Traffic safety a struggle

Last weekend, police radar clocked someone driving through the Spotts area of Grand Cayman at 141 miles an hour.

Unless the new police radar trailer malfunctioned, that person was driving more than triple the posted limit on even the highest-speed road in that neighbourhood.

No arrests have been made, but officers are investigating the incident.

‘It is clear that some people still have no regard for the safety of others on the road,’ Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis said. ‘At 141 miles per hour you should be into NASCAR racing or something…this is not for the streets of the Cayman Islands.’

For the first three months of 2007, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service issued nearly 1,500 citations for speeding. That works out to more than 16 tickets per day. It’s also a 71 per cent jump in speeding tickets when compared to the first three months of 2006.

Drunken driving citations also went up by about 10 per cent from the first quarter of this year when compared to the first quarter of ’06.

Against the background of a massive effort to crack down on speeding and dangerous driving, traffic accidents dropped by about five percent in the first quarter. But RCIPS still reported more than 260 crashes from January through March.

Mr. Ennis admitted there have been doubts about the police programme developed to deal with the island’s traffic problems.

‘Streetskill has been going on for almost a year now and one probably questions the efficacy of continuing with Streetskill, in light of the growing number of accidents on the roads,’ he said.

‘What we’re dealing with is a culture, and a culture is not broken over days. I’m still convinced that (Streetskill) is having an impact, especially with certain quarters of the community.’

Mr. Ennis noted other measures were being taken by police to reduce the problem of speeding and dangerous driving.

He said two more mobile radar trailers had been ordered by RCIPS and should be arriving on the island soon. The devices, which many drivers have already seen, flash the speeds of motorists travelling through an area. The radar can detect drivers up to three-quarters of a mile away.

Mr. Ennis also left open the possibility that cameras could be attached to these trailers, but declined to give further details.

Police Commissioner Stuart Kernohan said he cautiously welcomed some of the traffic statistics for the first quarter of this year.

‘This is the first time in the last 12 months when we’ve started to see a drop overall in the number of total collisions…on the Cayman Islands,’ Commissioner Kernohan said. ‘But it’s an early trend.’

There were four fatal accidents in the first part of this year. By this time last year, nine people had died on Cayman Islands roads.

‘We have seen a reduction of over 50 per cent in the number of fatal collisions,’ Commissioner Kernohan said.

However, last year saw a greater number of deadly accidents…14…than Cayman has witnessed in more than a decade.

In 2005, there were six fatal accidents for the entire year on Grand Cayman. The island is easily on pace to surpass that total this year.

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