A collaborative effort was launched Monday to put an end to bad driving habits in the Cayman Islands.
The multimedia campaign ‘StreetSkill’ unites the Royal Cayman Islands Police Services, the National Roads Authority, Government Information Services and Cayman Islands Road Safety Advisory with a goal of ‘putting the brakes on bad driving’.
While the campaign will seek to educate drivers and encourage them to become better drivers, it will also correspond with increased police enforcement of traffic laws.
StreetSkill comes in response to the nine traffic deaths that have already occurred this year. Speeding has been attributed as contributing to all of those fatal accidents.
‘It is totally unacceptable to have such a high number of deaths due to speeding,’ said Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan.
NRA Managing Director Colford Scott said the speeding has to stop.
‘There is absolutely no reason for anyone to go in excess of the speed limit anywhere on this island,’ he said. ‘Drive within the speed limits and stay alive.
The tentative schedule for the StreetSkill campaign has it running through the end of the year with an alternating focus on four different problem areas.
In May and June, the focus will be speeding; in July it will be cell phones; from August through October it will be seat belts and child safety; and in November and December it will be drunk driving.
The campaign will include video ads at the cinema, print ads, inserts in the newspaper and product give-aways. RCIPS officers will also give a flyer about bad driving to anyone pulled over for a traffic offence.
It is no coincidence that speeding is the first focus.
‘Speeding is the number one problem facing the Cayman Islands right now,’ Mr. Kernohan said.
‘People think they can prove they are a better driver because they can drive fast.
‘To those who think that, I would say ‘any fool can drive fast enough to be dangerous and sooner or later you will cause an accident.’
The RCIPS will step up its enforcement of all traffic offences, Mr. Kernohan said.
‘We’re going to be stopping, charging and taking people to court who are disobeying our traffic laws,’ he said.
As mentioned in Governor Stuart Jack’s Throne Speech last week, the RCIPS can begin using remote traffic enforcement technology, which are cameras that can be used to catch speeders.
Mr. Kernohan confirmed that the usage of remote enforcement technology had been agreed to in principle, and he called the devices ‘a 100 per cent effective way’ of enforcing the speed limits.
If the RCIPS obtains the digital cameras, they will be on all the time, Mr. Kernohan said.
Some units would be placed in specific areas known for speeders, and there will also be mobile units that can be moved to different locations around the island.
‘[Remote enforcement technology] will be introduced in some shape or form providing we can successfully integrate the equipment with existing systems,’ Mr. Kernohan said.
Assistant Commissioner Anthony Ennis said there was a high likelihood that those caught committing traffic offences would have to go to court rather than just paying a ticket.
‘Not only is there the added embarrassment of having to appear before the magistrate, but there are also higher fines involved,’ he said. ‘People should take this very seriously. We will be relentless in enforcement.’
Even though focus of StreetSkill will change as the campaign goes on, the RCIPS will be actively enforcing all traffic offences even minor ones, Mr. Ennis said.
‘Don’t think you can get a break for one thing because we’re concentrating on something else,’ he said.
CIRSAC board member Aileen Samuels said the campaign has the full support of her organisation.
‘This is the worst it’s been in 20 years in road safety here,’ she said. ‘There’s a great deal of road rage.’
Ms Samuels said everyone was being targeted by the StreetSkill campaign because even normally good drivers have been guilty of bad driving recently.
‘People who used to give way are no longer giving way,’ she said. ‘They’re sick and tired of being pushed aside by [other bad drivers].’