New system to detect uninsured drivers

| 29/06/2018 | 63 Comments
Cayman News Service

New Cayman Islands licence plates

(CNS): Drivers who allow their motor insurance to lapse while still using their vehicles on the roads will soon be detected through the new electronic vehicle registration (EVR) system and a change in the traffic law that will allow insurance companies to update the Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing database in real-time. Joey Hew, the minister with responsibility for DVDL, told the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday night, as he presented a significant raft of amendments to the current traffic law, that this would allow the government to know who was driving illegally.

A change to the legislation that mandates insurance for vehicles will allow the director at DVDL to update the vehicle database with direct information from insurance companies. Hew said that some people were insuring their vehicles and then registering them but were letting the insurance lapse, which he described as a dangerous practice that government should not tolerate.

“To close this loophole, the amendment allows the director to enter into direct agreements with insurance companies to electronically update the database through the EVR,” he said. “Once operational, owners can be notified electronically and government can also be informed of persons driving illegally, that is without insurance.” The minister added that it was another advantage to the new electronic registration system.

Given that hundreds of crashes, from minor collisions to major smashes, are reported to the police every month, the need for all drivers to  be insured remains an important factor. There were 2,725 collisions in 2017, including 30 that caused serious injury. Police also arrested 185 people last year for driving without insurance. Government is now hoping that its electronic registration system and the coordinated electronic database will give the authorities a much better idea of which cars on Cayman’s roads are safe and legal and which are not, which will improve traffic enforcement.

The amendment to the traffic law, which was presented in the LA very late Wednesday evening, covers a wide range of road user issues, including the problems of vehicles no longer on the road and the issue of registration termination. Hew announced an amnesty under the new law that will allow people to turn in plates from cars that are no longer on the road. He said that vehicles not formally terminated can accrue registration fees for three years, and it appears that the $25 fee to turn in plates has been a barrier to people cancelling the registration.

Hew said cars had remained on the register with unpaid fees piling up that have never been paid. But drivers will now be able to turn in plates free of charge. He said the six month amnesty after the law comes into effect would allow people to strike vehicles which are not on the road anymore from the formal register and reset the clock if they managed to get the vehicle roadworthy again.

“In many cases, a vehicle is taken off the road for repairs, and over time the cost to renew [the registration] becomes prohibitive, and this only snowballs out of control and the user is left with a car that becomes derelict,” he said, adding that government would be waiving all the accrued fees for submitting plates for cars now off the road and the amnesty will last until the end of the year.

Speaking about the new EVR system, Hew said that once the antennas are operational, the department will be able to know when a car is on the road whether or not it is taxed.

The minister also announced that the ban on Mini Mokes, an iconic vehicle that has been redesigned, will be lifted as, despite having no sides, the director of DVDL is satisfied that the new designs can be licensed on Cayman roads.

Another important change to the law will allow the police to seize motorcycles from rogue drivers. The attorney general noted recent problems the police had encountered from gangs of bikers and the dangers some of them were posing riding erratically on, in some cases, illegal bikes. The commissioner had asked for changes to the law to give his officers the necessary powers to deal with that.

See the legislation in the CNS Library and the presentation of the new legislation below starting at 1:07:05

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Category: Laws, Politics

Comments (63)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Driving without insurance is inexcusable. Anything done to combat this irresponsible and dangerous behavior has to be a step in the right direction.

  2. Anonymous says:

    RFID can be blocked, thwarted, disabled. Easy to do if you are tech savvy. This idea will soon be religated to the CIG wasted money pit.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How is the fingerprint system coming along???????????????

  4. here's a thought.... says:

    Here’s another bright suggestion. Why doesn’t DVDL advise drivers a month in advance that their registration is due to be renewed; that their vehicle is due to be inspected; that their driver’s licence is due to be renewed?????? That would make life a whole lot better for those who want to follow the law.

    • Anonymous says:

      They can barely handle a normal day workload, please don’t add anything to complicate things.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because you really should be able to keep track of that yourself.

    • Anonymous says:

      They used to send a reminder in the post, not sure when it stopped.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you need a reminder, why don’t you set a calendar alert for your phone? The expiration dates for your DL and coupon should be easily accessible (one is printed on your drivers license and the other on the sticker of your windshield)

    • Rodney A. Barnett says:

      A good idea for sure. The question is what is the status of the DVDL computer system? Is it so outdated that more applications cannot be run to provide the convenience of alerting drivers of the key dates indicated in the comment above?

