The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service reported 298 vehicle collisions on roads between 22 November and 3 January during a high-profile holiday traffic enforcement campaign.
The number has caused the RCIPS some consternation, given that it represents roughly double the number of car accidents that occur on a weekly basis in Cayman.
“For a country the size of the Cayman Islands, 298 collisions in six weeks is a terrible figure and clearly demonstrates the lack of care and attention paid by many people on our roads,” said RCIPS Chief Inspector Angelique Howell.
According to the latest traffic figures available, January through September 2010, the Cayman Islands averaged about 25 road accidents per week.
During the six weeks of the holiday traffic enforcement effort, Cayman averaged 50 collisions per week.
Prior to the holiday season, the number of accidents was actually trending down a bit, police records show.
“It’s clear that much more needs to be done by all agencies involved in road safety to address the issue,” Chief Inspector Howell said, adding that work would begin early in 2011 on a national road safety strategy.
One collision over the holiday period killed 26-year-old accountant Michael Edgington.
Mr. Edgington was struck as he walked across West Bay Road the early morning of 18 December.
The driver arrested in connection with the wreck was suspected of drink driving, according to police.
Mr. Edgington’s death was the seventh and last to occur on Cayman Islands roadways in 2010.
The number of fatality accidents nearly doubled from the previous year, 2009, when four people died on local roads.
However, seven traffic-related deaths is still considerably lower than what Cayman saw in 2006, 2007 and 2008 when a total of 36 people died in wrecks for the three years combined; 14 in 2006, 11 in 2007 and 11 in 2008.
A total of 37 people were arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving over the six week holiday period, a number police said represented an increase over the same six week period in 2009.
DUI arrests averaged just more than six per week between 22 November and 3 January. That’s more than the 4.6 DUI arrests RCIPS recorded per week between January and September 2010.
“Our high visibility approach worked,” Chief Inspector Howell said.
Police conducted a total of 128 road blocks during the six week holiday period; more than 20 per week.
Although crashes and drink driving arrests went up over the holiday period, police records show speeding did not.
Police stats showed more than 80 speeders being ticketed per week in the first nine months of 2010.
During the six-week holiday period, an average 67.6 speeding offences per week were detected.