One in three in Bermuda drink and drive

More than a third of Bermuda residents drink and drive, a survey has found.

The poll also showed almost half of people drive faster than 60km/h when the speed limit is only 35km/h.

But Inspector Robert Cardwell, head of the island’s traffic police, warned the shock results of the survey of driving habits on the island were probably just the tip of the iceberg.

Mr Cardwell said: “The results, I think, are an underestimation. I think speeding and drink-driving are far more prevalent than the results a poll is going to produce.

“We know from giving road safety input to corporate entities whose staff are majority guest workers — they openly admit that where they come from they would never ever do what they do here.

“It lends credence to the fact that we just have a culture in Bermuda that makes it acceptable. That is something we need to change.”

Thirty-two per cent of people said they had more than two drinks and drove occasionally, 3 per cent said they did once a month and 1 per cent said they did at least once a week.

Young people aged 18 to 34 were most likely to drink and drive — 47 per cent — compared with 25 per cent of the 55 to 64 age group.

White people on 41 per cent were more likely to drink and drive than black people, on 35 per cent. But 61 per cent of those surveyed said roadside breath tests would deter them.

And 52 per cent said more police on the roads was a major deterrent, while 37 per cent said harsher penalties would make them think twice.

Mr Cardwell said: “With roadside sobriety testing, if we see increased arrests for impaired driving it will start having an impact.

“You don’t know when you turn a corner if there is going to be a police officer there waiting to test you.

“Although we don’t know which way the legislation will go yet, we hope that the police won’t need a reason to stop you and test you.

Those surveyed also backed all three objectives of The Royal Gazette’s Drive for Change campaign — speed cameras, roadside breath tests and improvements in motorcycle training for new riders.

Excessive speed was also common — 37 per cent of people said they drove faster than 60km/h occasionally, 3 per cent said once a month and 7 per cent said at least once a week.

Young people were most likely to admit to speeding, with 62 per cent of the 18 to 34 group saying yes, compared with 33 per cent of the 55 to 64 age group.

Black people — on 50 per cent — were more likely to admit to speeding than white people, on 40 per cent.

A total of 64 per cent of people said more police on the roads would deter them from speeding, while 61 per cent said speed cameras and 36 per cent said harsher penalties for getting caught would affect their behaviour.

Mr Cardwell backed the survey results on speeding.

He said: “Every time we deploy speed checks there are countless people checked for speeding over 60km/h. We caught two last week going at 100km/h.”

Penalties for speeding are capped at $500.

People were also asked if they had received sufficient motorcycle training before passing their bike test.

More than three quarters said they had, but 23 per cent said they had not been trained well enough.

A total of 78 per cent backed improved training before riders took to the roads, but 22 per cent said rider education was sufficient as it stood.

The Global Research telephone poll of 400 people was carried out between February 21 and 25 and has a margin of error of +/- 5 per cent.

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Published Mar 15, 2018 at 8:00 am (Updated Mar 15, 2018 at 6:00 am)

One in three in Bermuda drink and drive

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