      If not, why cant the department introduce such applications to their system? Clearly I am not privi to the DVDL’s computer system, but I do happen to know that it would not cost millions to upgrade the system to be user friendly as well as customer friendly in today’s modern IT world.

      The thought of RFID license plates is nice, but the truth is Police and other officials should be able to lookup plates (tags) via their computers. Computer security and access systems are commonly used these days, and the DVDL needs to get on the bandwagon.

      FINALLY, stepping backward a bit — perhaps Cayman should consider the super sticky annual tags that Florida applies (as do many other states) to all of their plates to indicate the year of validity. That way everyone knows at a glance if a license is valid. Sometimes old fashioned technolocy is best!

  5. Anonymous says:

    “The minister added that it [linking insurance status to driving status] was another advantage to the new electronic registration system.” But, the Minister failed to ad, we didn’t need an expensive new system to accomplish this. All that was needed was an entry in a database (previously not done because apparently it needed a change in Law, according to the article, not a change in license plate technology) and some way to identify cars. Like stopping them (police roads unit) or reading the number on the license plate (which a CCTV system could do, if we had paid lots of money to have one of them already … oh, wait, we did). Now we have to pay extra for plates with chips in them and then way extra for the antennas to pick up the chips (which have a shorter range than cameras) when all we needed to do is run the CCT video through number recognition software and the job’s done. (Facebook will pick your face out of a billion pictures, reading the number of a license plate is easy, provided you have a DVDL & Police unit making sure obscured, degraded, etc., plates are not in use, as part of their other duties (so no significant extra cost).) – As post hoc justifications go, Mr. Minister, this one just made you sound stupid. But then the whole thing is a farcical waste of money.

    PS> How much are these new license plate readers going to cost when installed all along the roads? Or is it still the plan that only the police will have them so they’ll only be used when the police stop you. Kind of like the police officer reading your license plate and querying the database anyway? Just way more expensive.

  6. Anonymous says:

    If you cannot afford the insurance you cannot afford to drive.

  7. Anonymous says:

    If you use one of those thick tinted plate covers or, better yet, just stick to the old licence plates, then you should be fine. Apparently no one seems to have a problem with old plates or thick tinted plate covers.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Well said 8:03PM, they get their big salaries every month and don’t have a clue that a majority of Caymanians are barely staying alive on their meager salaries.

    Instead of making laws, why not do something about the HIGH COST of living in the Cayman Islands!!

    • Anonymous says:

      So what exactly would you suggest be done?

    • Anonymous says:

      All they see themselves as are lawmakers, not leaders.

      Have a look at how many new laws have been enacted on this island over the past 4 years and you will be shocked. Laws aren’t the issue but there is usually no enforcement of any of it so it just adds to the regulatory burden, paperwork and bureaucracy.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Blue spots of the future will record the RFIDs of vehicles stationary in the zone and issue automatic tickets to offenders. Lots of applications for this tech.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Those that drive without insurance should be jailed, have their cars seized and sold and face a long long ban. These selfish evil people risk destroying families and lives by their criminality.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This was always what the government intended to do with this system.

    • Anonymous says:

      Good. Driving without insurance is the selfish act of an utter scumbag.

      • Anonymous says:

        The comment was about the government being open and honest about their intentions and not about supporting any illegal activity. Please take your medication at least two hours before you comment.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Forgetting for a moment that you shouldnt be able to pass the annual vehicle relicense inspection without valid proof of insurance – actually having a traffic department with operational experience pulling vehicles over would improve compliance. No perceptions or habits will change without a bigger commitment of personnel enforcing all of our laws, all of the time. Every couple miles we should see a police car…we’re not even close to that yet.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Why in the world would government want to amend the Law in order to reintroduce a vehicle like the Mini Moke, which had an awful road safety record when it used to be allowed in Cayman decades ago (1970s-80s)? Would a new accident record be achieved in 2018 onwards, especially with what appears to be an ever-increasing number of drivers on the roads practising worse than poor driving habits as they blatantly disregard all rules of the road and show little or no concern for other drivers and/or pedestrians?

    Perhaps the Honourable Minister might be too young to know or remember anything about
    the era of the Mini Moke – but that cannot be an excuse for some of his older colleagues!

