Budget 2019

Fiji Budget 2019: Making People Pay

Sometimes there is no eye witness or speed cameras at the scene to help us identify which vehicle caused the accident because soon after the accident the vehicle flees the scene.
23 May 2019 14:48
Fiji Budget 2019: Making People Pay

Fiji Roads Authority chief executive officer Jonathan Moore laments that there are times when there no eye witnesses or speed cameras on the scenes to identify the culprits so they cannot even initiate legal proceedings against people to recover costs of repairs.

Mr Moore explained what they do if they try to recover costs.

“Upon the occurrence of an accident, we approach our Legal Team with a request to issue a demand notice to the offender and to recover the costs of repair.

Sometimes there is no eye witness or speed cameras at the scene to help us identify which vehicle caused the accident because soon after the accident the vehicle flees the scene.

“The FRA repairs the damage at an own cost and then provides the Legal Team an invoice and a receipt proving the actual costs incurred for them to commence legal proceedings. Sometimes, the value recovered from the offender is less than $5000.

In such instances, recovery action can only be instituted in the Small Claims Tribunal.

Cocomo 3

The Fiji Roads Authority has had to spend more money repairing 34 streetlights and traffic signals damaged as a result of road accidents over the last 12 months. This includes around 15 streetlights along the Queens and Kings roads. 12 more streetlights were damaged in the greater Suva area while seven traffic lights were damaged in motor vehicle accidents. But the Authority has managed to recover costs from only 7 offenders.

Working with Fiji Police Force:

“Insofar as the involvement of external parties is concerned, we often require

information from the Fiji Police Force if the accident was reported to the police and if the damage to our asset was caused as a result of careless or dangerous driving.  In order for FRA to prosecute the offender we need to be able to prove that the offender was at fault and that confirmation comes only from the Fiji Police Force.

“We are looking into installing vehicle barrier units to protect assets but this would cost many millions.”

What could be done?

Government needs to consider investing in CCTV cameras at almost every traffic light. This will no doubt come at a huge cost but there are benefits of this as well. Firstly, it would assist in solving crimes such as theft and secondly, FRA could use that footage to hold people accountable. Government does not have an endless source of revenue. They cannot be pumping money in continuously fixing up what has been damaged by irresponsible driver.

Feedback: jyotip@fijisun.com.fj



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