Despite Cayman’s roads being practically deserted during lockdown last year, police issued 3,999 speeding tickets in 2020 – a 30% increase on the year before.
As a result of concerns about speeding in Cayman, the National Security Council is expected to discuss the possibility of installing speed cameras as part of a national road safety strategy, Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne said Wednesday.
The fastest speed recorded by police last year was clocked in June, at 96 miles per hour in West Bay, according to the latest crime and traffic statistics report released by police. Traffic officers issued 67 tickets in instances where the recorded speed was 70 mph or faster.
Byrne, speaking at a media briefing where the 2020 crime and traffic statistics report was released, said the installation of speed cameras on local roads would need to involve a number of other government agencies.
“While it’s relatively easy to put in speed cameras, there is a huge amount of infrastructure, networking and back-office requirements. It is a really big project to bring in. I do think it will gather traction at the National Security Council as part of the national road safety strategy,” he said.
Motor vehicle accidents
The 2020 statistics report also showed that there were 2,166 vehicle crashes last year, an average of six a day. That number was almost 23% lower than in 2019. There were nine fatalities on Cayman’s roads last year.
Police said in the report, “The impact of COVID-19 restrictions, coupled with the decrease in population over the course of 2020 has contributed to the reduction in the number of [motor vehicle accidents] in all districts across the islands.”
Cases involving people driving under the influence of alcohol were also down, from 228 last year to 272 for 2019. Police said 27% of the DUI summonses issued in 2020 involved suspects who were at least double the legal blood/alcohol limit, and in four instances the blood/alcohol reading was greater than 300 mg of alcohol, three times the legal limit.
Police said 40% of all DUI offences last year involved a road traffic accident, while 22% involved multiple-vehicle accidents.
The vast majority of traffic accidents last year occurred in George Town, with 1,666. Bodden Town saw 223 crashes, and West Bay had 202. There were 22 in East End, 24 in North Side, 23 on Cayman Brac and two on Little Cayman.
Byrne said that while the number of accidents was reduced last year compared to 2019, data for this year is already showing an increase in collisions “because of the volume of traffic on the roads”. So far this year, three people have died in road accidents.
He said the RCIPS had strengthened its traffic unit, and was putting additional staff on during public holiday weekends.
He added police were trying to ensure that the ‘three Es’ – enforcement, engineering and education – were being deployed, but said his officers were seeing some very erratic behaviour by motorists on local roads, including by drivers of large trucks.
Byrne explained that police were working “constantly” with the National Roads Authority on speed-control measures, such as speed bumps and speed signs, as well as digital signage that displays how fast drivers are travelling.
“One of the points we try to make is that the maximum speed limit on the island is 50 miles an hour, but that is not a target. You may be able to only drive at 30 miles an hour in a 50-mile zone depending on the conditions, so for drivers, don’t assume that just because it says you can drive at 50 miles an hour, you should drive at 50.”
The report noted that the primary hotspot roads for speeding on Grand Cayman remain key arterial routes, including the Esterley Tibbetts Highway in George Town, South Sound Road, Shamrock Road, Hurley Merren Boulevard, Yacht Drive and West Bay Road in the West Bay district.
The main speeding hotspots on the Sister Islands were Dennis Foster Road, Gerrard Smith Avenue and Cotton Tree Bay Road on Cayman Brac, and Guy Bank Road on Little Cayman.
To read the full RCIPS Annual Crime and Traffic Statistical Report 2020, click here.