Cops want new traffic laws

| 15/02/2011

(CNS):Police appeals for drivers to take more care on the roads continue to fall on deaf ears, following another major single-vehicle smash on the Linford Pierson Highway in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The commissioner has called on law -makers to pass recommendations made by police to ban cell phones and increase fines, among other things to address the on going road safety issues. At a recent press briefing he said that appalling driving standards were endemic and more still needed to be done. In the latest smash Police confirmed the Honda Integra was heading to Bobby Thomson Way, just after midnight when it collided into a rail at the side of the road. The driver sustained only minor injuries and was released from Hospital. Enquiries are ongoing. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

According to the latest police statistics, there were 1,374 road accidents in Cayman last year, which including seven deaths. Although accidents increased by 4% in 2010 compared to 2009, the history of road traffic accidents in Cayman is high. In 2008 there were over 1,500 smashes and 1,430 in 2007.

Some 8,600 offences were recorded last year, which, although down 23% on the 2009 figure of a whopping 11180 tickets, was still a very high number.

Despite the continued campaigns by the RCIPS and the pleas from senior officers, the accident toll remains disproportionate for the size of the driving population and the miles of road, with many accidents being single vehicle crashes.

Speaking at a recent press briefing regarding crime and traffic statistics David Baines said that the 300 collisions that took place in the last six-weeks or so of last year was a clear indication that much more needed to be done to educate drivers.

“Drink Driving, the use of cell phones while driving, speed and appalling driving standards are endemic and all of these issues will be addressed in our planned National Road Safety Strategy,” he said. “Too many lives have been lost on our roads – and that’s why two years ago we made some significant recommendations to legislators. These include raising fines, banning cell phones and introducing new road traffic charges.”

However, he said that the police can only enforce the legislation that is in place and the RCIPS needed the backing of legislators to make the roads of the Cayman Islands as safe. “We look forward to the days when our recommendations are passed into law,” he added.

It’s not only local drivers who are adding to the traffic woes. A visitor to Cayman was involved in what could have been a serious accident Monday in down town George Town. However, no one was injured when a Suzuki APV van took a nosedive onto the iron shore in front of Atlantis Submarine. According to a report on Cayman 27, the driver said the vehicle’s floor mat got stuck on the accelerator when the van over ran the parking block and tipped onto the ironshore with the driver and his passengers on board, who were planning a trip on the Atlantis Submarine. (Photo Courtesy of Cayman27)

 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why do the police use blue flashing lights when all they are doing is pulling an empty boat trailer? What classifies this as an emergency call? When is someone going to get a grip of these totally useless civil servants and replace them with people who can not just uphold the law but comply with it as well?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Just teach folks to:

    1.  Not drink excessively and drive (I admit that this is a difficult one – I have never lived anywhere where there are so many drunk drivers on the roads, apparently without fear of any consequences);

    2.  Keep left in two lane carriageways at all times except when overtaking, and then once you’ve overtaken, keep to the left lane again;

    3.  Get off and keep off your mobile phones while driving (both texting and talking).  If you have to do this, pull up on the hard shoulder or nearest suitable place off the carriageway and text/talk all you want without risking the lives of others; and

    4.  Stop at pedestrian crossings (such as the one outside the courthouse/LA) if you see someone stood there, don’t almost mow them over and than shout and swear at them – is you who is in the wrong!

    5. Read and fully understand the UK Highway Code, as it is the UK’s driving rules we use in Cayman, not American driving standards, which seem to cause many of our drivers to plod along in the right-hand (fast) lane: http://ukhighwaycode.com/Documents/The%20Highway%20Code%20Aug%202010.pdf

    This in itself, if enforced could make a HUGE difference to the RTA’s in Cayman.  It’s common sense for goodness sake!

    • Anonymous says:

      15.54. Be careful what you wish for. If using a cell phone while driving becomes illegal, and drivers complywith the law, you are suggesting that any time they want to use the phone they should pull off the road. This  means that the 97% of drivers who never use their indicators might suddenly pull over without warning, and we all know that 75% of those drivers would choose  dangerous places to stop.

      The rest of your letter amounts to advising drivers not to run people over deliberately. Well, thank you for that. As for overtaking on the left, technically you are right, but the convention in Cayman has always been that passing on the left, US-style, on a dual carriageway is acceptable. I have no problem with that whatsoever, and I’ve been driving here since 1983 without accident.

      It’s the extremely dangerous passing in overtaking lanes and the ignorant driving on roundabouts, combined with the total lack of indicator use that bothers me. And what about the 15% of drivers who never dip their headlights at night? Are they just being offensive, or is it conceivable that  they don’t realize there is a difference between high-beams and low beams? Don’t drivers learn about this in the driving test? Being a good driver in Cayman requires a high degree of anger management.

