Drinking and driving limit cut in change to traffic law

| 16/08/2022 | 153 Comments

(CNS): An amendment to section 2 of the Traffic Act will, if passed by Parliament, reduce by around one-third the amount of alcohol people are allowed to consume before getting behind the wheel. The bill, which was published on Thursday, is expected to go before Parliament next month. Right now, drivers in the Cayman Islands are permitted to have 100 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood, one of the most generous alcohol limits for drivers in the world. The amendment would cut that to 70mg of alcohol, or down from 0.1% to 0.07%.

The change would move Cayman from being one of the most lenient countries in the world for drinking and driving to being more strict than the UK (apart from Scotland), the US, Canada and Jamaica, which all have a limit of 0.08%, but still not as strict as Scotland, Ireland, Germany and France, where the limit is 0.05%, or Norway and Sweden, which have some of the lowest levels in the world at 0.02%. (See legal alcohol limits of all European countries here.)

The proposed amendment, which is open for public comment for the next month, comes in a year when Cayman has seen a record number of lives lost on local roads and a significant number of crashes caused by drunk drivers. Last year 312 people were arrested for DUI offences, an increase of 37% on 2020, and this year is shaping up to be even worse.

RCIPS Acting Superintendent Brad Ebanks, who has overall responsibility for the traffic unit, said Monday that Cayman has an alarming road safety record, fuelled by speeding and liquor. “We are seeing an alarming number of persons driving at excessive speeds and the consequences of that decision,” he said. “Speeding greatly increases your chances of being involved in a collision and makes it far more likely that the consequences of a collision will be serious or even deadly. The outcome is even more likely when you add alcohol into the mix.”

Government hopes that the cut in the legal limit for alcohol will send a signal that drunk driving is not acceptable and change the culture of tolerance towards it. A press release issued shortly after the bill was gazetted said it aimed to enhance deterrence against driving under the influence.

The bill does not increase the penalties for those convicted, which remain at a fine of $1,000 or up to six months in jail and a 12-month driving ban for a first offence. A repeat offender faces a fine of up to $2,000 or a year in jail and the loss of their licence.

Last November, Premier Wayne Panton signalled a plan to lower the driving alcohol limit to address unacceptably high road safety issues. This bill follows public discussions about improving road safety and rolling out the cut.

“The PACT Government said that we were committed to tackling the alarmingly high level of road safety issues throughout our Islands,” said Panton. “As a society, we have become too tolerant of drunk driving and too many lives have been lost. The proposed limit brings us more in line with the modern world and we will continue to implement measures to encourage more personal responsibility.”

He said a Traffic Act Review Committee has been established, which will likely lead to further amendments to the law in future. “These may include further strengthening of the provisions around driving under the influence,” the premier added.

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Category: Crime, Crime Prevention, Laws, Politics

Comments (153)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Give us affordable taxis and decent busses. It’s not difficult to understand.

  2. Anonymous says:

    These people who drive drunk will still drive drunk regardless of what the legal limit is. The problem isn’t the limit it’s the mindset.

  3. N says:

    In the United States, .08 percent blood alcohol level is the legal alcohol limit for drivers who are aged 21 and over. Drivers younger than 21 are not allowed to have any alcohol in their system when driving. Are legally drunk.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I literally saw a like for like comparison to your image choice yesterday on the road. It was a corona instead, driving through a residential area.

  5. ELVIS says:

    Do you seriously see how many unroadworthy vehicles are on our roads? i mean seriously?
    Bald tires being number one on those big tip over every month trucks.
    Is it we are waiting for innocent people to die before anything is done?
    u only have to look at some vehicles to see they are scrap metal death traps on wheels or an incompetent driver is behind the wheel from the fear on their faces driving at 10mph in the middle lane.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Just drove from BT to grand harbour and passed 9 cars without functioning lights, guess how many police? I’ll have a beer now.


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