Traffic bill must ban cell phones

Lawmakers in the Cayman Islands have it in their power to save lives.

The Observer on Sunday believes that, because those we put into the Legislative Assembly have the power to enact legislation that would ban the use of cell phones by people operating motor vehicles.

The problem is, it seems that none of them has the political will to take the bull by the horns, as it were.

We have to wonder why recommendations for a partial ban on the use of cell phones by drivers made more than a year and half ago have largely been ignored.

Both the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service and a Seventh-day Adventist Church group have thrown their full support behind a ban on cell phones in motor vehicles.

Language in the newly revised Traffic Bill banning cell phone use by drivers is still missing because, we’re told, the ministry that oversees such things won’t listen to just one group when drafting such a bill.

“From some of the public we get ‘you can’t use a device at all’, then we get a certain sector of the public that says ‘well, you can use hands-free’, then we get another that says ‘you can use a hand-held device, you just can’t text on it’. Then we have those that say ‘forget about it altogether’. So we can’t just accommodate one group” as the article in today’s newspaper quotes.

The Observer on Sunday contends that by leaving the wording out of the bill to ban cell phone use while driving the ministry is accommodating one group – the one that says forget about it altogether.

The wording should be in the draft bill. Then the decision on whether to put the bill into legislation with or without the wording should be left up to the men and woman we put into the Legislative Assembly by going to the voting polls in May 2009.

From 22 November, 2010, and 3 January, 2011, 298 vehicle collisions were reported on the roads of the Cayman Islands. You can probably make a safe bet that some of those involved the use of a cell phone.

We hope the drafters of the revised Traffic Law listen to the experts – the police are the ones who attend the accidents and collect statistics and the Seventh-day Adventist group has done the research.