      The one thing I have noticed recently is how many walls, fences and entrance pillars are smashed down every week. My guess is that texting is the cause, or is the new national sport?

      • Anonymous says:

        08.31  This is how the cellphone laws work in the UK, and they work just fine – drivers must find a safe place by law or they are committing an offence which will be enforced by the Police.

        The rest of my letter is requesting people to observe the Highway Code and understand what they are meant to do at pedestrian crossings.  And given the shortage of sidewalks, not to mention the number of drivers who seem to think sidewalks are for parking cars, yes, damned right I am advising drivers to observe pedestrians.  I am not suggesting they try to run people over deliberately although I must confess, one wonders at times when they pass so close.

        The convention in Cayman allowing folks to undertake is dangerous and illegal in the UK.  Further, it causes both lanes on dual carriageways to be clogged up, particularly at rush hour, causing drivers who are ‘in a hurry’ to constantly zig-zag between the cars in both lanes, often with no indicators.  This is dangerous practice and inevitably leads to accidents.  Example – try sit on Shamrock Road or any dual carriageway in a morning/evening rush hour and see for yourself.  If you’ve managed to do that since 1983 without accident, I’m happy for you but by no means condone anyone driving in this manner.  

        I am with you on the other points you make 🙂

  3. Anonymous says:

    There’s plenty of legislation already, just no willingness to enforce it.

    Personally, I don’t think the general standard of driving is that bad when you consider the mix of nationalities and vehicles on the roads, the state of the roads and the lack of proper signage in some areas.

    One problem that needs to be addressed is poor enforcement because many police officers just don’t seem to understand either the existing traffic laws or the technical aspects of ensuring that a vehicle is safe, and legal, to be used on the road.

    The other is that the mandatory annual vehicle checks are a joke, every day cars pass inspection with visible (and presumably invisible, like defective brakes) defects that seem to have either been ignored or are not covered by the testing process.

  4. Dennie Warren Jr. says:

    To have a better look at the scene, place your mouse cursor on the main image of this article above and right-click, a context menu will appear, select the “View Image” option to see a larger version of the image.  Then look closely at the portion of the guardrail nearest to the camera and you will see the driver’s door is pinned to the leading edge of the rail.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Implementation of new laws is not the answer if we are not able to uphold and follow the currently existing laws. There is a law that the windows can have a certain amount of tints on the windows. Do you see anyone enforcing that law? Toddlers standing up in front seats, constant disregard for speed limits, dump trucks with dangerous levels of uncovered loads. The list goes on and on.

    I see those offenses EVERY single day on the road. They are the norm – not the exception. If I can see them, how come the police can’t?

    So instead of asking for new laws, we need to make sure the police enforces the ones that are already there.

    RCIP – please kick into action NOW!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Traffic law enforcement in Cayman seems to consist mainly of police setting up sneaky radar traps to catch ‘speeders’ on roads which have miss-marked speed limits.

    How many serious accidents have been linked to any ‘speeder’ caught in those traps? I suspect none.

    Examples of favorite spots include the road east Bodden Town, the south end of South Sound road, and the road east of the Breakers.

    Never on West Bay road, where drivers routinely pass in the center lane, which is the most dangerous driving possible.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I think I’m going to start recording the horrible drivers here and post them on youtube, at least it will shame them including the police!

  8. Richard Wadd says:

     The KEY to Road Safety is "Driver Education".

    Yes we need to revise our Traffic Laws, as they are both outdated and grossly inadequate for this current age and time, however we must take a Holistic approach if we are to solve the problem.

     I have PERSONALLY been witness to the baffling way in which we "Test" new applicants for Drivers Licenses. 

     How does allowing an individual to take THE SAME (Multiple-choice) Test 3 times in one day, and then ‘coaching’ them through the last test so that they can achieve a ‘Passing Grade’ ensure that our Drivers know and understand the current Road Traffic Laws?

    How are we going to ensure that our existing Drivers are Educated and informed about these New Laws once they are implemented?

     And yes, the Police MUST lead by example. Seat-belts, cell-phone usage, dis-regard for traffic Laws, the list is longer than I have time ….

     Mr. Baines, either get on with the job you have taken, or we WILL replace you with someone who can.

     THAT goes for the Govt. as well.

    • Married to a Caymanian says:

       CNS, please tell me that the drivers was charged with reckless driving!?!  In the USA if you damage public road property, i.e. road signs and guard rails, you have to pay for the replacement.  I hope that is the case here too.

      Sooooo a HONDA going too fast smashed itself up at midnight?  Were the police satisfied WHY this person was speeding at midnight?  

      I just want to make sure that this traffic CRIME was charged and also, did the police insure that perhaps this person was not related to any other incidents that evening?

