Death by careless driving added to road offences
(CNS): After the new traffic law comes into effect in ten day’s time on 21 September, causing death by ‘careless’ driving has been added to the list of offences, which could see drivers jailed for killing other road users or pedestrians in a much wider range of circumstances than the previous law allowed. Section 79 introduces the offence of causing death by careless driving or inconsiderate driving, which will be an arrestable offence, meaning that the driver can be arrested without warrant. The law carries a term of imprisonment for up to seven years and a fine of $10,000 as well as disqualification from driving. The law also increases a number of fines for various road traffic offences, as requested by the RCIPS.
Director of Driver and Vehicle Licensing David Dixon explained how the new offence differed from the existing charge of causing death by dangerous driving.
“Dangerous driving refers to a driver that caused a road death due to high speed and the manner of road driving without taking into consideration the conditions on the road and traffic, “ he said. “Death by careless driving or inconsiderate driving may happen in a low speed situation, for example when using a cell phone.”
He noted that inconsiderate driving has also been added to the careless driving, which could include when someone drives with their hazard lights on without having an emergency, or driving in a puddle and splashing a pedestrian, or with their headlights on bright. “These changes were recommendations made by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service to address this anomaly in the current Traffic Law,” he noted.
A number of fines have also been increased, such as failing to comply with a stop signal, which was $20 and is now $100. Parking 45 feet from a pedestrian crossing attracted a fine of $25, which has risen to $100. The fine for failing to comply with a police signal in cases where they are directing traffic, or failing to give way to a police or another emergency vehicle, such as an ambulance, was $20. That has gone up to $200.
Able bodied drivers who park in a disabled parking space can now expect to receive a ticket and pay a fine of $100. The other new fine is for the improper use of a cell phone while operating a vehicle, which attracts a fine of $150.
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