Following police instructions on the road

| 12/11/2018

If a policeman is directing traffic contrary to the working traffic lights what are drivers supposed to do? Specifically, when the policeman at the junction of Fort Street, Harbour Drive and North Church Street is waving traffic forward but the lights are red, am I supposed to commit an offence by driving through the red light?

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian statusAuntie’s answer:  According to The Traffic Law, 2011, Section 68, a driver shall (b) “keep to the left half of the road except when travelling in a one-way street or overtaking, or when otherwise directed by a traffic sign or signal, a police signal or signal by other authorised person”; and (e) “comply with all signals and other lawful directions given by constables or wardens”.

In the particular example you gave, an RCIPS spokesperson was able to speak directly to your concern, explaining that the officers are posted on the waterfront during tourist hours to regulate traffic flow and also ensure that visitors are safe and using the roads properly.

I am sure that at one point or another, we have all witnessed tourists looking the wrong way when crossing the street or had to stop or swerve to avoid a visitor on the road, so I appreciate the need for the police to be directing traffic in town at certain times.

The spokesperson added that the “officer may in the interest of time, direct traffic outside of the light if the roadway is clear on the other end so that the line-up of tourists that are waiting to pass doesn’t congest the streets”.

In addition, in the instance you query, the directions of the officers “take precedent over the light in this case, much like times when the lights do not work and an officer attends to direct traffic”.

So, if you are approaching a red light and there is a police officer at the intersection waving the cars through, follow his or her directions.

The law mentioned above can be found on the CNS Library

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Category: Ask Auntie, Police Questions, Traffic Questions

Comments (3)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    A better question is, why are our tax dollars being wasted on an officer(s) directing traffic where there are working pedestrian lights?
    They would be much better deployed at the crossings where there are no lights. If someone cannot press a button and cross when the lights & sound instructs them to, then how did they manage to get here in the first place? This practice is insulting to both the pedestrians & the drivers.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Obviously , missed that question in their driving test.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Duh, how the heck did did you pass your exam?