MP: Let motorists pay for damage on roads

Saturday, November 30, 2019

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THE issue of motorists being forced to pay for the destruction of road furniture when they are at fault for crashes, has again come to the fore, with St James Central Member of Parliament Heroy Clarke calling for legislation to hold persons liable.

He raised the concern this week at the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) during discussions with tourism ministry officials on multi-million dollar beautification programmes for corridors in resort areas.

“The furniture was paid for by TEF (Tourism Enhancement Fund) money [but] the motorists who use that roadway (elegant corridor) damage everything; but who replaces? We must [amend the law to ensure that] road furniture must be replaced by a motorist if damaged by that said motorist,” he stated. The MP pointed out that along Montego Bay's elegant corridor numerous signage and lighting infrastructure have been damaged by motorists.

Tourism Products Development Company, said the MP, should receive Government support to hold motorists responsible. “We have to also partner with the JCF (Jamaica Constabulary Force) for them to provide information so that you can go after the person who is at fault. It's something that we need to look into,” he said.

At the same time, the St James MP expressed concerns about safety of roads in the area, “The road marking materials that are used in that area, after two or three showers of rain, you don't see anymore. The reflectors that are placed there, after two or three drive over, they're gone. The material may be inferior, although it looks good when you put it on, but within a week or two you're back at square one,” Clarke lamented.

PAAC Chairman Dr Wykeham McNeill agreed that action needs to be taken on the proposal which has come to Parliament before. “We talk about it but nothing happens and the persons, when they are at fault in these accidents, walk away from it, the insurance companies walk away from it, and its left as the responsibility of the taxpayers.”

In 2015, the then Government had indicated that it would be moving to recover costs from motorists for road furniture that are damaged as a result of road crashes.

Then permanent secretary in the ministry, Audrey Sewell, said the National Works Agency had been mandated to intensify its efforts to file claims on the insurance policies of liable drivers.

– Alphea Saunders


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