Prangs and smashes continue

| 02/03/2011

(CNS): Despite the constant warning and urging by police for people to improve their standard of driving, the accident toll on Grand Cayman keeps on rising. While some prangs are considerably less serious than others, the number of more serious smashes is still high for the size of the population. In the last five days drivers have crashed into a George Town store, had a serious collision on the bypass and even, ironically, smashed into the sign at the vehicle and licensing department. According to the latest information available on the 911 call log, in the first 12 days of 2011 there were 43 motor vehicle accidents reported to emergency services and in at least ten of those people were injured. (Photos Dennie Warren Jr)

On Sunday a driver, who witnesses said appeared to be drunk, ran into Arthur Bodden’s wooden print shop, a historic building on North Church Street in downtown George Town, causing extensive damage. On Saturday night two cars were damaged when they narrowly escaped a head on collision, and last Thursday morning one driver crashed into the sign at the new Department of Vehicle Licensing.

The police commissioner has called for legislation to ban cell phone use while driving and increase fines for driving offences. At a recent press briefing David Baines said that appalling driving standards were endemic. According to the latest police statistics, there were 1,374 road accidents in Cayman last year, which included 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.

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. Baines said that the 300 collisions that took place in the last six-weeks of 2010 illustrated that there was a lot of work 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 could only enforce the legislation that is in place and the RCIPS needed the backing of legislators to make the roads of the Cayman Islands safe. “We look forward to the days when our recommendations are passed into law,” he added.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    After reading the comments I’ve seen most of the frustrations faced daily on Cayman’s roads. However, there has been one glaring oversight. Vehicles driving below the speed limit are a hazard as well! They actually cause traffic jams. I’ve been behind people driving down west bay road at 20mph, the road ahead of them is completely clear yet looking in the rear view mirror you cant even see the end to the line of cars jammed up behind.

    I agree with a ban cell phone usage while driving and I hold nothing but contempt for drivers who fly by in excess of 70mph down the middle lane. But driving below the speed limit being in the best case a nuisance and in the worst case a safety hazard on the road should be punishable by a fine.

    If we can all drive speed limit, pay attention to the road, indicate and not tailgate I’m convinced we would see a large drop ion the amount of fender benders occurring on a regular basis.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I wish some tailgater would take a moment to explain to me why they feel the need to follow so close to the car in front. Are you the same person who stands six inches away from me at parties and breathes garlic in my face, and then constantly pokes my arm with your finger because you need to be quite sure that I’m listening? I’d just love to know.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I just read all the below comments and agree with most all the replies, BUT I also noticed that the NUMBER ONE cause of accidents on Cayman roads was NOT mentioned: FOLLOWING TOO CLOSE TO THE CAR IN FRONT OF YOU!
    The surefire way to give someone else, who is most likely not the safest driver, a chance to control your destiny. A two-second gap between vehicles is the minimum safe distance. I did hear a female police officer say, on the radio talk show, that a “one car length” distance was safe. Maybe at five miles per hour! I, too, would like too see better police enforcement of ALL the traffic laws. Me? Driven for over 42 years, motorcycles and cars. No tickets, no accidents, but many close calls with the idiot drivers in front of me. Maybe I’m just lucky!

    • Anonymous says:

      Amen, amen and amen!

      More often than not when I look in the rearview mirror, I cannot even see the bumper of the car behind me.

      Stop following so damn close and Heaven help the one that runs into me…



  4. Anonymous says:

    I live in UK and am a frequent visitor to Grand Cayman. It is a pleasure to drive here because other drivers are for the most part so considerate. They are happy to ‘let you in’, smile when they toot their horns and drive at a moderate speed. So different from the roads in London where only the strong survive.
    However, there are two basic differences.
    In England it is unlawful to drive while using a hand-held mobile phone.
    In Grand Cayman it appears that a hand-held mobile phone while driving is almost compulsory.
    In Grand Cayman large numbers of drivers {including the polce} use vehicles that have the steering wheel on the wrong side.
    I wonder if these are factors in the road accident statistics.

