“During the last two years, a Liberian died each day as a result of motorcycle accident, totaling over 12,545 recorded accident cases every year,” Vice President Joseph N. Boakai said, over the weekend at the launch of Liberia’s latest attempt at a Third Party Liability Insurance scheme.
The objective of the Compulsory Motor Vehicle Third Party Liability Insurance Scheme would be to remove the economic burden associated with motor vehicle accidents from the victims and their relatives and transfer same to the insurance company and to stimulate financial growth and solvency within the insurance sector and the Liberian economy at large. The scheme would require all motor vehicles registered within the Republic of Liberia to obtain third party liability insurance.
“The ‘Compulsory Motor Third Party Liability Insurance Scheme’,” VP Boakai explained as he launched the scheme on Friday, January 31, 2014, “was enacted to law in 1972 by the National Legislature to promote public safety.”
He said the Liberian Government has the primary objective to ensure the implementation of all road worthiness and safety laws and regulations throughout the length and breadth of this country, with the aim of protecting lives and property. “The urgent need of this course is obvious in our nation’s increasing incidence of vehicular accidents,” he stated.
According to VP Boakai, “Over the years there have been many accident cases; the situation was further exacerbated with the introduction of motorcycles for commercial purposes.”
“Statistics revealed that during the last two years, a Liberian died each day as a result of motorcycle accidents; totaling over 12,545 recorded accident cases every year. Sadly these accidents leave victims wounded, decapitated, and in the worst cases, dead. A total of 9,456 accidents and 132 cases of resulting deaths were recorded in 2012. This begs the question as to the number and severity of those cases that were not recorded,” he added.
Giving those present a ‘reality check’, VP Boakai used statistics from the JFK Memorial Medical Center, revealing, “The period of July to December 2012 recorded 1,773 accident cases with 30 resultant deaths.
VP Boakai said what was troubling is the fact that these calamities left in their wake a huge deficit in unpaid bills to the hospital during that six-month period.
He furthered that the alarming data should be enough to awaken any conscious and responsible citizen and should amplify the quest for implementing legal road worthiness and safety measures to protect the lives and properties of our citizens and residents like.
“Today, therefore, we should all be hopeful that an impactful measure of this relevance that employs a law already on the books will go a long way to ensure that all motorists, passengers, and pedestrians have this safety net at their disposal. I implore all of us to view this insurance scheme as a safety net and savor the feeling and assurance of security imbedded in having hope even after falling victim to vehicular accidents,” he added.
“As we launch this scheme today, let us do so with a firm resolve to uphold the highest standards of justice fair play, and honesty. The Ministry of Transport (MOT) must keep an extra mile ahead, overseeing the scrupulous upholding of the tenets of contractual agreements between motorists and insurers,” The VP said.
The Liberian Vice President cautioned Liberians to remain mindful that a scheme of this nature can only stand on pillars of confidence and commitment. He advised that a half-hearted and lopsided approach will introduce cynicism, crooked dealings and resistance thus defeating the “noble purpose,” of the scheme.
He urged dealers of new and used vehicles and the various unions within the transport sector to complement the efforts of the relevant authorities to ensure compliance across the spectrum.
For his part Transport Minister S. Tonorlah Varpilah, disclosed that the scheme worked perfectly during the pre-war era.
Min. Varpilah said the reactivation of the scheme was short lived during the era of President Charles G. Taylor. “This was primarily due to a number of factors, including lack of public trust for many insurance companies and weak institutional mechanisms to regulate the insurance industry,” he stated.
Transport Minister Varpilah furthered that the absence of an insurance scheme over the years has resulted in unbearable economic hardships on the population and significantly impeded the social and economic growth of the country.
“The increasing number of traffic accidents is inflicting untold suffering on the poor. Road traffic accident victims— many of whom are poor— are often constrained to underwrite the cost of injuries and deaths.”