The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service has quadrupled the number of speeding tickets its officers have written during the first five months of this year when compared to the department’s ticketing output for 2017.
Between January and May, RCIPS officers wrote an average of 223 speeding citations per month, compared to last year when officers wrote just 54 speeding tickets per month.
The police service has already nearly doubled the number of speeding citations written by officers for all of 2017 in just the first five months of this year. Through May 31, the RCIPS issued 1,117 speeding citations. During all of 2017, the department wrote just 647 such tickets.
The massive increase in speeding tickets comes at a time when Cayman has seen a significant number of fatal car accidents. Between Feb. 15 and May 30, a total of six people have died in collisions on local roadways.
Two of those crashes involved pedestrians being struck by vehicles in lanes of traffic: one on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway bridge near the Kimpton Seafire Resort on April 12; and another on May 28 along Shamrock Road in Savannah. Of the other fatalities, two were single-vehicle crashes occurring in North Side and East End and two were two-vehicle accidents in George Town and Cayman Brac.
“We continue to see far too many people travelling at excessive speeds on our roads, which makes a tragedy that much more likely,” said RCIPS Inspector Ian Yearwood.
A substantial increase in roadblocks and rush-hour traffic checks has already been noted across Grand Cayman, but the police plan for 2018 is to increase that further.
A three-year policing management plan released for 2018-2020 calls for a “20 percent increase in traffic enforcement over 2017” and for at least one major traffic enforcement operation to be conducted per month.
As far as speeding citations go, the RCIPS has already gone well over the 20 percent target.
In addition to the speeding tickets, RCIPS officers also issued 171 tickets for illegal window tint and 96 tickets for using a mobile phone while operating a vehicle.
The mobile phone citations for the month of May 2018 are more than all the citations for that offense police ticketed during the second quarter (April-June) of 2017. Thirty-eight people were ticketed for drunken driving during May as well.
Revamped traffic unit
Citations for traffic offenses like speeding tickets saw a sharp decline when RCIPS commanders downsized the former Traffic Management Unit in 2010-2011 to put more police officers in crime-fighting roles. The crime numbers came down, but so did the traffic tickets.
By 2014, tickets for speeding had dropped to 659 for the year. In 2007, RCIPS officers wrote more than 5,700 speeding tickets, averaging about 475 tickets per month.
Annual arrests for things like drunk driving or other ticketable traffic offenses also fell steadily over the same period, RCIPS stats show.
Last year, the former traffic management unit was revamped as the Traffic and Roads Policing Unit with an inspector put in charge of about a dozen officers focused solely on traffic safety.