Drink driving worse this holiday

Victim in Wednesday crash taken off life support, dies

richard martin fatal accident 300x250

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has made more arrests for drink driving in four weeks of its 2011 holiday traffic crackdown than authorities did in all of the 2010 holiday road safety operation.  

The sobering revelation came shortly after an accident Wednesday morning that saw an injured 26-year-old man ultimately taken off life support and die Thursday at the Cayman Islands Hospital in George Town. He has been identified as Dwayne Cayasso. 

According to records released by the police department Wednesday, a total of 44 people were arrested between 28 November and 28 December on suspicion of DUI; a figure police called “staggering”.  

That’s already a significant increase over the figures reported during the 2010 holiday road traffic safety campaign.  

Police said the six-week operation in 2010 netted 37 arrests on suspicion of DUI, which was an increase over the 
same period for 2009.  

DUI arrests averaged just more than six per week between 22 November, 2010, and 3 January, 2011. That’s more than the 4.6 DUI arrests RCIPS recorded per week between January and September 2010.  

By way of comparison, the four-week period from 28 November to 28 December has averaged 11 DUI arrests per week.  

“Forty-four people who thought that the traffic Law did not apply to them are facing court in the New Year,” said RCIPS Chief inspector Angelique Howell. “We have already locked up more people this year for DUI than we did during the complete safety campaign period last year. The figure is deplorable and a sad indictment on the behaviour of drivers in the Cayman Islands. 

“New Year’s Eve will soon be here and again people will be attending parties, or drinking in their homes. Once again we will be targeting drink drivers and taking those selfish and irresponsible people who continue to put their own lives, and the lives of other road users at risk, off the streets. So if you really want to have a happy and safe New Year take a cab, designate a driver or use the NDC purple ribbon bus.” 

Police have also noted a large increase in the number of accidents during the 2011 holiday traffic enforcement period, compared with what they would normally see during the rest of the year.  

According to a report received from police on 20 December, “three times as many minor road crashes have taken place over the past few days than normal”. 

“Normally we see around three minor road crashes a day, but over the past few days we’ve sometimes seen as many as 10,” said RCIPS Chief Inspector Robert Scotland. “Drivers are just not paying attention to the road or weather conditions. 

“We’re still seeing people ignore the speed limits, tailgate and, despite the fact that using cell phones whilst driving will soon be illegal, people are not changing their driving habits and believe that they can safely multi-task when driving. It’s only when they get involved in a crash that they realise how much damage that lack of focus and concentration can cause.”  

That’s nothing new for local police, who reported 298 vehicle collisions on roads between 22 November, 2010, and 3 January, 2011.  

“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 at the time.  

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 of 2010, Cayman averaged 50 collisions per week. RCIPS has not yet released specific accident numbers for the 2011 holiday traffic crackdown. 

   

Third major wreck   

Mr. Cayasso was one of two men injured in a one-car crash that closed a section of the Linford Pierson Highway early Wednesday.  

According to police, he and another man were in a Honda Civic that left the road around 2.20am Wednesday and were taken to the hospital with injuries. Mr. Cayasso, the driver, was initially listed in serious condition, but was later placed on life support. The 24-year-old passenger remains in the hospital in stable condition. Police said the white Civic ran off the road and collided with a tree near the riding stables.  

“The investigation [into the accident] has led us to suspect speed and alcohol,” said RCIPS Inspector Adrian Barnett.  

Two other men, St. Matthew’s University student Richard Martin and East End quarry worker Richard Rivera, died in other car accidents in Grand Cayman within the past month. 

richard martin fatal accident

The Cayman Islands holiday period got off to a tragic start with the death of Richard Martin in an accident on 30 November. – Photo: File

1 COMMENT

  1. We are a drinking country so what is the problem? For a small island we have a lot of bars and stores that sell liquor thus we will have a lot of people getting drunk O wait a minute we all muss have control, good luck on that dream. we same to be in a time warp here. Thats y people where saying slow this island down because this is what u get when u move to fast. Now live with it, I DO.

  2. I wonder how many of those accidents are related to mechanical failures. If the number is low, I recommend that the vehicle be inspected once every three years instead of yearly so you can use the inspectors in teaching how to drive to the ones that need it. The police should sent to those inspectors, the ones that: does not use their signals, honk the horn for no emergency reasons, stop in the midlle of the road to pick up someone, drive way too slow like it is Sunday every day, do not use the green light on a turn but wait for the arrow turn light, don’t allow other car to get in on round abouts.

