Online poll Most use seat belts, some question reach of ‘nanny state’

This week’s poll sought to make clear the safety habits of local drivers, drawing a healthy response, itself dominated by an even healthier attitude toward the use of seat belts.

The survey indicates an overwhelming number of voters consistently use seat belts, although not always in the rear of the car, while only a few, 5.7 percent of respondents, ignore legal requirements to use them.

One comment accused pollsters of being “the new secret police” by asking who uses belts.

Of the 521 votes registered, more than three-quarters, 410, 78.7 percent, say they “abide consistently” by the law requiring seat belts.

Ten people left comments, although three thought the questioned flawed and another simply said “yes.”

Treading a line between amusement and dismay, one commentator observed that “Cayman is the only place I’ve seen a young mother driving, holding her baby.”

Another said public transport rarely employs seat belts: “I think there should be some sort of restraints on the public buses.”

A related observation followed regarding pickup trucks: “I have seen many violations by trucks with unsecured passengers in the back, even during campaign-rally motorcades”.

Sensible observations came from at least three people, citing simple safety concerns and long-standing habits.

“My children have heard ‘clunk, click every trip’ so many times that it is now automatic for everyone in the car to put their seat belts on,” one said. “They have also heard me say ‘dying in a car because you don’t have a seat belt on is a VERY silly way to die.’”

Undeniably correct, the remark followed a similar proposition that “I buckle-up not only because it’s a law, [but also] because I believe in safety. It saves lives.”

Two others qualified their safety concerns, addressing the use of rear-seat belts: “I did it before it was law. I don’t insist that rear passengers put theirs on.”

Ranking a distant second in the survey came the 64 votes, 12.3 percent of the total, that said they “sometimes, but not always” abided by the law.

One commentator offered a reasonable, if exceptional, case for a “sometimes” vote: “I do a lot of short, slow drives as a truck driver/delivery person – so I don’t [belt up] then. But if we are doing any haul of length and above 20 mph, yes, before [moving] out of the carpark, it’s done.”

Another asked about children: “What is being done to offenders who don’t properly secure their children?”

The last respondent in the category also qualified the consistent use of front-seat belts with a lesser urgency regarding rear-seat belts: “I always wear when in the front. Not when I am in the back. Does the law state that they have to be worn in the back, too?”

The answer is, no, the use of rear-seat belts is not required. The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service says, “We encourage people in the back seat to use them, but it’s not the law.”

However, the police spokeswoman continued, “Children are required to be restrained wherever they are in the car,” meaning drivers bear some responsibility for use of rear-seat belts.

Third place went to the 30 votes and 5.7 percent, which mostly ignored “such restrictive and unnecessary ‘nanny state’ regulations.”

The single comment in the category, however, qualifies as the most serious in the entire survey: “I’ve survived two serious collisions where the (belted) driver was killed. I’ll take my chances and fake it for the nanny state,” the voter wrote, although, less defensibly, concluding by calling police “cash-hungry storm troops.”

Fourth place went to the 11 voters, 2.1 percent of the total, who addressed the choice regarding rear-seat belts, repeating prior concerns about their use.

Finally, the fifth-place “other” category, with only six votes, 1.2 percent of the total, drew one remark sure to spark debate.

“Seat belt laws [should be] mandatory, once the speed limit start[s] to [move] over 55 mph. Cayman’s speed limits are 30 mph and 25 mph, nothing to make a big thing about,” wrote the voter, suggesting seat belts were of limited value, perhaps even unnecessary.

Next week’s poll question:

The National Housing Development Trust hit heavy going last week in the Public Accounts Committee. Was it justified?

Yes. The system is broken (explain)

No. (explain)

Perhaps. (explain)

The civil service should run the trust.


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  1. Idiots don’t wear seatbelts, simple as. With the standard of driving here, you have to be foolish, as no matter how good you are at driving, there’s always someone around who looks like they have never controlled a vehicle before.

    As for the 25/30 no big deal. Err, assuming both cars are going at the limit, without braking, that is a 50mph or 60mph crash – that is plenty enough to mash your face through a windscreen or two.

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