Drunk drivers beware.
That’s the warning from Inspector Dwayne Jones, head of the Traffic and Roads Policing Unit, as police kicked off the annual holiday crackdown which will see officers hitting the streets in greater numbers to nab drunk drivers and traffic offenders.
“We understand the desire to celebrate and socialise, and we simply encourage the public to do so responsibly. If you will be consuming alcohol, then you must find an alternative to driving. If not, you will face the consequences,” Jones said, in a Royal Cayman Islands Police Service statement.
The police have started its holiday traffic-safety operations with intensified road enforcement that will continue throughout the holiday season and into the new year, according to the statement.
“As we enter the festive season, we know that the temptation to drink and drive increases. That’s why increased road enforcement is needed to deter drinking and driving and the serious accidents that can result,” Jones said.
A total of 11 DUI arrests have been made since the start of the month, according to the RCIPS. Police said DUI offences continue to be a major concern during the holiday season and a focus of the Christmas campaign, but officers are also targeting illegal tinting, speeding and people driving while disqualified.
Since the start of December, officers have issued 132 tickets for tint, 109 for speeding and 17 for expired registration. In addition, over that time, the police have issued 14 traffic offence reports, such as for no insurance, no certificate of roadworthiness, expired licences, or excessive speed, which require individuals to appear in court.
Police also arrested eight people for driving while disqualified or unqualified.
These totals, police said, are in addition to tickets and arrests made by shift officers during regular patrols.
According to 2018 crime statistics, DUIs have increased by almost 30% over 2017.
There was an overall 14% decrease in the total number of traffic collisions on the islands, but there was a 49% increase in overall traffic enforcement.
“Speeding enforcement contributed significantly to these numbers, with a 226% increase in speeding offences over 2017,” the crime stats report stated.
To this end, the Traffic and Roads Policing Unit has increased its traffic stops and high-visibility patrols, with the aim of reducing traffic collisions, cracking down on traffic offences, and reassuring the community through an increased police presence, police said.
“The purpose of the road safety campaign is not just about deterring unsafe behaviour on the road and targeting law breakers, but also ensuring we have good policing visibility to deter irresponsible driving during this festive period,” said Superintendent of Uniform Operations Robert Graham.
While the focus is heightened during the holidays, Graham said, bad driving practices and the enforcement of the law need to be addressed whatever time of year.
“But, the festive period brings with it additional issues and challenges. As such, please make arrangements in advance to ensure safe transportation to and from holiday festivities. I would ask all members of the public to work with the police and drive responsibly. By simply following the law, you can help to make the roads that much safer this holiday season,” he said.
The RCIPS will also be supporting the National Drug Council in its annual Designated Driver and New Year’s Eve Purple Ribbon Bus campaigns; the former, which began on 1 Dec., continues throughout the holiday season.
11 DUI arrests
132 tickets for tint
109 tickets for speeding
17 ticketed for expired registration
14 traffic offence reports
8 arrests for driving while disqualified or unqualified.