On Grand Cayman roads, it’s not just about wearing your seatbelt and driving the speed limit any more.
Late last week, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service in partnership with the Department of Vehicle and Drivers Licensing office began road side checks of vehicles looking not only for traffic violations, but vehicle safety issues as well.
Vehicle licensing department Assistant Manager Courtney Myles said the agency operated similar checkpoints a few years ago seeking to crack down on heavy trucks that disobeyed road safety requirements.
Mr. Myles said the road side check points will be popping up all around the Island in the next two weeks, during all times of the day and night.
On Friday, along Linford Pierson Highway, police and drivers licensing inspectors had already found a few cars that needed to be taken to the inspection pit.
“Our examiners are out there along with RCIPS, if there’s anything that concerns us, we can take a vehicle back for inspection, ” Mr. Myles said. “If you look at the red Honda there, you can’t read the licence plate because it has been covered with film. Also, the wheels are so cambered that the vehicle is riding improperly.”
One issue police were focusing on Friday morning was excessive tint on windscreens.
“If there’s not enough transparency of light going into the vehicles, we can remove the tint from the car right here,” Mr. Myles said. “We use portable trash bins to dispose of it so it doesn’t litter the side of the road.”
In general, inspectors are looking at things like window tinting, tyres, bodywork; as well as the normal inspection sticker, licence tags and stand police checks during a traffic stop.
Traffic along Linford Pierson Friday morning got a bit congested as vehicles were pulled over and other motorists ‘rubber-necked’ to see what was going on.
“There will be some disruption to travel as a result of the checks, but we would ask the many law abiding motorists to remember that these road checks are all about making the roads of the Cayman Islands safer for them,” said RCIPS Superintendent Adrian Seales.
Although fatal collisions have declined on Grand Cayman over the past two years, Mr. Seales said there are still too many car accidents occurring.
“An average of 30 road crashes are reported every week in Cayman - for a country of this size that is an outrageous figure,” he said. “Too many people are being killed and injured through dangerous driving, drink driving and the use of unroadworthy or unlicensed vehicles which are often uninsured.
“In addition, we are all acutely aware that some vehicles in the Cayman Islands are used for criminal activity such as the transportation of drugs/firearms or as getaway cars following criminal incidents. All too often vehicle windows are tinted and licence plates are obscured to intentionally hinder police investigations or in an attempt to prevent vehicles being identified in CCTV images.”
Starting today, individuals who are stopped with tinted windows in their cars at the police roadchecks will be given tickets and even arrested if police discover anything illegal in the vehicles.