    Hopefully, the public is not supposed to guess who may have lobbied and convinced government to bring back the Mini Moke because it would be such a cool tropical fun way for residents and visitors to traverse the acres and acres of mushrooming development – plus the carrot of government theoretically getting some revenue from customs duties (unless this revenue would be reduced because concessions are granted).

    Now if government were to amend the Law to reduce the numbers and types of vehicles coming in, that would be a better idea.

  14. SSM345 says:

    So when they said this system was not to be used by 3rd parties what did they mean exactly?

  15. Anonymous says:

    So how are they going to use this information? After a person has an accident its too late. Also what about the people who slip the garages a few dollars to pass a vehicle inspection. Does any one check these private shops? Lots of junk cars on the road.

  16. Say it like it is says:

    Why is it that after what must be almost 3 years since the new plate system was introduced, some 30 t0 40% of drivers are still using old plates. As for insurance the DVDL can’t cope with their current workload, I forecast we will be lucky to see it in operation in two years at the earliest, and that’s assuming the police have their equipment in place by then.
    One other comment, my son-in-law visiting several years ago, who had obtained a Cayman driving licence when he used to work her more than a decade ago, was asked to pay all back fees for his old Cayman licence in order to drive here whilst on holiday. Is that nonsensical rule still in place?

    CNS: I’ve sent this question to Auntie. But this situation may be covered by this answer if a visitor is using a private vehicle.

    • Anonymous says:

      Usually if you leave a country you have to surrender your driving licence, not many people do, but its the law…I have no idea what Cayman requires.Sounds like he was was trying to renew his Cayman licence rather than applying for a visitors permit for a rental car, (you don’t need anything for borrowing a car). He wouldn’t have had any issues if he presented his current XXXX country driving license.

      • Anonymous says:

        No, even if you show your foreign license one you’re in their system they ask you for ‘back fees’. Doesn’t matter that you weren’t here to use (need to keep up to date) the license and, as you say, no one knows of any requirement to tell DVDL that you’re leaving the country.

    • Anonymous says:

      New RFID plates aren’t even close to being printed in their entirety. Mine was supposed to be ready “in a few weeks” over a year ago. Something is definitely broken with this rollout.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I thought a car had to be insured before it could be licensed, what am I missing? Or are we talking about the same unlicensed vehicles which are also uninsured?

    • Anonymous says:

      No people must have insurance to register a car but they let the insurance lapse after they register. That is the issue.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Now you can see who the government really works for. Here’s a clue, it’s not the citizens.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Another utopian idea.

    Fix the Dump, education, pollution and crime first.

    Societal regression starts when society accepts totalitarian control over their lives.

    By the way,
    site (Vehicle Licensing) was last Updated: 2008-06-23. Not a word about insurance requirement.

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you purchasing from a private individual a vehicle already registered in the Cayman Islands? If so, here are a few points to take into consideration.

      a. If you are a new resident on island and you are the holder of a valid full drivers licence from a Contracting State, you are allowed to drive for a period of three (3) months. Within that three (3) month period you may obtain a local licence by having a “Geneva Transfer” done after first passing a written examination. If you are outside the three (3) month period, you must pass both the written and road examinations.

      b. Ensure that the individual with whom you are dealing with (if not a reputable company) is in fact the owner of the vehicle you intend to purchase (or an authorized individual, who is acting on the owner’s behalf). Protect yourself! Ask to see the Certificate of Registration/log book.

      c. Before attempting to transfer the vehicle, ensure that you have arranged automobile insurance. During the transfer process, you will be required to show proof of insurance, either a cover note, certificate of insurance or the actual policy.

      d. In order to licence a vehicle you must first have it insured and inspected for road use.

      Vehicle Registration/Licence

      Whether you are licensing your vehicle for the first time or renewing, the process is much the same and is fairly straight forward. The same documents that were required during the inspection process will also be used to complete the licensing process.

      In the case of a renewal, refer to your Certificate of Vehicle Licence and Roadworthiness (log book); print and sign your name on the lines provided (first page). Present to a Licensing Officer along with your –>–>–>valid motor insurance (Cover Note or Policy)<–<–<– and your Certificate of Road Worthiness, which was issued to you by the vehicle inspection team.

      Don't just go by the pictures… Learn to read.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh.. and here also..

