The first road blocks of the police’s safe driving campaign during the festive season appeared on Monday.
Traffic officers stopped cars on the road outside Grand Harbour Monday morning to let drivers know about the campaign, dubbed Operation Christmas Cracker.
Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Superintendent Adrian Seales said, “We’re hoping to pull together a number of safety initiatives – road safety, personal safety, boat safety and business safety – over the next five weeks.”
From this week until 4 January, 2012, drivers can expect to come across road traffic checks and road blocks on a regular basis, he warned.
“We’ll be doing many more of these checks,” Superintendent Seales said. “We’re asking members of the public to be patient with us while we do this … necessary work because we think safety is everybody’s business.”
The checks will be carried out both day and night and focus on checking for people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the use of cell phones while driving, careless driving and other criminal offences such as possession of illegal weapons, he said.
The recently amended Traffic Law bans the use of cell phones, unless drivers are using hands-free sets, although that law does not come into force until next year. However, Superintendent Seales said he hoped people would start to get into the habit of using hands-free sets in the run-up to the introduction of the ban.
“It’s not just that we’re here to ticket anyone or prosecute anyone, but we’re here to educate the public in the right things to do in making this season a very safe and enjoyable one,” he said.
As part of the personal safety element of the campaign, Chief Superintendent Angelique Howell said police are advising women how to protect themselves during the festive season.
“We want to tell women that when you are going out to make sure that you park your vehicles in well-lit areas, make sure somebody knows where you are going, and make sure that you do not leave your valuables and everything visible for people to see because you have opportunists who will take the opportunity to break into your vehicle or just to harass you.”
Police will also be targeting men to educate them about their behaviour towards women.
“You do not approach women aggressively or bombard them or harass them or follow them because then they will believe that you’re out to attack them. You have to be careful about the things that you do,” she said.
On business and home security, she advised businesses to ensure their CCTVs are working and that cash is banked and that no large amounts of money is held on the premises.
Police will also hold their annual burglary road show on 17 December at supermarkets.
Chief Inspector Howell also warned that drivers who imbibe too much the night before should be aware that they may still be over the legal limit the following morning, and police will be at checkpoints in the early morning.
“We will be doing traffic stops right throughout the day at various times, so even people who believe they can go out and have a good time, when they are going to work at 7am or 8am, they can expect that they’ll be coming up on road blocks as well,” she said.
She said: “The drink-driving limit is 100 millilitres of alcohol in 100 milligrams of blood, that is the legal limit but for us to say how many drinks will affect you, we can’t do it. It involves your body weight and how much you’ve eaten and different factors. You have to be careful about the amount of alcohol you drink and the effect it has on you …
Get a designated driver, that’s the best thing.”