  3. 345, you’re obviously a deep thinker, alcohol is for sale, therefore we must expect there to be a lot of drink driving? It is really about taking a bit of responsibility, something that seems to be lacking on this island, and I am taking a wild stab in the dark that you’re pretty much typical of this.

    Maybe one day you’ll be affected by the actions of drink driving…oh wait you already are; clogged roads due to accidents, higher insurance premiums, police road blocks, perhaps injured/dead friends and family.

    I live near a liquor store, and I enjoy drinking. I think I will go get drunk now, and drive around. Perhaps not, since I am not a moron.

    The only shocker here is that the number isn’t much higher. How about a nice name and shame special in the New Year, with lots of police mugshots?

  4. One of the major reasons that people drink and drive here more than they do in other countries is because of the taxis here in Cayman.

    I have taken a taxi several times from 7 mile area to South Sound and the majority of the time it costs 25 or more! If I take a taxi to the same area after midnight, the taxi charges me 50 or more. (it is only to be a 25% increase in the fare price not 25 increase after midnight)

    If taxis here were metered, more people would use them! The amount that taxi drivers charge here is ridiculous!

    I come from a city that has 300,000 people and is 10 times (if not more) than the size of this entire island. I lived on the other side of that city from the airport and it never cost me more than 30 to take a taxi to the airport.

    Why do Cayman taxis think it is ok to rip people off?

    Metered taxis will reduce the number of drunk driving on this island!

  5. Its called the new Cayman. We love to reinvent the wheel and always think we are smarter than the rest, not so at all. Small island and lots of liquor, lots of cars, lots of crashes makes sense to me. Or u will probably come back with the race card again (ON THESE ISLANDS ONLY) no not really pattiman in this big world its a problem.Those shiny eye people came to our shores with promisses of we will make your country better than it is. Well look at it now we should all be please with our selves its just like what i was getting away from in the states. Well done now drink up and cheers.

  6. I agree on the comments about taxis. For a developed country the fact that we have no reliable, honest taxi service is an embarrassment. I live about 4 miles from west bay road. In the last year alone I have been charged 20 (2 passengers) to 80 (4 passengers) for the same journey. To be fair most charge towards the lower end of that (20-30) and most are extremely friendly and professional. But almost every other country has metered taxis and plenty of them. Perhaps some of the so-called unemployed should consider becoming taxi drivers. They’d have plenty of work!

  7. Quote by ‘345’ regarding drinking and driving….

    Now live with it, I DO.

    I’d love to see you say that to the friends and relatives of people killed by drunk drivers over the past ten years on Cayman roads…..

  8. 345, not quite sure what you mean – you been drinking, and keeping it real, again?

    Small island, yes. Lots of cars, I suppose there are more than a lot of islands of a similar size. Lots of liquor? it is available, that is all that is relevant. Why should there be accidents? the traffic density is nowhere near that of a large American/European city.

    Race card? what planet you on? Drink driving tends to affect all ‘races’. Black, white, rich, poor, male, female – they all drive drunk, they all get hit by drunks.

    As for taxi drivers, I agree it is an embarrassing situation, but until there is government intervention, nothing will change – and it is the voters who are doing the taxi driving.

    One last thing 345, if you left the USA partly due to the drink drive thing, why not try one of the ‘dry’ middle-eastern gulf states?

  9. I confess to being jaded and I truly hope that after the RCIP charges 44 with DUI that they didn’t back off as to not make the arrest totals too high for the public comfort.

  10. It is so sad that for too many here (including many coming from different countries) drinking is a hobby, a sport and a cure. Forget about the holiday season. It is a daily occurence. I supposse other people meet friends over a coffe. Here is about drinking and getting drunk and telling friends about it Monday to Sunday and posting the pictures on Facebook. Then comes the driving. That the Taxi fares may be out of control is not a good excuse to risk killing someone. Our culture is one of alcohol excesses. Just imagine if half of the same effort to go drinking is put on kindness or something more productive, how different our society would be. Cheers to that!!

  11. I think a more reliable public transportation system could help alleviate these instances of drunk driving. Fact of the matter is, busses don’t run that often especially to the eastern districts, worse after dark. Perhaps this is something government could look into in addition to these extortionate taxi fares. A more reliable buss system could perhaps alleviate heavy traffic in the mornings as well since I’m sure more people would utilize it.

  12. Why doesn’t the Compass (or other media outlets) ever name those that are arrested and charged with DUI? You do it for other crimes. It’s not secret it’s a matter of public record. It would be an added deterrent if you did that.

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