Students learn about safe driving from grandmother’s loss

Suzy Soto, whose grandson died in a motor vehicle accident, speaks to Cayman International School students about the dangers of unsafe driving.

A woman who lost a grandson in a road accident spoke to students at Cayman International School last week about road safety.

Suzy Soto, whose grandson Zak Quappe died after a 2013 road accident on South Church Street, shared the experience of her family’s loss with more than 120 students in Years 8 to 12 during the interactive road safety presentation on March 10.

“I want to save the youth of our islands,” Mrs. Soto said, explaining why she participated. “I want them to realize that one small choice, one mistake, can lead to tragedy. They won’t know what happened, but everyone they leave behind suffers.”

Charles Gilman of the Streetskill Committee and Government Information Service also spoke to the students about the importance of road safety, highlighting the dangers of drinking and driving, speeding, and driving while distracted – including cellphone use.

“To prevent teen fatalities, the most valuable thing we can do is to tell them about the realities of what happens if they drive irresponsibly,” Mr. Gilman said afterward. “We believe that this simple presentation has the potential to influence their decisions and one day prevent them from engaging in destructive behavior.”

To increase awareness of the dangers of drunk driving, the session provided an opportunity for youth to navigate an obstacle course while wearing Fatal Vision goggles, which distort a person’s sight in a manner that mimics the effects of alcohol.

Students also watched the documentary “Road Impact: Cayman Islands,” produced by Cayman 27 television station in partnership with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service.

The film features interviews with survivors and family members of people who lost their lives in traffic incidents, as well as interviews with medical professionals and first responders. That documentary can be viewed online at

The Streetskill road safety campaign was launched in 2006 by Cayman’s National Roads Authority, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, the Cayman Islands Road Safety Advisory Council and Government Information Services. It aims to educate motorists, particularly young ones, about safe driving habits with an objective of eliminating road deaths in the Cayman Islands.