Forget those childish fears of “things that go bump in the night.” For adults, what’s really scary are the “things that go bump into your car.”
That is why we are contributing our editorial megaphone to amplify the National Roads Authority’s call to deputize the Cayman Islands population as an unofficial “pothole patrol” to report dangerous or deteriorating roadway conditions.
We all complain about issues such as flooding, damaged signs and missing (or misleading) road marks – it’s a staple of conversation at the office water cooler – but it’s imperative that people direct those complaints to people who can actually do something about it.
Enter the NRA’s “Safer Roads Start With You” campaign, which the authority announced in a full-page advertisement in Friday’s Cayman Compass.
The NRA is seeking assistance in identifying road hazards and has established a “customer complaint hotline” to make it easy to report them.
You just call 525-1251 or 946-7780 (or email [email protected]) to report common safety issues such as:
- Overgrown vegetation that blocks a clear view of road signage, or encroaches upon roadways
- Standing water or flooding on public roadways caused by poor drainage
- Missing or damaged signs or road markings
- Potholes and other damage to road
- Spills or obstructions on the public roadway
- Broken or malfunctioning traffic signals
- Excessive noise or vibration caused by blasting of explosives
- Bad or unsafe driving in NRA vehicles
- or other safety concerns.
The Compass fully supports this effort to “crowdsource” the identification of road safety hazards. Government is in charge of maintaining safe roadways, but it cannot be everywhere, all the time, to spot needed fixes (nor would we want it to be).
It seems like a worthwhile exchange of services. Road users act as the NRA’s “eyes and ears,” and the NRA takes action with shovels, backhoes and chainsaws.
We encourage every driver and passenger to participate by calling the hotline, or by taking photos of roadway hazards and emailing them to the roads authority. (If you spot a condition that is especially egregious, feel free to copy in the Compass at [email protected] We can assist with getting the word out, too … and monitoring the situation until it is addressed.)
Making sure roads are in good repair, with traffic directives clearly marked, is more than a question of convenience – it can be a matter of life and death. Over the years, Grand Cayman has witnessed an alarming number of traffic accidents for a population of our size (and a general speed limit of modest velocity).
The “driving conditions” of the roads themselves, of course, are only one half of the safety equation. The other half is the “driver conditions” – how motorists behave when they’re on the road.
The first is the responsibility of the NRA. The second is the responsibility of police.
Individually, each of us is responsible for not driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, only driving vehicles that are properly licensed and inspected, and driving without electronic distractions. Put the vehicle in “park” before taking calls and sending text messages. And — yes — find a parking space first.
This is especially important as we head into the winter season – a traditional time of merriment, busier than usual schedules and liberal amounts of holiday “cheer.”
The roads authority has demonstrated its commitment to help make Cayman a safer place for motorists, passengers and pedestrians. Let us all do our part.