With Cabinet’s approval, Government is proposing to reduce Cayman Islands’ lenient admissible blood alcohol limit for drivers from 0.1% to 0.07%, to enhance deterrence against driving under the influence.
The PACT Government has gazetted the Traffic (Amendment) Bill, 2022 today to ensure that the proposed legislation gets the prescribed minimum of 28 days’ dissemination before being considered by parliamentarians in the next meeting of Parliament this year.
The proposed bill decreases the admissible limits of alcohol in blood, urine or breath during breathalysing but leaves untouched current prescribed penalties and punishments for those who are convicted for contravening the current law. It also does not impact cases prior to the possible amendments to the Traffic Act (2021 Revision) if MPs pass the bill in Parliament.
The Cayman Islands’ current maximum limit of 0.1% is among the most lenient thresholds in the world before one can be charged for driving under the influence. The new proposed limit of 70 milligrammes of alcohol in one hundred milliliters of blood will put the Cayman Islands ahead of the UK, the US, Canada and Jamaica where the legal threshold is 0.08%. In contrast, Ireland, Germany and France have the limit at 0.05% while the Scandinavian countries of Norway and Sweden have some of the lowest levels in the world at 0.02%.
In Parliament last November while dealing with the Islands’ budget, Premier Hon. G. Wayne Panton, JP, MP, indicated Government’s aim to lower the driving alcohol limit to address unacceptably high road safety issues on Cayman Islands’ roads, including fatalities. One of the solutions would be to lower the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers, he emphasised.
The bill now introduced also heeds public discussions about improving the safety of Cayman Islands’ roads. The current higher limit of 0.1% puts the onus directly on drivers, family and friends to ensure drivers do not drink and drive. However, an increasing number of road fatalities this year-- already at 12 so far – underscores that drivers are disregarding alcohol’s possible effects on driving.
Premier, Hon. G. Wayne Panton noted: “The PACT Government said that we were committed to tackling the alarmingly high level of road safety issues throughout our Islands. 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. In fact, there is a Traffic Act Review Committee already established, whose work will likely lead to further amendments to the Act in due time. These may include further strengthening of the provisions around driving under the influence.”
The bill can be viewed at http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/13192574.PDF
The Traffic Act (2021 Revision) can be viewed at http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/13054528.PDF