  5. anonymous says:

    Drivers while you are approaching a roundabout, please take note of the sign indications, especially the one by ALThompsons.  If you are going on to Eastern Ave. or heading on to the the Harquail ByPass You should be in the left lane.  If you are going on the the Harquail Bypass and heading in to the Industrial area, please use the right lane.  For Christ sake, stop using the left lane to go in to the Industrial area.  Same thing with the CNB Roundabout.  If you are going towards Shedden Road, get in the right lane.  On that West Bay Road stretch, between Pizza Hut and Galleria Plaza, the centre lane is ONLY for turning, yes turning.  Mini Buses and suped up car drivers, please learn your Road codes and stop risking anothers person life.  Patience is a great vertue, please exercise it on our roads.  Remember as a driver, you are driving with respect and care for you, the other drivers and for Mr. avoidance.

  6. Right ya so says:

     How many people in Cayman know that you ARE. NOT. SUPPOSED. TO. PARK. ON. DOUBLE. YELLOW. LINES?????????

    If we can’t even get that right or enforced by the police (helllo parking on the double yellow line AND right on TOP of the pedestrian crossing outside Cable & Wireless downtown!!!!)  how on earth can you expect anyone to know that they shouldn’t drive whilst texting and that indicators are not just pretty things that flash occasionally : / ??

  7. expat weirdo says:

    Bad drivers but how about bad urban planning? It’s impossible to walk any distance while keeping on sidewalks as they are stop and go and pedestrians have to walk on the road.

    How about crossing lanes for pedestrians?

    Clearly no one knows how to use stop signs so might as well make roundabouts from the few remaining.

    Have 1 police officer patrolling 7 mile beach with the sole purpose of catching people that use the center lane to pass.

    It’s not rocket science.


  8. Anonymous says:

    I live on Fairbanks Road where the speed limit along here is 25 mph.  The signs are clearly posted, as well as the ones marking the school zone.  I’m just sayin’.  With the amount of idiots that scream through here day and night, you’d think it was Fairbanks Raceway.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree – my kids attend Triple C and I have yet to see people obey the school zone when the lights are flashing. The other day I purposely went the long way around leaving the school to make sure that the school zone lights were activated and to drive the speed limit (in Canada you get HEFTY fines for speeding in an active school zone) and a taxi/mini bus driver was set to pass me til he caught my glare and wagging finger (I was driving in my jeep with the top down), all while yakking on his phone.
      Same with passing in the school zone – too impatient for people to turn into the school or other residential areas? The RCIPS could make a boatload of money by patrolling these areas and ticketing those people who feel that they are too important to wait for such silly things as school buses with their red lights flashing while letting the children out.

      • Anonymous says:

        Police need to start with the school bus drivers. Go to the George Hick/Field of Dreams/Fairbanks road 3-way stop any day of the week and watch the bus drivers with a bus full of kids barrel through there as if the STOP signs did not exist.

  9. Sarah says:

    The other day I saw someone driving with not one but 2 cells phones in his hands.  His wrists were on the streering wheel and as you would expect when working 2 phones, his eyes were not on the road.

    But car drivers are not the only ones taking a risk – my husband saw a man cycling on the wrong side of the road, holding on with one hand and carrying a baby with the other – I kid you not!  Now if something happened to make him think he was going to fall – guess what is the first thing he would have let go of?

  10. Don't worry I wont stay says:

     I believe it.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I see no problems using a phone while driving. In fact, I’m doing it right now and I’m just fine! I don’t understand why all you people insist thadashdjsadjasasxasdasdaaaa

    Anyone know a good mechanic? 😛

  12. Anonymous says:

    I’m all for putting a law in that bans the use of cell phones while driving, but who is going to enforce them? Aren’t there speed limited in place, aren’t you supposed to cross a solid yellow line (ie not overtake where there is a solid line), aren’t toddlers supposed to be in the back seat strapped in a car seat or seat belt????

