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Uninsured drivers leaving accident victims in the lurch

by Anesta Henry
4 min read
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President of the Barbados Road Safety Association (BRSA) Sharmane Roland-Bowen is pleading with Government and insurance companies to clamp down on motorists using uninsured vehicles.

She told Barbados TODAY she has been receiving too many complaints recently from motorists who were involved in accidents with other road users whose vehicles have no insurance coverage.

President of the General Insurance Association of Barbados Randy Graham told Barbados TODAY that insurance companies were also extremely concerned about the worrying trend which he said seems to have worsened since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

He said insurance companies have been working with Government to put an end to the dangerous practice.

“This is nothing that the insurance sector condones. So, we sit alongside the Road Safety Association in saying that it is a practice that needs to be quickly stamped out and one that the insurance sector does not in any way support,” he said.

“All of the insurance companies are complaining about this because if you put a vehicle that doesn’t have insurance on the road, then you are going to put a client that actually has insurance in real trouble because you don’t have anybody to claim against. That is creating a lot of financial problems in the insurance sector. It is becoming a big problem.”

Randy Graham

Roland-Bowen indicated that just this week, she received a complaint from a driver who was involved in an accident and now has to spend thousands of dollars to repair their own vehicle because the person at fault does not have insurance. She also received a report of a hit-and-run.

“Too many of these things are happening and people are getting away with it. We need to make some examples of these people who are driving without insurance. Insurance companies need to pull up their socks and do something. I don’t know what they can do, but do something so that these persons can be held accountable. There are too many people driving without insurance and for those law-abiding citizens that pay their insurance to be on the road, it is not fair.

“Government has made sure that they get their money by putting it on fuel, but what about the people who pay vehicle insurance as opposed to the people who don’t pay? The people who do not pay insurance are getting away with a lot of wickedness,” a concerned Roland-Bowen said.

The BRSA president expressed concern for individuals who are the victims of accidents who are left out to sea when the other parties are not covered.

“And if they can’t pay their insurance, it makes no sense suing them and that shouldn’t be so; something needs to be done. It is not fair. And we are still having hit-and-runs and most of the time when you have a hit-and-run… the person doesn’t have insurance.

“In some cases, you might find that the person does not have a valid driver’s licence, and that is petty compared to driving without insurance. That is the reason you hit-and-run and not wait around.

“If you are a law-abiding citizen driving with due care and attention and some reckless person comes and hits your vehicle only for you to find out that that person does not have insurance, you have to look for money now. Whenever you go out there you are gambling with your life,” she lamented.

Graham suggested that the situation became a major headache since the COVID-19 pandemic, perhaps because people were struggling financially and had not been making the payment of insurance a priority over providing basic needs for their families.

“And I guess we can appreciate the pressure of unemployment. But if you are going to take that position, you can’t be on the road. You have to park your vehicle until you can get the proper insurance and that is what we would like to see to limit the number of vehicles on the road without insurance,” he said. (anestahenry@barbadstoday.bb)

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