Today’s Editorial March 27: Speeding leads to tragedy

There but by the grace of God go we.

A dozen cruise ship passengers died in Chile last week when the tour bus they were riding on swerved to avoid an approaching truck, plunged off the rugged highway and fell down a rocky incline.

Early news reports said speeding was involved.

We’ve taken liberties with John Bradford’s quote in the 1500s when he said ‘but for the grace of God there goes John Bradford’ as he watched evildoers being taken to a place of execution.

His quote has been changed to the above lead in paragraph and is uttered by those who see something bad happen to someone else, when it could have just as easily happened to them.

What happened in Chile is a tragedy.

If any of our visitors lost their lives in tour bus or taxi accidents we’d call it more than a tragedy and we would be left reeling with the negative tourism implications.

We say ‘There but by the grace of God go we’ because chances of a life-taking vehicle crash in the Cayman Islands are very good.

It is believed that speeding contributed to the dozen deaths in Chile.

It is known that speeding is a problem in the Cayman Islands, and specifically in Grand Cayman.

It is not unusual to see some tour bus operators and taxis tailgating, illegally overtaking and speeding on a daily basis while trying to get cruise ship passengers to their attraction destinations or back to the cruise ship after a day of fun in the sun.

Most of that bad driving is relegated to West Bay Road where cruisers are transported to the Turtle Farm, boats to travel to Stingray City, Hell, the Turtle Farm and other attractions.

But Minister of Tourism Charles Clifford has a mission to expand the tourism product to the eastern districts, which would certainly help share the wealth of the tourism dollar being deposited on our shores.

While we don’t have the mountain ranges that grace Chile, we do have areas of roadways in the eastern district that are cliff. The image of a tour bus or taxi filled with cruisers trying to race back to the port from the eastern districts swerving to miss another vehicle and careening down one of those cliff sites is unbearable.

We’re not saying that all tour bus and taxi operators drive badly, but many do. And an accident involving tourists on a bus or in a taxi doesn’t necessarily have to be the fault of that vehicle’s driver, either.

Many of the people who drive cars and trucks on our roadways are guilty of the same bad driving behaviours and are just as likely to cause an accident as be a victim of one.

It’s bad enough that Cayman Islands has to lose its own people in traffic accidents. What a black eye we would receive if we were in the same shoes of Chile last week.

Bottom line: Everyone needs to develop good driving habits for the health and safety of us all; residents and visitors alike.