Nearly 10,000 tickets issued in the first quarter of the year since Operation Vega started back in July 2021, and what do the latest statistics point up?

Could it be the ongoing disregard for traffic laws – not to mention the ongoing ‘non-presence’ of police on Bermuda’s roads?

Since the start of Operation Vega on July 6th, in 2021, what have we accomplished exactly?

As of March 2023 – the first quarter of this year, a total of 9,230 traffic tickets were issued by police, which is good news in terms of raising taxpaying revenue through fines meted out in the courts.

It may just be worth it to go through the tiring routine of wrangling through the court system and the relevant government media fiasco journalists go through, to find out just how much money that is.

Be that as it may be, but what does it say about the psyche of the minds of Bermuda’s motoring public?

Could it be that the majority of them, both young and old; and not so old, are hellbent on riding or driving like bats straight out of hell.

When the numbers have trended upward, generally across the board in this the very first quarter of the New Year, as it has been in recent years – what has Operation Vega achieved so far, exactly?

Has it slowed anyone down? Has it stopped the never-ending carnage caused by road traffic accidents?

In the words of Chief Inspector Robert Cardwell, of the Tactical Operations Division: “The prevalent reasons for collisions are inattention and carelessness.”

And to make matters worse: “Bermuda has suffered four fatal collisions in 2023’s first quarter, which is higher than the three fatal collisions recorded in the first quarter of 2022,” he added.

That’s not to mention that infamous quote he dropped several years ago, to paraphrase: “It’s not a matter of whether or not there will be another road traffic fatality – the only question is when!”

Meanwhile, “serious injury collisions continue to rise”.

On that note, he said the number recorded as a result of Operation Vega in the first quarter of 2023 “have trended upwards, when compared to the previous year”.

And in keeping with what could now be termed the “tradition”, so to speak, the number one traffic offence on Bermuda’s roads continues to be speeding!

That would be motorists speeding, on bikes, in cars and trucks, or whatever the vehicle with the motorists controlling it may be.

In all, 468 motorists were ticketed for traffic violations last month – a 30 percent increase when compared to February last year, when 358 drivers were nabbed by police.

A total of 66 motorists were booked for impaired driving in the first three months of the year – that’s compared to the 34 impaired driving arrests made during the first quarter of the previous year.

Not surprisingly, there was a sharp increase in the number of motorists stopped for handheld device infractions in March, with 18 motorists being stopped, as opposed to the low numbers reported previously.

We say ‘not surprisingly’ because more often than not, we witness more than a handful of motorists yacking, or texting, or ‘WhatsApping’ on their phones while driving, or riding on any given day of the week, including the police.

Police also issued a total of 51 official written warnings during the first three months of the year, with 172 parking tickets issued – up from the 105 issued during the previous reporting period.

And a further 50 drivers were ticketed for operating an unlicensed vehicle — up from 24 in February — while the number of drivers on the road without insurance rose from 21 in February to 46 in March.

172 parking tickets were also issued, up from 105 in the previous reporting period.

But when you look at the top categories for the traffic offences committed, it does not say much about the regard, or lack thereof, by Bermuda’s motoring public for the law.

In what has become the norm, speeding tops off the list, but then you have relatively high numbers of motorists booked for riding or driving unlicensed vehicles, or operating vehicles with no third-party insurance – in other words NO INSURANCE, and/or no driver’s licence period!

Considering the number of accidents that occur on our roads daily, it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that the ultimate costs pan out to astronomical figures, when it comes the carnage on our roads, serious injuries and vehicle damage.

Then consider that accident inflicted on an innocent motorist hit, and/or injured by another motorist with no licence, insurance or even a job!

And that’s not counting hospital costs!

BHB Photo

Take a look at the latest figures recorded in this the first quarter of 2023:

Traffic statistics: March 2023

Speeding 241 (+19)

Traffic sign 26 (-26)

Unlicensed vehicle 50 (+26)

No third-party insurance 46 (+25)

No driver’s licence 54 (+37)

Manner of driving 2 (-3)

Disqualified driver 7 (+7)

Seatbelt 4 (+2)

Helmet 8 (0)

Handheld device 18 (+15)

Defective vehicle 2 (0)

Fail to give name/address 0 (0)

Fail to stop 5 (+3)

Fraudulent documents 0 (0)

Making false statement 2 (+2)

Licence plate offence 7 (+7)

Tint offence 0 (0)

Youth licence offence 2 (+2)

And the outlook for the next quarter doesn’t look much different, considering the fact that 23 people were arrested over the Easter holiday weekend alone.

Mind you, the majority of the arrests by police were the result of outstanding warrants.

Eight motorists were arrested on suspicion of impaired driving, with another arrest for intruding on the privacy of a female, one for wilful damage, one for being drunk and incapable, and one for breach of the peace.

Additionally, there were 31 stop and searches and 72 traffic tickets issued, with 26 issued between Sunday and today (April 10).

And then there’s the whopping total of 2,620 motorists stopped for roadside sobriety checks over the holiday weekend.

According to Insp Cardwell, 12 underwent roadside sobriety tests and eight failed, who were subsequently arrested.

Of the eight arrested, six refused to take the breathalyser test at the Hamilton Police Station, one failed the test and another later passed.

Seven people have since been charged with impaired driving offences, who are due to appear in Magistrates’ Court in due course.

Another 13 traffic tickets were issued for unlicensed vehicles and 12 were issued for tints, with another 10 tickets issued for driving without insurance.

Four tickets were issued for both driving without a license and youth licence offences, two were given for license plate offences, and one for driving a defective vehicle.

Five motorists were given official warnings.

With no apparent end in sight to the apparent disregard for the law, or our ever increasing reckless behaviour while operating vehicles on Bermuda’s roads – it looks likely to be another long, hot summer, with even more deaths and carnage.

Ceola Wilson, Executive Producer,