Naughty drivers get just desserts

Police write nearly 1,000 tickets in six weeks

A six-week campaign to crack down on traffic offences during the holiday period has led to some 959 tickets being written to drivers by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

According to statistics released by the RCIPS, some 551 people were cited for speeding during that period.

To put that in perspective, the RCIPS averaged just above 306 speeding tickets issued per month in 2008.

‘It is almost inconceivable that so many people have chosen to ignore the warnings about the dangers of driving at speed,’ RCIPS Inspector Adrian Barnett said.

A slew of other traffic violators were nabbed during the six-week period including 16 people charged with drink driving; 139 who weren’t wearing seatbelts; and 253 offenders who were issued tickets for other traffic-related matters like driving with an expired coupon, failing to stop, failing to indicate, parking tickets and the like.

Out of those cited for the traffic offences, 66 were required to appear in court. A police spokesperson said those individuals were sent to court for ‘the most serious’ of traffic offences.

Since the beginning of this year, RCIPS has made a continued and concerted effort to focus on traffic related problems – using roadblocks frequently to perform spot checks on drivers.

Inspector Barnett said that would continue right through to the new year.

‘Police will be out in force throughout the festive season carrying out stop-checks on vehicles, setting up road blocks and…gathering intelligence about people who are drinking and then driving,’ said Mr. Barnett.

Traffic enforcement has been a bright spot in an otherwise troubled year for the Cayman Islands police force.

In the previous three years, Cayman has seen an average of 12 fatal accidents on its roads each year.

So far in 2009, with just a few days to go, four people have lost their lives in vehicle accidents in the Cayman Islands.

For the first half of this year, Cayman’s traffic accidents decreased by eight per cent 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.

Younger drivers are also losing their lives far less frequently on Cayman Islands roads, according to data compiled by the Caymanian Compass.

In 2008, only three of the 11 people who died in car crashes were younger than 30. No teenagers were killed in car crashes last year. The only teen driver involved in a deadly crash in 2008 was 19-year-old Alex Callan, who’s now charged in connection with a one-car smash up that killed Sidney Myles and Bruce Lee Ebanks following a police chase. Mr. Callan survived the accident.

For 2009, two males in their early 20s have died in single car crashes – one in East End and another on Cayman Brac early in the year. A 32-year-old female pedestrian died several weeks after being struck by a car along Shamrock Road earlier in the year, and a 41-year-old man died after his truck drove into a canal on 31 October.