Police announced that on Friday they will begin “Operation Winter Guardian,” their annual campaign to crack down on drunk driving and other traffic offenses.

The operation will entail high-visibility patrols and traffic stops around Cayman, along with a public awareness campaign including radio and television appearances.

“The large number of social events during the holiday season often results in more people driving under the influence, and more serious traffic collisions,” explained Royal Cayman Islands Police Service Acting Chief Inspector Everton Spence. “Our annual holiday safety campaign, together with the anti-drunk driving initiatives of our partners, helps to manage this increased activity and deter drunk driving and other traffic offenses.”

As in past years, the RCIPS is also partnering with the National Drug Council to facilitate their annual Designated Driver Campaign and New Year’s Eve Purple Ribbon Bus Service.

The Designated Driver Campaign, an initiative among local restaurants to provide any designated driver of a party with complimentary soft drinks throughout the evening, began on Dec. 1 and continues throughout the holiday season.

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The New Year’s Eve Purple Ribbon Bus Service is organized on an annual basis to provide regular, free bus service between West Bay and Bodden Town on New Year’s Eve from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. During those times, occasional service will also be provided to East End and North Side. The service will also be offered in Cayman Brac for the first time this year.

Mr. Spence said he hopes that the territory can have a repeat of last year, when no drunk-driving incidents were recorded on New Year’s Eve.

“Last New Year’s Eve, 2016, there were no DUIs recorded. This positive accomplishment comes in large part as a result of these campaigns, and we expect the positive results to continue this year,” he said. “Let’s continue to work together to prevent any tragedies on the road this holiday season.”

The RCIPS’s announcement of Operation Winter Guardian – which will run through Jan. 1 – comes on the heels of a recent spate of drunk-driving incidents in Cayman, including one on Saturday involving a driver whose blood-alcohol content was twice the legal limit.

That driver was observed speeding and swerving in a white van on West Bay Road around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday. Police arrested the driver after his blood-alcohol content tested at .218.

“Incidents this weekend continue to show a disregard that some motorists have for traffic laws, and the RCIPS remains concerned about the potential for injury in such cases,” the RCIPS stated on Monday.

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