  9. Right ya so says:

     Considering the number of bad drivers on the road perhaps the driving test should be a little more stringent….for both Caymanian’s and our foreign guests….. just sayin..

    • Anonymous says:

       People coming from countries with bad road rules should have to retake the test

      • Anonymous says:

         So should anyone from a country where you drive on the right and not the left as we do here.  I bet they’re the one’s hogging the overtaking lane all the time!

  10. Anonymous says:

    NEW LAWS. They want new traffic laws.i cannot agree with this ,what we need is for the police to inforce the laws that is on the books already. come on mr baines it is time that you stop being blaming some body for your short comings.one of our biggest problem is the drugs trade, what has happen to DTf,.and the custom . remember that the custom is responsible for all imports in the country, if it gets them its the police duty to take it off the streets MR BAINES WE NEED ACTION FROM YOU. if you cannot do the job PLEASE go back home .

  11. Anonymous says:

    NEW LAWS. They want new traffic laws.i cannot agree with this ,what we need is for the police to inforce the laws that is on the books already. come on mr baines it is time that you stop being blaming some body for your short comings.one of our biggest problem is the drugs trade, what has happen to DTf,.and the custom . remember that the custom is responsible for all imports in the country, if it gets them its the police duty to take it off the streets MR BAINES WE NEED ACTION FROM YOU. if you cannot do the job PLEASE go back home .

    • Anonymous says:

      They’re like kids asking for a new toy:  "You’ll get a new toy when you can show me you’ve taken proper care of the toys you’ve already been given."

       

  12. Anonymous says:

    So with 100 miles of roads in Cayman, that’s an accident every 400 feet.  Or put another way, if you commute 2 miles to work, you could pass 27 accidents  :o) …scary!  PLEASE beef up the vehicle inspection standard to get dangerous cars off the road, bring in fines for cell phone use while driving and stiffer penalties (or a points system) for motoring offences.  We need to do something and do it NOW!

  13. Sarah says:

    Today I was driving behind a small car that had at least 4 small children loose in the back – they were all standing up – some facing backwards, some forwards – the youngest looked to be about 3 or 4 years old.  This disgusted me.  The driver had her belt on – so she will be fine in an accident – but didn’t seem too bothered about the saftey of the 4 children in the back.  Clearly accidents often happen in Cayman and it is sheer irresponsibility not to secure your children.  I took her license plate and am still undecided about whether to give it to the police.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is the Island culture, no respect for the laws and no respect for human life. Until this changes then we have no chance, I just hope it does not take thedeath of a child for this attitude to change.

    • The Truth is Out There says:

      Please report it to the police. In Canada the parents would be arrested and the children would be taken away for something like that. It is child neglect.

  14. Kung Fu Iguana says:

    OK, this is based on experience.  The worst categories of drivers in Caymam are:

    4th) Drivers of old beaten up cars racing to get to work down West Bay Road just before 7am.

    3rd) All Hummer drivers.

    2nd) Bus drivers

    Worst) Overweight women in flatbeds/large SUV’s. (Has one of these EVER let you in or do they just grip the wheel tightly and scowl angrily?)

     

  15. Anonymous says:

    I live near the Esterly Tibbetts Bypass. Each night, especially on weekends there are hooligans on super bikes, popping wheelies and racing each other up and down like complete idiots with absolutely no regard for human life or other innocent road users.

    There’s also another group of fools who drive these souped up noisy Japanese cars, doing the same thing. Especially on weekends.

    I have not once seen a police car stop and fine/arrest any of these thugs. I have, however,  seen them aplenty in areas dishing out fines to people doing 35 in a 25 zone, in West Bay. On a daily basis.

    How about some proactive policing on these bypass roads, or some kind of permanent speed trap camera which are used quite successfully in other parts of the world?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Its amazing the gaurd rail didnt injure more seriously the occupants of the black tinted glass, low riding,seat reclined to horizontal , i-VTEC engined, blue headlighted & loud exhausted Honda….in a 40 mph zone.

  17. Anonymous says:

    They can change the laws all the like (and I hope they do) but the Cops need to start stopping people that are violating traffic laws.  Some knob did an illegal turn off the bypass in front of a row of vehicles including a police car and the police did nothing.  I guess they would rather not do the paperwork?

  18. Anonymous says:

     I believe the drivers here are wonderful. But then again I came from a place that had no paved roads or cars either. Run and tell that homeboy.

  19. Rorschach says:

    If the RCIP(s) made a REAL effort to enforce the traffic laws that are already in existence, they wouldn’t need "new" ones…

  20. Anonymous says:

    We dont need new laws. Just enforce the ones we have. Everyone knows where most of the accidents occur. How about patrolling these areas and ticketing speeders and bad drivers. of course this would require officers to actually do their jobs.  

