Road fatalities triple compared to 2014

The driver was not seriously injured in this rollover on Dec. 19, 2015. Last year was one of the deadliest years ever on the country’s roadways - PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY

The number of road deaths tripled in 2015 compared to 2014, according to statistics released Thursday by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

Police reported 12 fatal road accidents in 2015.

Inspector Adrian Barnett, head of the RCIPS Traffic Management Unit, said a number of factors contributed to this “troubling statistic.”

“The fact is that drinking and driving, speeding and the general failure of drivers to pay attention to what they’re doing continue to be the main causes of fatal accidents,” he said.

In response to the rise in fatal road accidents last year, RCIPS reconfigured the Traffic Management Unit by providing officers for dedicated duty to the unit in order to increase traffic enforcement and assist with accident investigations.

“With these resources and targeted enforcement, we hope to see a positive change in this statistic a year from now, but we need the public to work with us to reach that result,” Mr. Barnett said.

Speeding offenses spiked to 1,181 citations in 2015, a 79 percent increase from 2014, when 658 speeding citations were issued. Police attributed the jump to increased enforcement.

Police attended 1,068 non-fatal traffic accidents last year, a slight decrease from 2014. However, police are not required to attend minor traffic accidents, as drivers involved in those may simply exchange insurance information. Police estimate there were approximately 2,230 minor traffic accidents last year.

The statistics reflect a 36 percent drop in DUI charges last year. However, some DUI cases from November and December are pending, so the number of charges may increase as those cases are processed.

Overall, the total number of traffic offenses in 2015 decreased slightly from 2014. Police recorded 5,358 traffic offenses in 2014 and 5,006 last year.