Today’s Editorial November 11: Driver crackdown welcomed

How many times have you been driving on West Bay Road to find yourself being passed in the turn lane and either wishing you were a police officer or wishing a police officer was around to see the offence?

Ditto on Shamrock Road at Spotts Straight where speedsters are known to defy logic and overtake on the double yellow lines onto oncoming traffic.

More often than not these overtakers are putting their lives and the lives of others in jeopardy. Often there isn’t much space for the overtaker to merge back into the flow of traffic, causing people to slam on brakes and utter unkind words.

According to the Royal Cayman Islands Police that wishful thinking of either wanting to be an officer or wishing an officer was around is no longer necessary.

West Bay offenders began being targeted last week. The police operation resulted in 45 prosecutions for traffic offences.

Those convicted aren’t just facing a ticket; they have to go to court where they face fines of $500 to $1,000.

While the practice of illegal overtaking on Shamrock and West Bay roads is dangerous, it is particularly risky on West Bay Road.

There are no crosswalks and people – tourists and locals alike – take their lives in to their own hands when walking across the road to get from one side to the next.

Drivers who use the turn lane to overtake also take the added risk of a head on collision with either someone else using the turn lane for the same illegal purpose or with someone using the lane legally in an attempt to make a turn.

The two initiatives of the police department to crack down on illegal overtaking and dangerous driving are just the first of a litany of measures needed to enforce traffic laws in the Cayman Islands.

New Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan promised when he arrived in the Cayman Islands that he would beef up the police force and the men and women under his charge would crack down on crime, beginning with what some might consider even the smallest of offences – speeding, not wearing seatbelts, bicycling on the wrong side of the road or at night without lights.

So far he’s been true to his word. The prosecution of 45 offences on West Bay Road in two days alone is proof.

We hope that all drivers take note of what the police department is doing.

It’s time to return courtesy to the roadways of the Cayman Islands. Slow down and be patient.

One life lost in a traffic accident is one too many.

Thanks goes out to RCIP Chief Inspector George Watson and his staff for enforcing the traffic laws and keeping us all safer.

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.