  21. Anonymous says:

    Maybe they should change the law back to being able to qualify for a drivers license to 21 years of age.
    Accident that have been happening are kids under the age of 21 so please change the law.

    And parent think before you help your kids with a car. You may regret it one day.

  22. Anonymous says:

    The only thing Baines is good at is blaming things on lack of legislation

  23. Karyll Iton says:

     Personally, I think I would prefer to take my chances with black berry users on the roads than the gun men on the streets robbing hard working people and terrorizing the community. 

    Especially considering:

    "Some 8,600 offences were recorded last year, which, although down 23% onthe 2009 figure of a whopping 11180 tickets, was still a very high number."

    That’s a pretty good reduction if you ask me. Lets get the robberies and gun crimes down by 23% now!

  24. tim ridley says:

    "Appalling" is an understatement for current driving standards on Grand Cayman. And sadly the poor standards run up and down all income levels and across both the private and public sectors. It is a hard call on the Bypass whether you are going to get mown down by a rusting van, brand new SUV or clearly marked official vehicle, with or without cell phone to the ear, eating food and wandering from lane to lane. What is astounding is that some of these road warriors come from countries where they would get taken out pretty smartly by the police or road rage. Try it on the M4 or I95, let alone the autobahn, and see what happens!

     

  25. Swine says:

    Perhaps the police could start with their own officers. I see numerous officers driving with phones to their heads. I see police cars flick on their lights and sirens to get out of a junction, only to turn them back off when their way is cleared and they get out on the road.  I see police cars driving on neighborhood streets at twice the speed limit.  I’ve seen a jamaican officer issue a ticket to the driver two cars in front of me through a road block for having blue headlights, while the driver directly in front of me was driving a car that didnt even look half road worthy that was probably built in the 1700’s, with no tail lights working, only one light came on when he pressed the brakes, obviously a jamaican, no tickets issued, only a few words said, probably not even a warning.  I’ve seen police cars pull of the side of the road, and do a complete 180 and speed off in the opposite direction, with no lights, indicators, sirens, no warning.

    • Anonymous says:

      You have an amazing ability…to be able to determine the nationality of a person simple by looking at them!!

      Or perhaps a little predjudiced?

  26. anonymous says:

    I agree…the new laws should require all visitors to use an APPROVED submarine for such excursions!!

  27. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Baines, Maybe you should address the usage of cell’s by your officers first before addressing this with the public. A majority of the times I pass a marked or unmarked poice car your officers are on their phones.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am sure Mr. Baines is making a big deal about officers using cell phones whilst driving. That does not mean he cannot and should not also tell the wider community to do the same.

      Come on, its not rocket science. Stop being distracted on the road by your pretty cell phones and concentrate on the task at hand – e.g. driving safely. Yes it is the Polices responsibility, but it is also OUR responsibility as well.

    • Frank says:

      This is a VERY true statement..not to mention they do not wear seatbelts, barely use signals and illegal park frequently. I passed the cricket field last Thursday and an unmarked white lumina with 2 police officers in was parked with the back end still in the road watching the guys practice! Not to mention one police officer who lets just say we will call “Dukes of hazard” felt the need to show off by running to his car kicking the door further open once inside so it would rebound back and close by itself and then turning his sirens on and burning out of a parking lot! (Not one tiny shred of that story is exaggerated btw!!) I appreciate there are some really good police officers who are serious about doing their job which is great but as a whole the RCIPS really do need to practice what they preach. Just because you are the law..that doesnt give you the right to break it!!

    • Anonymous says:

      let take picture of cops who talking on phone while driving and post on facebook to shame them!! Or even better take photo of ANYONE who using phone behind wheel.

      • Anonymous says:

         great, now we will have one ignorant person not paying attention because of talking on the phone, and another ignorant person who is also not paying attention because they are busy taking photos of the first ignorant person

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree, and whoever might well be reading this from the RCIP please take note. Practice what you preach! Also, I was behind a police car the other day which failed to indicate left as it turned off a main road. It also failed to indicate right a bit later, so I made a note of the licence plate, and followed it beyond where I would normally turn off, curious as to how long this driver would break the law that I was employing him to enforce. Thankfully, the officer then began to use his indicators. Had I done what he had done, I might well have been pulled over (rightly), and cautioned, or even given a ticket, for failing to obey traffic regulations. Officers of the RCIP, please note that the public, your employers, and whom you serve, are observing your behaviour, it’s to be expected when you are driving a vehicle marked "POLICE" after all (!), and expect exemplary conduct on your part. I do appreciate that the behaviour I observed is quite (for me at least) unusual, but if even one officer acts in such a way, it is not good, or acceptable. 100% compliance, please. Thank you.