The Ministry of Transport in collaboration with the Liberia National Police began inspections on vehicles' registration and Compulsory Liability Insurance policies in Monrovia this week.
Throughout the week, police set up checkpoints at strategic locations on roads leading into Monrovia and out of town.
Scores of commuters could be seen standing on the sidewalks waiting for transportation as scores more of taxis remained parked for failure to insure and register their vehicles.
According to the Transport Minister, S. Tonorlah Varpilah, the decision of the MOT and LNP to carry out the exercise on vehicle owners is to ensure that all cars are registered with the Third Party Compulsory Liability Insurance Scheme; and if they are not, to compel them to do so.
The objective of the Compulsory Motor Third Party Liability Insurance Scheme is to remove the economic burden associated with motor vehicle accidents from the victims and their relatives and transfer them to the insurance company, thus, stimulating financial growth and solvency within the insurance sector and the Liberian economy at large.
The ‘Compulsory Motor Third Party Liability Insurance Scheme was enacted to law in 1972 by the National Legislature to promote public safety and was launched Friday, January 31, 2014 at Bella Cassa Hotel Monrovia.
The Director General of the Liberia National Police, Chris Massaquoi, pledged his support to the Transport Ministry stating that the LNP would make sure to enforce the law so that motor vehicles and passengers in the country are insured.
“We are the implementers of the 3rd party motor insurance scheme and are ready to enforce it to the letter. It has been made clear that all vehicles need to be insured. If you are to meet the deadline for the registration exercise, you must do so as soon as possible, if not, the vehicle will be impounded,” Director Massaquoi said.
He added that the insurance scheme would help the LNP identify victims who are referred to as 'the injured party' when accidents occur.
In interviews, over the weekend in Monrovia with the Daily Observer, motorists and passengers alike all complained about the transportation difficulties caused by the concurrent implementation of third party insurance and registration policies.
“The insurance company’s fees to insure our cars are too much for us. Imagine, taxis paying the sum of ($US 300-350.00) just to insure one car. Some of us don’t have the money to pay; but if the Government gives us more time we will register our vehicles,” 28-year-old Taxi driver Mr. Josiah Smith of Old road said.
He said the government’s decision to have cars register with the Third party Motor Insurance Liability has caused hardships for passengers in and out of Monrovia because vehicle drivers don’t have the money to get insured. He explained this has caused many vehicle owners to keep their cars off the street to avoid getting arrested by the LNP.
Some, however, agreed with the government's decision.
Edwin Cooper, 40, a resident of the Chicken Soup factory area, told this newspaper, “The Government’s decision to have all cars insured under the Third Party scheme is a great decision that will help our country to raise sufficient money in our budget; it will also help save lives and property.”
Mr. Cooper called on all vehicle owners to work with the Ministry of Transport, the LNP and their collaborating partners to have their vehicles insured in line with the constitution of Liberia.