Trucks need to be better regulated

| 04/12/2018

Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian statusAre there any rules that apply to the increasing number of large, poorly driven and maintained trucks that threaten the safety of motorists using Shamrock Road? I have seen a speeding truck pass a school bus as children were alighting, trucks that spill their wet load onto vehicles behind, numerous trucks that belch thick black smoke …and the stories go on.

Auntie’s answer: There are actually two separate issues you are asking about, dealt with by different departments. I will look first at the problem of bad and/or downright reckless truck drivers, which is a police issue.

“Dump trucks and other roadworthy heavy equipment vehicles are guided by the same rules and regulations as other road-users,” a Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) spokesperson explained, specifically noting, “Overtaking a school bus while loading or offloading is against the law as is speeding and is punishable through tickets and traffic offence reports.”

Of course, if a police officer isn’t nearby, then chances are high that the selfish, inept driver will get away with his or her offences. And that is where you and the rest of the community can help. If you see a vehicle being driven erratically, the spokesperson advises you to call 911 immediately and make a report, which should include a description of the truck (or car), direction it is travelling and, if possible, the licence plate number.

For those of you who have downloaded the RCIPS mobile app (you can get it from a link on the RCIPS website), you can use the “Submit a Tip” function to send photos and videos — as long as you have safely pulled off the road, that is; dash-cam video would work very nicely, too.

I think it would be great if we could all work together to bring these drivers to account.

Now as for the condition of the trucks, that is the remit of the Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing (DVDL). When a dump truck is brought in for inspection, the process includes checking the brakes and making sure there are no defects in the undercarriage, such as rust or worn parts.

A DVDL official stressed that during this check, “We pay special attention to the box of the trucks as well, as sometimes owners/operators extend the height so that they can transport a larger load of material. Obviously such a modification impacts the ability to stop etc, so we don’t allow the renewal of the dump truck when we come across this, or any type of defect, that we deem unsafe. Any defects are required to be fixed before the inspection is given a pass.”

You also commented about “thick black smoke” and the official pointed out that Section 93(1) of The Traffic Law, 2011 says, “A person who does any of the following commits an offence and is punishable…(f) uses a vehicle with its engine in such a condition that it gives out excessive or obnoxious smoke, fumes, noise or odour.”

That section means that, for example, if a car presented for inspection is emitting “excessive smoke/fumes” then under the law, the DVDL can fail that vehicle. A dump truck, though, usually has a diesel engine which emits stronger fumes, the official explained, but added if the emissions are “more than usual” then the DVDL inspector would require that issue be addressed before the truck can be passed.

And now I must bring up a point that I have discussed before: government action or, more precisely, the lack thereof. I believe the idea of strengthening emission standards for vehicles has been thrown about for several years. Let’s stop talking about it and finally do something. I can’t imagine anyone is happy about breathing in black smoke from vehicles on our roads.

The law mentioned above can be found on the CNS Library

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Category: Ask Auntie, Transportation Questions, Vehicle Licensing Questions

Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Anyone who sat quietly by the side of the road for an hour or two in Bodden Town, say by the public beach, would be appalled and frightened at the excessive speed of these trucks travelling along the main road in both directions as they try to get in as many loads as they can per day. Been going on for years, the cops know all about it and do nothing. Recently they have been joined by these fairly new very large tour buses who also speed in excess of the speed limit. Why do we have something called the Bodden Town bypass?

    • Anonymous says:

      Bodden Town Police station does not have a single speed radar detector available for their officers. They were all taken for the ‘Traffic department’ who prefer to patrol in GT or SMB.

    • Truck driver says:

      Why does the Bodden Town bypass have ‘traffic calming devices’ i.e. speed bumps or ‘sleeping policemen’?
      The so-called bypass is laid out as a sub-division road not a major highway.
      To get through traffic to use it there needs to be a roundabout at each end to make it easier to take the bypass than follow the road through the town, the speed limit needs to be raised to 40mph and the speed bumps removed.
      The everyone would go that way unless they needed to enter the town.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Trucks marked Cayman Islands Government drive along the south of the island and along the bypass to WB in a very aggressive manner. They dont stop at roundabouts for traffic already in the roundabout, they tailgate cars, they switch lanes without indicating and carry passengers. When will something be done?

    • Royal says:

      Calling Condor Road a bypass is like calling a handkerchief a towel. It’s basically just an alternative route or backroad. The whole purpose of a bypass route is to bypass an Urban Area, ie Bodden Town. That road should be completely rerouted as the main highway with proper exits at each end.