Traffic police are promising a clampdown on drunk driving as the Christmas party season approaches.
Extra officers and special constables have been seconded to the traffic unit and roadblocks are planned throughout Christmas and New Year.
Code named Operation Azurite, the clampdown will see police out in force throughout the night.
Inspector Ian Yearwood, head of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service traffic department, urged motorists not to risk their lives or their licenses over the holiday.
He said there had already been 21 arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol in the first two weeks of December. Several of those gave blood-alcohol readings of more than double the legal limit.
While the campaign is primarily focused on drunk driving, he said motorists with illegal tints, unlicensed or uninsured vehicles also risked being caught and charged.
He said, “Usually Christmastime is a festive time for people. You have office parties and people are drinking a bit more than usual throughout December. Our campaign targets those drink drivers in an effort to reduce the number of collisions.”
There are an average of 10 collisions every day on Cayman’s roads, and Mr. Yearwood believes many of those can be linked to drunk driving.
He said 339 people have been arrested for DUI this year – an average of approximately one per day.
He appealed to anyone planning on drinking over the holidays to leave their vehicles at home.
“If you know you are going to drink, please find an alternative mode of transportation,” he said.
“It is not worth the risk. At the minimum, you will suffer the loss of your driving license for a year. In the worst case, you could be involved in a collision that results in injury or loss of life to you or someone else.”
He said the private and nonprofit sectors were doing their best to help the situation. The National Drug Council has collaborated with the police on a campaign to encourage people to use designated drivers and will operate the Purple Ribbon Bus Service until 4 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, offering free rides to revelers throughout the night.
Mr. Yearwood also commended a growing number of businesses that he said were providing transport for their employees after office parties.
“This kind of corporate responsibility is something we definitely want to encourage,” he added.