    Those are all offenses that happen on a daily basis and nothing is done about it, so putting a law in the books is not going to change a thing as apparently the laws that do exist are not upheld!

  13. Anonymous says:

    simple solution…
    create a a dedicated traffic police run by the private sector who’s job it is to catch and fine people for motoring offences. Just make the fines large enought so the gov and private company can make money….
    Literally hundreds of thousands of dollars could be raised weekly by fining people who break the rules of the road…
    e.g every hour hundreds of people could be fined for dangerous driving (ie. not using indicators on roundabouts!)

    • Anonymous says:

      Many accidents could be avoided if people would learn how to use roundabouts properly…..when there are 2 lanes approachinga roundabout please note THE LEFT HAND LANE IS NOT THERE TO HELP YOU BEAT THE PERSON IN THE RIGHT HAND LANE TO THE ROUNDABOUT!! You should only be in the left hand lane if you intend to take the 1st or 2nd exit off the roundabout (in other words if you are turning left or going straight on). If you plan to turn right you SHOULD NOT be in the left hand lane!! Yesterday afternoon I followed a truck on the bypass by Lantern Point who was hell bent on getting to the roundabout in front of the other cars who were in the right hand lane. He sped along in the left lane, not slowing as he went around the roundabout and continued to race on, still in the left lane as he took a right turn on to Shamrock Road. How he didn’t take the front end off one of the cars,correctly positioned in the right lane and needing to move over into the left lane to take the exit, I’ll never know. So…if you’re the driver of the red truck with a registration number of XXXXX READ YOUR HIGHWAY CODE….particularly the part about how to use a roundabout!!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Get off the cell phones!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This should be law and there should be a campaign behind this with immediate fines. This is ‘driving without due care and attention’. It amazes me when someone drives around a roundabout with one hand on the wheel and the other on the phone. Hey …. I see cops on cell phones too!

  15. Anonymous says:

    I have two questions:

    1. Are the people who cause damage to “public” property also made to pay for fixing what has been broken? For example, when people run into a street sign etc, are they made to cover the cost for replacing it?

    2. Who is responsible for a clean up after an accident? I can not believe how many time glass and car parts are left on the streets or the side of the street for months to come.

    3. Can we implement a point system whereby one receives a certain amount of points when a drive license is issued, but for each offense (accident, speeding, license not paid etc) a certain amount of points are deducted. Basically, 3 strikes and you are out (at least for a good amount of time)?

    • Right ya so says:

       Re: clean up of the road after an accident – I’m not sure who is supposed to be cleaning up the road after an accident but the other morning I saw policemen sweeping the glass & debris up after an accident in rush hour traffic – this could be why there is sometimes debris remaining – try sweeping & dodging cars.. I don’t think the police should have to do that but who else..? perhaps PWD could clean up afterwards & the driver(s) involved fined on the spot to cover the cost…

  16. Anonymous says:

    I would like to comment on this issue: Are the indicadors an options when you buy a car? There are so many morons on these roads who may never have heard of indicators.!!! And even the police swerving 2 lanes and crossing over, no indicators etc to just go from the right lane to the left. Bravo. Keep it up!!! They should be showing examples as it is. I’ve seen it many times. By the cricket field, they stopped me to tell me I couldn’t use the right lane to merge into the left and I had put on my signal…and I could go on and on….

  17. Rorschach says:

    Meanwhile, drivers pass in the center lane(very dangerous), drive through red lights, cut off other drivers, take risks passing other vehicles, park their cars sloppily, and in inappropriate places. And no one seems to notice.


    That’s because a  majority of the time, when you see this type of driving, the car has a big blue light on the top of it and a stripe down the side…Police cannot enforce laws that they don’t obey themselves….

