As the Cayman Compass reported last week, in the past month there have been about 150 vehicle collisions, including 69 in the seven-day period before Christmas. That monthly total is about twice the average for the other 11 months of the year, according to police. And those wrecks have been piling up, despite the increased presence of law enforcement during its annual holiday season traffic crackdown, called Operation Magpie – and with New Year’s revelry yet to come.
Police will remain out in full force on Cayman’s roads through Friday, Jan. 1 and the following weekend. Some of our readers may find themselves having roadside discussions with officers that they’d rather not, about things such as cell phones, seatbelts, vehicle registration or insurance. However, as Police Commissioner David Baines said, that’s far from the worst conversation one could be having with police.
“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.”
During the day, drivers would be wise to exhibit a greater-than-typical amount of courtesy and patience, and should check vehicular blind spots and rear-view mirrors even more carefully than usual. That applies double during the nighttime or if it happens to be raining.
If you feel you’ve perhaps had one eggnog too many – or suspect a loved one may be in a state of holiday cheer incompatible with operating a motor vehicle – do the right thing and call a taxi cab, obtain a designated driver, or make other transportation arrangements. (For New Year’s partygoers, the free Purple Ribbon Bus service will be in operation again this year.)
Usually it’s best to make those plans ahead of time, before alcohol impairment sets in, distorting the perception of one’s own mental conditions and physical abilities.
Even if you don’t realize you’re too intoxicated to drive, the arresting officer surely will. That being said, we are steadfast proponents of the concepts of self-reliance and personal responsibility. Like Commissioner Baines, we are far less concerned about the legal fates of drivers who exercise bad judgment, than we are about potential ramifications that one person’s bad decision may have on other people’s lives.
To drive drunk because it is more convenient than identifying a sober driver, or remaining sober yourself, is a base and selfish act of disregard for the well-being of the people you are endangering and the individuals who care about them.
That’s in direct opposition to the spirit of the holidays. During these final days of Christmas and New Year’s joy, let’s be smart and work together to keep Cayman’s roads friendly and safe.