~ Drivers and vehicle owners driving on public roads without insurance and valid driver’s license. ~
PHILIPSBURG: --- Insurance companies in St. Maarten have been abusing the traffic ordinance by selling vehicle owners one (1 to 3) month insurance policy in order for them to uplift their number plates or go through the police controls on St. Maarten.
According to information provided to SMN News, the traffic ordinance allows vehicle owners to purchase short-term insurance policies, but these policies are not being renewed.
The Inspection Center has said that the traffic ordinance allows them to accept insurance policies that have one-month life remaining, Asked if the ordinance states that vehicle owners can just purchase a one-month policy in order to go through inspections or are they misinterpreting the ordinance, personnel at the Inspection Center could not readily give an answer, however they made clear that the problem is created by insurance companies that are selling the one to three months policies to vehicle owners.
The Police Department found themselves dealing with several accidents where vehicles are not insured and the only thing the police could do is issue a fine of NAF. 100.00 since not having vehicular insurance is a misdemeanor which is minor wrongdoing. The police department also indicates that they have been encountering drivers that have foreign drivers’ licenses that are not valid on St. Maarten and that too is a misdemeanor with NAF 100.00 fine. “These foreigners buy vehicles and they get other people with a St. Maarten driver's license to insure their vehicle and the driver around without a valid license on St. Maarten.
Many vehicle owners that have insurance policies are faced with situations where they get into vehicular accidents with drivers that have no driver's license, and insurance while many of them received serious injuries and their vehicles are a total loss.
SMN News interviewed a driver who said that while on his way home from work he was hit head-on by an Audi that totaled his vehicle, besides that he was air evacuated to Panama for emergency surgery on his neck that was seriously fractured. The man said that he spent one month in Panama and when he obtained the traffic report it stated that the Audi had no insurance and the driver who was driving the vehicle was unlicensed.
In another case the female driver said she too was involved in an accident, her teenage child was injured and it turned out that the driver that collided with her do not have insurance but his vehicle has on a new number plate.
Based on all information provided to SMN News it is clear that the traffic ordinance needs to be amended in order for police to hold the drivers and owners of these vehicles accountable when they are involved in accidents or caught driving without insurance or driver's license.