Cops back judge on DUI limit
(CNS): With more than a dozen fatalities on Cayman’s roads over the last five years where alcohol was a factor, the call by Justice Richard Williams to lower the legal alcohol limit and bring the jurisdiction in line with other countries has been welcomed by the police. In recent months the RCIPS has been clamping down on drinking and driving, which senior officers have frequently described as endemic. One glance at the traffic listings in the local Summary Court on any day gives an idea of the numbers of DUI charges being brought. On Wednesday alone close to 50% of the cases involved alcohol and police say action is required to make the roads safer.
Last Thursday during his sentencing ruling in a death by dangerous driving case Justice Williams pointed out that, while the UK had a legal limit of 80mgs per 100mls of blood and other European countries were as low as 50mgs, Cayman has one of the highest legal limits in the world with 100mgs of alcohol in 100mls of blood. The judge said he believed the time had come for Cayman to review the level at which the legal limit was set.
Scientific evidence points to the fact that a driver’s concentration begins to be effected with as little as 40mgs of alcohol in 100mls of blood. This means people are being permitted to drive legally on Cayman’s roads with alcohol levels double the point of where concentration begins to lapse.
The police told CNS that the RCIPS was fully supportive of the judge’s position and there was a need to lower the legal alcohol limit in an effort to try and make Cayman’s road safer.
"We fully support the position of Justice Williams on this matter,” an RCIPS spokesperson said Wednesday. “Any steps that can be taken to reduce road crash injuries and fatalities on our roads must be explored. We have said time and time again that drink driving is endemic on these Islands, and unfortunately, despite the numbers of deaths and injuries on our roads, people still continue to drink then get behind the wheel of their vehicles, endangering themselves and innocent road users. It's clear that we need much tighter legislation to help us make the roads of Cayman safer for all."
Although the judge’s call to lower the limit received public support on the CNS blog Monday, the major concern in numerous comments relating to a drinking and driving was the lack of an alternative to the private car. Bloggers said that drivers are getting in their cars after drinking alcohol because taxis are too expensive and there is no public transport at all after dark. Among the more than fifty comments posted in response to the story, bloggers called for a comprehensive review of public transport and the introduction of a regulated bus, taxi and ferry services.
See related story: Judge: DUI limit too high
Vote in CNS poll: What is the main cause of drinking and driving in the Cayman Islands?
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