  18. Anonymous says:

    I am not a Police basher and I do support when and where ever possible. But it true the larger the Police get in numbers the less you see on the roads??? and I have seen Police Officer Driving texting and talking on the phone and sorry to say they were all women officers.

    The commissioner needs to restrict this kind of thing and if they have to use the phone stop . I always pull over to answer my phone and the reason I do that now beacuse I almost ran into the back side of some one and the fright was enough, even thou I needed a drink after that just to calm my nerves LOL. better be safe than Sorry Pull over and talk Cayman .

    • Anonymous says:

       We need a new commissioner, this one is obviously not doing his job properly and spends his days watching boats sink.

  19. Herbie says:

    Every single day without fail while driving along the West bay road, some idiot come’s roaring down the center/centre lane,over taking 5 and 6 car’s. I personaly, near had ahead on with one of these loosers, and HE had the audacity to look at me like I was in the wrong, If I was a man I would have got out my car and punched his lights out, but am not, I am a woman 110lbs wet.,Having said that, if I were male he probably would not have given me such a look.Something needs to be done about theseugly, nasty people who have no respect for other road users make me sick.You know who you are.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Our elected officials are too busy finding ways to destroy Cayman by building three ports: one in East End, one in North Sound, and one in George Town to worry about things that XXXX, like the safety of the voting public. 

    Lowering the speed limit on West Bay Road and banning the use of cell phones while driving are just too mundane for them.  What are a few lives when there is money to be made?

    Mr. All Knowing, Wise, and Powerful Bush, Pass the necessary laws NOW or bear the blame for the next traffic death, since you will not have done what you could have helped to avoid it.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the ban on cell phones. There is not even the need for a Headset to be worn, how long does it take you to get somewhere here .. I am sure you can go without a call for that long.\\

    The trouble with headsets is most people will still have to  pick up there phone to dial a number .. and the WORST part is most of the people driving badly are texting. I agree with the comment about the police seemingly trying to catch people on offenses that bring in an income, but if you make cell phones illegal in cars then they can pull people over for that and make money too! 

    Trouble is I daily pass police officers on their phone while driving or speeding to get somewhere. The law should apply to everyone.

  22. Anonymous says:

     Newsflash:  The accident toll will continue to rise until the end of the year irregardless of the laws.

    • Anonymous says:

      “irregardless” is not a word – regardless is what should be used.

    • Anonymous says:

      The last thing we need is negative prophecies. Give some positive ideas of how to tacke the problem instead. I cancel your negative words.

      There is no such word as “irregardless”.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Cayman has one of the highest blackberry ownership per capita in the world.  It’s no wonder so many people are crashing they are all on them while driving!  90% of the drivers that I pass on the rd have a blackberry stuck to their ear, or bbming.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you seriously suggesting most of these accidents are because of bbm’ing? 

  24. Michel Lemay says:

    It prooves that we have many bad drivers on the road. Many are seen on the telephone not paying attention. It’s time to pass the law that ONLY headset with phones must be used and texting prohibited perio. Either a written ticket at fist then a hefty fine afterwords or something. Please PASS the LAW and you will see a reduction in what I call accidents waiting to happen ! God Bless

    • Anonymous says:

      What is the penalty for failing to indicate throughout a roundabout?  A: Zero.  

      If RCIPS were to impose and enforce a CI$200 fine, you would see all phones and blackberries quickly disappear from driver hands. 

  25. Anonymous says:

    The police seem to be ineffective at enforcing any laws on Cayman, which happens to include traffic law inforcement.

    Their idea of traffic law enforcement is to set up sneaky radar traps on sections of road which have miss-posted speed limits, and raise revenue for the government.

    Meanwhile, drivers pass in the center lane(very dangerous), drive through red lights, cut off other drivers, take risks passing other vehicles, park their cars sloppily, and in inappropriate places.

    And no one seems to notice.