      In the event that your vehicle does not meet all safety requirements set out in the law, you will be issued a Certificate of Defects (fail). Once you have these defects rectified, you will again have to visit the inspection team to have your vehicle inspected once more. Before the inspection process begins, have all of your documentation (Insurance cover note or policy & log book/title) with you. They will be requested by the Vehicle Inspector. Can’t find your log book? You can purchase a duplicate for the cost of CI$30.00 at any of our locations.


    • Anonymous says:

      Social regression may start when society accepts totalitarian control over their lives but even the uncontrolled when in a group or society of uncontrolled need a guiding force to get things done else nothing gets done.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Right. I renewed my car in January and my new plate still has not showed up on the list for pick-up. More expensive pie in the sky crap that will never be implemented. I suggest we find out who has a financial interest in the company that sold us junk.

  21. Perry says:

    This is another fantastic achievement. Thank you Minister and Civil Service.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed our great premier and his unity government keep going from great achievement to great achievement.
      God Bless you al!

  22. Anonymous says:

    Talk is cheap. Let us know when it works. Also, let us know when you get serious about it. A slap on the wrist does little.

  23. Road Angel says:

    I hope Joey Hew, a man who has money, can as well, address the high cost of insurance in the Cayman Islands. Let’s be fair here. You make laws easy to keep by the rich folk, but the poor folk many times have no choice but to break the law before they can afford to be legal. And we are not talking about criminal laws here, so dont paint low income people as criminals! These are laws that are if broken hurts no one but the money-makers dealing with insurances.

    So Joey, I know you are a well off business man, what will you do to help reduce this cost of living in the Cayman Islands. All I see is more laws, more rules, more burdens, and those who cant afford Cayman having to migrate from their own homes. ????

    • Anonymous says:

      Insurance isn’t expensive! Registering your car for the year is. Ouch even to us “rich folk.”

    • Anonymous says:

      These laws hurt no one until an uninsured person causes an accident and the law abiding person is out of pocket

    • Jotnar says:

      Driving whilst uninsured hurts no one but the insurers? What about the person you hit with your car? What about the damage you do to someone’s car in an accident? There is a reason you have to be insured unless you have so much money you can afford to pay all these damages which in personal injury can be huge.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sorry but having no insurance does hurt others. If you crash into me and I only have third party coverage who is going to pay for damage done to my car or myself if you don’t have insurance?

    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps cost of car insurance is in direct relation to the massive amounts of fender bender and accidents reported every year?

    • a skilpot says:

      8.03pm Do you not get that the amendment Mr. Hew is proposing is more for poor people than the rich? I would imagine the rich would have no problem paying the $25. to get the vehicle off the road, whereas the poor might. Read and maybe re-read before you jump to conclusions and maybe you’ll get it right.

    • Anonymous says:

      You hit the nail right on the head my friend.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you cannot afford the insurance you cannot afford to drive.

    • Anonymous says:

      Can you afford to pay out thousands to fix someones car and your own?, Or if you injure someone who pays the medical bills? If you think basic insurance costs a lot try covering those costs, and if you can’t, it could be an innocent party left footing the bill for something that wasn’t their fault. So no, sorry its not a law that hurts no one. There are other options, one is to have a very basic insurance cover through a taxation on gas or vehicle licensing, that way everyone gets a basic level of cover and if you want to pay more for any extra cover you can do so through an insurance company. The problem with that is it wont work here as the accident rates are too high, the basic cost would be hundreds.

      • George Towner says:

        You dont need an insurance. It could work if a waiver before is signed by drivers to compensate the accident party. It would stipulate being court fined if payments are not made and other penalties.

        You need not include the pockets of everyone to create an insurance pool. Thats like stealing to me ????

        • Anonymous says:

          If you can’t afford $300 of insurance you are unlikely to be able to pay for $3,000 of damage, or medical costs, or lost wages of $100,000.

    • PD says:

      Honorable Hew should be our next premier as he is doing a very good job.

  24. Anonymous says:

    The corrupted government forces such as police will put this system to use very well. Like targeting people they dont like or tracking cheating girlfriends/wives.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Wonderful! Can’t wait for the chip that tells them I haven’t paid my Carbon Tax.
    But it is not all bad news, I get a choice. Right hand or forehead.
    It’s a good job it won’t be foreskin, my parents saw to that.

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