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Recent Crashes Reflect Latest Statistics

Recent Crashes Reflect Latest Statistics

GEORGE TOWN, Grand Cayman (CNS) -- Two major crashes in the last two days, one where a fire rescue truck ploughed into a light pole and hit a cyclist and the other where a car came off the road and ended up on the ironshore in East End, are examples of the realities underpinning the recently released annual traffic statistics from the RCIPS.

In 2016 six people were killed on the road, and although that was down 50% compared with the dozen lives lost in 2015, the number of non-fatal crashes increased. There were 1,185 reported collisions on local roads last year, a 7% increase on 2015 and an undeniably high figure for a small jurisdiction.

This means that police and other emergency services are dealing with an average of more than three smashes every day of the year. October was the worst month last year, with 111 road accidents. But the crashes are not surprising given that traffic infractions also increased during 2016, with police handing out a whopping 6,463 tickets of one kind or another to rogue drivers, a 26% increase on bad driving compared to last year.

With a 42% increase in the number of drivers ticketed for speeding, that is clearly one of the main causes of collisions. Police nabbed 1,689 people for going over the speed limit and 178 drivers were caught drunk behind the wheel, an increase of 12% on the year before and another cause of death on the roads.

Another major issue is seat-belts. The failure to wear one means that when drivers or passengers are involved in a crash, if the victim is lucky enough to survive the injuries will be far more severe. Even though seat-belts save lives, there was a massive increase in the amount of people caught by police not wearing one.

Last year 683 people were ticketed and fined $100, more than double the number in 2015. Another killer — using a mobile phone behind the wheel — was also up, with 745 drivers fined, a 10% increase on the year before. Police also caught a 1,253 unlicensed or disqualified drivers on the road, a 49% increase on the number of drivers using their vehicles without a licence in 2015.

The statistics could reflect better enforcement, however, rather than just bad driving, as the RCIPS reformed the traffic unit after 12 people were killed in 2015, causing understandable public alarm.

Police said a joint effort between them and the community, increased traffic enforcement, and road safety campaigns by community organisations and the media helped to raise awareness and prevent drunk driving, especially during the holiday period.

“The RCIPS plans to continue to expand the Traffic Management Unit this year with more frontline officers, but sustainable safety on the roads requires efforts in education and engineering, as well as enforcement, and we will be working closely with the NRA and DVDL on initiatives that improve road safety overall in addition to our enforcement of regulations and laws,” the police said as they released the statistics last month.