The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has seen close to double the number of vehicle accidents during its holiday season traffic crackdown than it recorded in the typical month during the rest of 2015.
Police Commissioner David Baines said Wednesday this occurred despite stepped up enforcement since Nov. 30, typically the start of the holiday period in Cayman, and despite a much higher than normal number of deadly crashes already in 2015.
A dozen people on Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac have died in various vehicle collisions since the start of the year.
“There have been more than enough deadly accidents this year,” Mr. Baines said
Since Nov. 30, the start of its “Operation Magpie” traffic crackdown, through Monday, Dec. 21, police have issued 150 citations for various traffic offenses.
There were 146 vehicle collisions during the same period, just fewer than seven per day.
“We had 69 accidents reported last week alone,” said Inspector Adrian Barnett. “These are mostly minor collisions in traffic, due to carelessness or inattention by motorists.”
Inspector Barnett acknowledged that holiday traffic in Cayman can be a bit more challenging to navigate with far more cars on the road. “But at the same time, 37 tickets for the misuse of a phone while driving and another 24 tickets for failing to wear seat belts demonstrate that people need to take more responsibility for their personal safety,” he said.
Additional traffic citations during the period included 30 people ticketed for speeding, another 24 ticketed for drunken driving and three arrested for dangerous driving.
Other traffic offenses cited included 29 people ticketed for having an expired coupon (vehicle registration), six people driving without insurance and one person driving while disqualified.
The increased police enforcement is expected to continue through the remainder of the holiday period, which includes New Year’s Day, Friday, Jan. 1, and the subsequent weekend.
“To those who complain that increased policing on the road is a nuisance at holiday time, imagine being the officer who has to be the one to inform a family of a tragic loss at Christmas, or even worse, being the family member at the receiving end of that tragic news,” Commissioner Baines said. “We are out there to prevent this, and we need people to do their part so we can finish this year with no more road tragedies.”