Fewer crashes, speeders

For the first time in several years, the number of fatal car accidents and total car accidents has sharply declined in the Cayman Islands.

According to traffic statistics for the first six months of 2009, there were also significantly fewer citations for drink driving, speeding and other traffic offences.

The road records were one of the few highlights for the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service in a mid-year report that showed crime on the increase in most categories.

‘Some of the statistics are definitely helped by education,’ RCIPS Inspector Durk Banks said, referring to the RCIPS long-running Streetskill campaign. ‘It seems to be that public is heeding the message.’

There have been just two fatal accidents in the Cayman Islands so far in 2009. In each of the past two years police had seen roughly triple that number by 30 June. So far this year, Grand Cayman has seen just one fatality with Cayman Brac recording the other.

By comparison, the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda, with a size and population similar to Cayman, saw its 11th road fatality of the year last week.

Overall, Cayman’s traffic accidents decreased by eight percent in the first half of this year when compared to 2008. There were nearly 700 crashes from January through June, but that’s a drop from the more than 750 recorded in those months last year.

Speeding citations also dropped by about seven per cent when compared to 2008. Looking at the first six months of 2007, there was a 25 per cent drop in speeding tickets.

However, Inspector Banks said 2,082 speeding tickets in just six months, or nearly 13 a day, is still way too many.

‘People are continuing to speed,’ Mr. Banks said, adding that more than 166 people were prosecuted in one week, between 10-16 August for speeding. ‘This is just the Traffic Management Unit, not the district police.’

Drink driving citations dropped by about 11 per cent in the first half of 2009.

Inspector Banks said police had increased their use of roadblocks again in recent months and also credited that strategy with the reduction in traffic accidents.

‘That’s definitely had an effect,’ he said.