I would not necessarily disagree with Mike Millership on the question of RTA cover (Letters, 3 March).
He is of the opinion that in each of the scenarios I listed, RTA cover would be required.Why then have three different insurers paid five separate claims under a PL section of a commercial combined policy all involving damage to third party property by a fork lift truck on a car park or land to which the public have access?
While Chris Ridgers (Letters, 10 March) solution is also eminently sensible, suggesting all motor vehicles should carry RTA cover irrespective of when and where used, what would be the requirement for vehicles not being used (for instance, laid up)?
In my personal case my driveway does not have any walls, gates, or fences and is frequently accessed by members of the public.
My view of when RTA cover should apply is as follows.
Pre the 2000 amendment (that it, excluding 'public place') vehicles only needed RTA cover on roads as defined within the Act to which the public had access. Roads to which the public have access should not be confused with a public place).
Consequently a road not used by the public would fall outside the Act as did a car park for example in the case Cutter v Eagle Star .
A private road therefore only used by residents/owners would also fall outside the Act and similarly a road under construction and not yet open.
Post the 2000 amendment (now including a 'public place') obviously extends the need for RTA cover considerably but in my opinion a public place cannot by definition be a private car park even though the public may have access.
Consequently, a public place can only be somewhere owned or maintained by the public i.e. council/government owned land. While an unlikely scenario, if a fork lift truck was used inside a library building it would in my opinion require RTA cover.
Unfortunately, previous legal decisions do not quite agree with my sentiments and, having read the book titled Whittakers RTA Offences, I am totally bemused by the judgments in certain cases.
John Leak - Anderson Ashcroft