Car crashes, fatalities increase

High-profile violent crimes have been grabbing the headlines in Cayman so far this year, but it appears the islands’ persistent road safety issues haven’t gone away in the meantime.

According to statistics released by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service this week, the total number of vehicle accidents, instances of drink driving, and the number of people who’ve died on island roads have all increased in the first six months of 2008.

Six people have died in the first six months of the year on Cayman roads, compared to five deaths in the first half of 2007.

Total traffic accidents have increased by some 16 per cent, and drunken driving arrests have shot up 36 per cent in the first half of this year.

Overall, traffic offences have declined in the first six months of 2008, largely because of a drop in the number of speeding tickets issued by the RCIPS.

‘Although it is crime that has been making the headlines recently, it would be remiss of me not to mention what has been taking place on our roads,’ Deputy Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis said. ‘Six people have lost their lives in car crashes this year, and our thoughts and condolences remain with the bereaved.’

Mr. Ennis mentioned one accident in particular, the hit and run crash, which led to the death of 55-year-old West Bay resident Lewey Ebanks in April, has so far gone unsolved.

‘I find it very difficult to conceive that no one knows of that incident,’ Mr. Ennis said.

Mr. Ebanks was struck as he walked along Reverend Blackman Road the evening of 10 April. He suffered major head injuries, and was transported to a Jamaican hospital where he died two weeks later.

Mr. Ennis said police were still disappointed in the number of traffic accidents, but were committed to maintaining routine patrols and using road blocks as well as continuing the Streetskill driver education programme.

The number of DUI arrests, which had actually levelled off in 2007, was back up again in the first half of this year.

‘It would be difficult to say…the number of people who are drinking and driving is more,’ Acting Police Commissioner David George said. ‘I think it does more reflect the amount of action we take.’

In addition to the drop in speeding citations, the number of drivers ticketed or warned for failure to wear seatbelts and driving without insurance also decreased in the first part of this year.