Speed cameras approved in law
A new type of traffic enforcement-monitoring device is being considered for use in Grand Cayman as part of the closed-circuit television camera project build out, the Caymanian Compass has learned.
If government project planners can find the money for phase two of the CCTV public surveillance project, it will include what are known as “red light cameras”.
These are devices that automatically take pictures of vehicles that enter an intersection on a red light and can issue tickets automatically based on the registered licence plate that is photographed or recorded.
The proposed red light cameras, which presumably would be used only at the handful of stoplights around Grand Cayman, are a proposed addition to the CCTV phase two build out.
The government had already made plans to put in additional CCTV cameras as well as install new “speed cameras” or traffic enforcement cameras.
However, the speed cameras were not legal under the previous versions of the Cayman Islands Traffic Law.
Revisions that took effect earlier this year now allow for the traffic enforcement cameras and for the computerised issuance of traffic citations.
“Now we just need to buy the ‘brain’ for it and buy the cameras,” said Eric Bush, chief officer of the government’s Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs, which has oversight responsibility for security and public safety.
The idea for the speed cameras, which can either be fixed or mobile, depending on how the system is designed, is to use them to automatically issue speeding citations working with the existing licence database maintained by the Cayman Islands Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing.
“The same system could also be used for fines for not paying your licence tag on time, or if your insurance has lapsed,” said Wesley Howell with the Portfolio of Internal and External Affairs.
“It could e-mail the ticket to you, tweet it to you,” Mr. Bush added.
The proposed red light cameras would do the same, but they would only be mounted at red light intersections, Mr. Howell said. Both types of cameras would likely have to operate from separate “pods” than where the CCTV system’s existing fixed, pan-tilt-zoom and automated number plate readers are located. “Areas where there’s high rates of speed, high rates of accidents, that’s a good place for a fixed camera,” Mr. Howell said. “But once people learn where the cameras are, they tend to start slowing down.
The other option is using mobile trailers or attached to the police cars.”
The police service already has mobile trailers that show the speeds of drivers passing by and to which speed cameras may be affixed.
The new cameras are likely to increase the costs of the CCTV system being used in Grand Cayman and which has also been planned for installation in Cayman Brac.
The original installation of 243 cameras in phase one of the project cost around $2.25 million. The initial master plan for the CCTV build out did not include the use of red light cameras.
The total cost of the project is estimated in the range of $5 million to $6 million, Mr. Bush said.
Given the government’s financial situation, Mr. Bush admitted that funding for the project may not be easy to come by in the short-term.
“We haven’t asked for [the money] yet,” he said.