Today’s Editorial May 04: Bad drivers, beware

Beware lead-footed drivers: Big Brother is coming your way.

If Governor Stuart Jack and his Royal Cayman Islands Police Service get their way, digital cameras will become the norm on our country’s roadways.

But these aren’t cameras for tourists to take cheesy shots of each other; they’re cameras that will be used to help nab speeding motorists.

It sounds like something out of George Orwell’s classic novel, 1984 in which the author described a totalitarian society in which the government had almost total control over the people. The supreme ruler of the Party was Big Brother who lorded over everyone with Thought Police.

It was the job of the Thought Police to keep everyone in line.

Maybe likening digital cameras aimed at bad drivers to Big Brother is a bit over the top.

But bad behaviours on our country’s streets are forcing our police department to turn to unorthodox methods at solving speeding problems.

The cameras will supplement of the overall multimedia campaign dubbed StreetSkill, in which the police, National Roads Authority, Government Information Services and Cayman Islands Road Safety Advisory plan to put the brakes on bad driving.

StreetSkill aims to educate drivers and encourage them to do a better and safer job of manoeuvring our roadways.

The initiative is necessary because the nine traffic deaths so far this year – and it’s only the beginning of May – are proof positive that Cayman’s streets kill; a play on words if you will.

Speeding was a contributing factor to all of those accidents.

StreetSkill will go beyond speeders, though.

In July those behind the initiative will target drivers who just can’t seem to shut up and drive.

While there aren’t any laws in the Cayman Islands specifically targeting cell phone use while driving, there are laws against dangerous driving.

Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan already stated earlier this year that he will encourage his officers to pull over drivers using cell phones who are acting reckless.

In August and October StreetSkill will target drivers who don’t use seatbelts and those who don’t properly secure their children in child safety seats.

In November and December – just in time for holiday revellers – the initiative will go after folks who just have to drink and drive, putting everyone in danger.

Bad drivers caught up in the initiative won’t just be facing a paper ticket and a stiff fine; they’re on notice that court appearances will be the preferred method of dealing with them.

It’s unfortunate that bad driving in the Cayman Islands has forced the hand of the police department to come down so hard as to install hidden cameras and threaten offenders with jails sentences.

But any death caused by bad driving is one too many. We’ve got to get our streets back in the Cayman Islands.

Anything that can be done to make our roadways safer for all is more than welcomed.