The Royal Cayman Islands Police is undertaking two traffic operations designed to curtail illegal overtaking on Cayman’s roads.
In one operation, which began last Thursday, targeted offenders are those who use the middle turning lane of West Bay Road to overtake other cars.
The other operation involves the area of Shamrock Road known as Spotts Straight, where there has been overtaking on double yellow lines onto oncoming traffic heading east.
The first two days of the West Bay Road operation resulted in 45 prosecutions for traffic offences, the RCIP said.
RCIP Chief Inspector George Watson said offenders will be dealt with severely.
‘(Illegal overtaking) is classified as dangerous driving,’ he said. ‘It’s not just a ticket; you have to go to court.’
Inspector Watson said those convicted of dangerous driving could face fines of $500 to $1,000.
‘And if you’re caught exceeding the 40-mile-per-hour speed limit at the same time, it’s even worse,’ he said.
Because of its high volume of traffic, overtaking in the turning lane on West Bay Road is particularly dangerous, Mr. Watson said.
‘Several things can happen,’ he said. ‘First, with no proper crosswalks, pedestrians can be put in danger.
‘Second, you can have head-on collisions with cars travelling in the opposite direction that want to turn.
‘And third, it could block police or other emergency vehicles that need to use that lane.’
Mr. Watson pointed out that people are allowed to use the turning lane, but they must use it properly.
‘What is important is when you get into the turning lane and how long you stay there,’ he said.
‘The turning lane isn’t supposed to be used to overtake,’ he said. ‘It’s designed for the purpose of its name, and it’s only when you intend to turn, that you should be using it.’
One insurance company manager who has seen an increase in the number of accident claims applauded the RCIP’s crackdown on dangerous driving.
‘This is an excellent idea,’ said Ken Chand of Motor and General Insurance. ‘I presume they were waiting for more manpower to begin this.’
Mr. Chand, however, thinks the RCIP also needs to crack down on speeders as well.
‘I think speeding is the primary cause of accidents in the Cayman Islands,’ he said.
Mr. Chand said he’d heard the RCIP did not have many working radar detectors.
‘If they had more, they could probably catch more speeders,’ he said.
Mr. Chand said he actually bought a radar detector for the RCIP and that he’s committed to buying three more. He’d like to see other insurers join the effort to make sure the RCIP has the tools it needs.
‘For $2,500 each for the radar detectors, we can support the police in their work,’ he said. ‘That could go a long way to improving the driving.’