Road deaths cause alarm for new commissioner

| 26/01/2009

(CNS): With 10 road deaths in Cayman during 2007, 11 during 2008 and another fatal car crash occurring on the Brac some three weeks into the New Year, Acting Police Commissioner James Smith said he has significant concerns about the death rate on local roads given the size of the jurisdiction. Crashes on Cayman’s roads are continuing to increase with 1,470 in 2008, 160 more than those recorded in 2007, despite efforts to police drivers.

“It is of concern that in the last year eleven people lost their lives on the road. For me that is a very high figure for what is a small jurisdiction,” said Smith. “We are working with partner agencies and looking at strategies to regain some ground on road deaths.”

He said that road safety is everybody’s business and the police would be working hard in 2009 to tackle the problem.  “Police have continued to make their presence felt on the roads and although total offences detected have shown a decrease from 12,135 to 8,790, more serious offences, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, have risen. Enforcement on the roads will continue. Safety must become a concern for everyone. While we work hard to identify and address areas of concern, we cannot make the roads safer alone. We need assistance from partner agencies as well as the entire community,” Smith added.

He said that there was a cultural problem that had to be addressed around drinking and driving and the more severe the penalties the more likely the culture would be eventually be changed as was the case in his experience in the UK.

“We can’t relax for one minute on this as we have a culture of drinking and driving and bad driving that we need to change,” added Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis. “We need to push the message that those driving recklessly or under the influence will lose their licence, and anyone caught driving while disqualified risks going to jail.”

Ennis noted said that 232 drivers had lost their license and been disqualified from driving during 2008. 

 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Since moving to Grand Cayman I am astounded by the poor quality of driving compared to other civilised countries. The majority of drivers pay more attention to their cell phone calls and emailing on their Blackberrys than the road. I see cars swerving side to side because the driver is concentrating on their phone call and trying to steer one handed.

    Maybe if the driving laws were updated and enforced to ban the use of mobile phones when driivng, this would put out a clear message that when someone is driving they should be concentrating on the road.

    The non-existence of public transport outside of the Seven mile beach strip and the extortionate prices of taxis are key factors in the nation’s drink driving problems. I am certainly not condoning drink driving and do not partake myself but I can see why it is so common here.

    The availability of reasonably priced, regular and reliable public transport needs to be improved before you can tempt these drinkers out of their cars. Perhaps the funds raised from fining drunk drivers and cell phone drivers could be used to improve the bus services on the island.

  2. Anonymous says:

     Why does no one talk about this more?? Every day I drive to and from work someone is tailgating me so bad that all I see is lights in my rear view mirror. Just last night someone decided that passing me (despite the fact that I was actually driving over the limit by 10 km) was better after tailgating me up most of west bay road. They chose to do this with a solid middle line and I could see them chit chatting on a cell phone at the same time. They then proceeded to weave all over the road and even off the road once in front of me. Of course.. they reached the four way stop at the exact same time I did because there were even more cars in front. 

    Basically, the driving in these islands is downright atrocious. It is horrible no matter what time of day or night and is not just due to drinking and driving. I have personally witnessed accidents caused simply by speed and injuries by lack of seatbelt use. I’ve had buses full of people pass me in curves with solid lines when I was going the limit in a quiet residential area. What is wrong with people? Whatever happened to island time? Why is everyone in such a rush to get one car ahead all the time? None of this horrible driving makes one ounce of logical sense and is certainly leading to injuries and deaths at a not so surprising rate.