Motorists who crash their vehicles into road furnishings such as guard rails and signs will be forced to pay, through their insurance companies, for their repair or replacement as the cash-strapped Government looks at ways to reduce its expenditure in these areas.
Dr. Morais Guy, the minister without portfolio in the works ministry, said yesterday that consideration is being given to charging for the repairs and that the Attorney General’s Department has been asked to provide a legal opinion on the matter.
“The Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, along with the National Works Agency, has an opinion from the Attorney General’s Department that indicates that the Government can claim on damage to road furniture,” the minister said.
He said further that the opinion provided is that the claim would be done in the same way a third party is able to claim on another person’s insurance if there is a crash.
“It is being done because we think that equity needs to prevail, in that, for too long, the taxpayer has been called upon to pay for the expenses of people who are careless on the road and for people who have insurance with insurance companies, which at some stage, they should be liable for some of the damage done not only to the road, but to the road furniture,” Guy said.
Asked if the policy would result in increased premiums, Guy said he did not think so.
The Insurance Association of Jamaica has said that discussions have been held with the Government about the issue, admitting that damage to road furniture would be covered as any third-party damage within the constraints of the policy.
“If the claims start to climb, it will impact the premiums,” Orville Johnson, executive director of the Insurance Association of Jamaica said.