Earlier this month, Commissioner of Police Stuart Kernohan announced the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service would commence a high-profile crack down on drinking and driving.
Last week, the Court of Appeal quashed an earlier Grand Court decision that allowed a person disqualified for drunken driving to drive during working hours.
Both developments should serve as a warning to Cayman Islands residents: Don’t drink and drive.
Mr. Kernohan pointed out that drinking and driving was once seen as socially acceptable by some people in the United Kingdom, but that it is now seen as totally unacceptable.
The same can’t be said in Cayman.
Go to any pub or bar on the island and count the number of cars in the car park. Then go back after closing time and count the cars again.
Most, if not all, of those cars will be gone.
Some people might have had designated drivers, and others might have only had one or two drinks, but many motorists simply got into their cars after three or more drinks and drove home.
And this happens here every night.
Drinking and driving isn’t anything new in the Cayman Islands, but it does seem to be getting more prominent, possibly as another fall-out from Hurricane Ivan.
Medical professionals warned that alcohol abuse would likely increase after Ivan. Certainly, the pressures of daily life for many in Cayman have increased with the financial strain posed by the post-Ivan economy.
While choosing to drink alcohol to relieve life pressures might not be a wise medical choice, it is a personal decision that individuals should be allowed to make.
However, drinking and driving is not. It causes imminent and unwarranted danger not only to the driver, but to others as well.
The holiday season is upon us and many people will choose to partake of alcohol in the coming month.
It’s been a long, difficult year for many people, and some will want to enjoy themselves with some alcoholic drinks over the holidays.
These people should be well warned, however, that if they decide to get behind the wheel of an automobile after drinking, next year could be even longer and more difficult because they might find themselves disqualified from driving.
There are other options they can choose, like drinking with a designated driver or taking a taxi. Ask anyone who has had their licence disqualified for drunk driving and they’ll tell you, in hindsight, they wish they’d chosen another option.