to die of lung cancer than a cigarette smoker

  20. Anonymous says:

    k good so did RCIPS include this in their comments on new Traffic Bill?

    • Anonymous says:

      simple answer is NO. the donkey Exco member did, i see in the new law there is no driver training fot our youth, the donkey took it out.

    • Stiffed-Necked Fool says:

      Will the limit be the same level for Elected Government Members?

    • Anonymous says:

      So what if they change the limit, what about the sentencing for DUI and killing someone?  Shouldn't that be something to change?????

  21. Just Sayin' says:

    Given the standard of driving seen daily, I don’t think twelve is all that high a figure.

  22. Knot S Smart says:

    So now anyone who drinks a beer will be arrested…

    That should keep the cops busy and the robbers and murderers wont have to worry about the police having time to catch them…

     

    • Cross Dressed says:

      Knot so smart.  Who named you that? The name suit you well.

      • Knot S Smart says:

        I reserved that name for people like yourself who respond to my posts.

        Now get back to your cross-dressing – Dear!

  23. Anonymous says:

    Once the speed limit on West Bay road is (eventually) reduced to 25mph, some kind of public choo-choo train service (Trolley-Roger?) up and down the hotel corridor would make this island alot more fun and appealing to tourists, residents, condo owners, and those restaurants and bars operating there and those property values would flourish.  Cabs will still be required to get people there from outlaying areas.       

     

    • lookey here says:

      Fantastic comment. Give us a trolley. Give the tourists an island style feel. We have the bypass! If you want to move fast go round the outside. Even if we have certain hours that it would be in place to keep the commuters happy then so be it. Alcohol no doubt kills but speed is a bigger factor. I drive in from the eastern districts everyday and the idiots who have something to prove winding in and out of traffic are just as guilty! Overtaking on seven mile beach at 60mph. Just stupid. We may have a drunk driving problem but the sober driving is just as ridiculous! We live in a country where the value of life on the roads is undermined by people who think they can drive and in reality they have never experienced major roadways or even driving in a foriegn country where high speed motorways exist. Every morning on my way to work i am reminded of the phrase" i am surrounded by idiots!"

       

  24. Anonymous says:

    We could lower it to zero and it would be meaningless – unless Police plan to venture out regularly to catch people.

  25. jsftbhaedrg says:

    Lowering the limit is great but there will be no change in the attitude towards DUI unless the police enforce it with a vengence and show a real presence by doing REGULAR road blocks.