Today’s Editorial: Accidents unnecessary

The only possible positive out of all the automobile wrecks since Hurricane Ivan is that some of the glut of vehicles is being taken off the road.

But even that doesn’t justify the senseless increase in the number of roadway accidents since the storm slammed into the Cayman Islands in September.

It is estimated that by the first day of July, there will have been 430 full-blown, police-investigation-requiring accidents on the roadways of Grand Cayman since 4 July last year.

That number doesn’t include the 574 smaller fender benders to which police aren’t called, but that insurance companies must deal with.

Now, take those numbers and compare them to the total 280 investigated accidents that occurred the previous year and it’s easy to see: Cayman drivers are out of control.

Call it road rage.

Call it inattentiveness.

Call it ignorance.

Call it carelessness.

Call it stupid.

Experts say there are a number of reasons for what’s known world-wide as road rage, including crowded roadways and the great urgency folks have of reaching their destinations.

But also in this equation are ignorance and bad manners.

It’s like some demon takes hold of the driving souls of some people and they become discourteous, illegal drivers and cause a lot of problems, including unnecessary fatalities.

On to of the human factor, there are more cars than ever on the roadways of the Cayman Islands, especially Grand Cayman.

There are between 33,000 and 35,000 licensed vehicles in the Cayman Islands. That means that only a thousand or so residents are thumbing, bussing or taxiing.

Estimates are that 7,000 vehicles were destroyed in the September storm, but that 5,000 replacements were brought in. And as shade-tree mechanics get their Ivan damaged cars back into some semblance of a working order, those derelict vehicles are also finding ways back onto the roads.

RCIP Traffic Constable Mannie Myles hits the nail on the head. He said the problem is caused from speeding, aggressive people and stress.

First of all, slow down.

Speed limits on the small island of Grand Cayman never exceed 50mph. Speed-limit signs have been replaced and should be obeyed.

Second, if you’re feeling aggressive, go get some help. It’s OK to seek professional help to sort out your post-Ivan feelings and problems.

Thirdly, if stress is the problem, take a few minutes to slow down, take a few deep breaths and thank your higher power that you are here, alive in a place that, although scraped by a storm, is still paradise.

If you don’t know how to drive, get some lessons.

Please, for the sake of each of us, let’s work together to get the accident rate down.

If you value our service, if you have turned to us in the past few days or weeks for verified, factual updates, if you have watched our live streaming of press conferences or sent an article to a friend... please consider a donation. Quality local journalism was at risk before the coronavirus crisis. It is now deeply threatened. Even a small amount can go a long way to sustaining our mission of informing the public. We need our readers’ financial support now more than ever.