Drinking and Driving Zero Tolerance

Keys and DrinkI wrote this article back in 2004. Since then the B.C. government has enacted the Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program, reducing the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) threshold for sanctions from 80 mg% to 50 mg%. In addition, the federal government implemented mandatory alcohol screening for any driver in December 2018.

The IRP is much easier for police to administer and I suspect that caused a significant drop in the number of criminal code impaired driving charges.

There have been 7,405 IRPs issued in B.C. between January and July, 2020 and ICBC reports that impaired driving is a factor in between 20 and 25% of collisions.

In 2004 I observed that using alcohol helps drivers make poor decisions. Of course, the decision of importance to us all is “do I drive, or have I had too much?” This is a decision that should be simple, if you drink don’t drive, and the law should reinforce that.

The Graduated Licensing Program (GLP) for new drivers requires exactly that, a zero BAC. If you drive after consuming any alcohol, you will be prohibited from driving for 12 hours if caught. Should your BAC be over 50 mg% you will be treated like all other drivers and once this information reaches the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles, GLP drivers can expect to receive another prohibition.

It is past time to extend the GLP rules to all drivers. This will help eliminate the possibility of a bad decision because it would now be “I had a drink, I can’t drive” instead of “do I drive, or have I had too much?”

Perhaps there should be a traffic ticket, complete with penalty points, for driving with a measurable BAC before the 50 mg% threshold is reached. Currently a non-GLP driver faces no sanction at all until their BAC reaches 50 mg%.

Is a driver traveling at 20 km/h over the speed limit a greater risk than a driver with a BAC of 40 mg%? The University of Michigan Health suggests that having a 20 mg% BAC will result in a decline in visual function, the inability to perform two tasks at the same time, a loss of judgment and altered mood.

The speeder gets a ticket and the 40 mg% driver goes free today unless their impairment causes them to violate a driving rule. In that case, they would be ticketed for the rule violation.

Ignition interlock devices could be mandatory equipment for new vehicles and some countries are currently considering requiring auto makers to do this. An Australian cost-benefit analysis found the following:

Overall, it was concluded that due to the investigated interlock’s user friendliness and relative affordability in comparison to other interlocks, the device should be considered as a countermeasure for curbing the drink driving problem in Australia.

If you are concerned about impaired driving, please support your local anti drinking and driving public interest group such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Together we can make a difference!

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible for conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

#DriveSmartBC

#DriveSmartBC – Stop, Look, Listen, THEN Report

TelephoneResponding to an emergency can sometimes be a significant challenge. One call I was involved with had us trying to find a three vehicle pileup in the northbound lanes of a major rural highway near where there had been a recent fire in the median. There was no indication of how bad any injuries were, but since the highway is posted at 110 km/h someone is probably hurt so police, fire and ambulance were all dispatched.

Things went downhill from there. The incident was nowhere near the place where the last grass fire in the median occurred.

When we did locate it, it was in the southbound lanes. One car had gone off the road and two others had stopped to give assistance. No one was hurt, damage was minimal and all that needed to be called was a tow truck.

Multiple emergency services were stood down. Thank goodness no one else needed them in the meantime and they were not involved in a crash themselves during the emergency run to get to the scene.

Cellular phones are wonderful inventions. Enhanced 911 will give dispatchers some idea where you are calling from but that accuracy depends on how close together the cell towers are. In rural areas, this could mean that they are far apart and location data is not as precise.

Old cellphones without an account, or even a SIM card, may still be able to dial 911. If you are using one to call for help it may not provide location data that is as precise as a cell phone with a current account will be.

If you dial an emergency number other than 911, the call will not report any location data.

Your smartphone will allow you to determine your location’s GPS co-ordinates. These can be passed directly to the dispatcher to pinpoint the problem. Know how to find them on your phone before the emergency occurs!

Now that you have the cavalry coming, how much of it is actually needed?

Taking two minutes to stop and inquire about the state of affairs at this scene is not a major inconvenience for you and makes all the difference for the victims and emergency services. Dispatch can send only what is needed, or decide properly that this is going to be a disaster that needs a full turnout of everything available.

How many people are hurt and how badly? How many vehicles are involved and what kind are they? Is the road blocked? Which side of the divided highway is the collision on? Being able to answer these simple questions can tailor the speed and quantity of the response to only what is really needed.

Sometimes the most valuable piece of information can be the licence plate number of the vehicles involved, especially in the case of an abandoned vehicle that has not been marked with crime scene or fire line tape to show it has already been investigated.

Don’t stop reporting incidents like this. However, please do it intelligently.

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible for conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

www.drivesmartbc.ca

Canada: Insurance – New Business Tool Kit

13 October 2020

Business insurance, like many types of expenditures, is one of those items which business owners typically do not like to pay. You must remember that sufficient insurance can be as critical to the success of your business as a good product or service. Without proper insurance you could lose all the money, time, and effort you put into your company. The types and amounts of coverage you purchase must be evaluated on a cost-benefit basis like any other commodity that you purchase.

Your insurance agent can help you review the amount of coverage you may wish to purchase for various purposes. Usually, you will want to insure against risks that could have significant detrimental impact on your business. This normally would include such items as fire, storm damage, theft, general, and product liability. Depending on the nature and size of your business, it is often a good idea to self-insure for all or a portion of certain losses. Self-insurance can be accomplished by not buying coverage for incidental risks or increasing the deductions on policies that you do buy. Often, raising the deductible can have a very favorable impact on policy premiums. The administrative cost to the insurance company to process small claims is quite high. The rates typically go down substantially if they are relieved of this expense by insuring for losses in excess of a sizable deductible amount. An insurance broker can provide you with comparative costs for various types of coverage with varying degrees of deductible amounts.

Required Policies

Very little insurance coverage is mandatory. For most industries, workers’ compensation coverage is required by law. It covers injuries to employees while on the job. Premiums for this coverage are payable as a specific assessment against your business payroll, based upon industry-wide claim experience.

You must also be aware that the terms of your building, office lease, or mortgage may require you to carry certain kinds of insurance coverage in specified minimum amounts. If you have leased equipment or have borrowed money from a bank or other lenders, there will usually be insurance requirements in the agreements relating to these transactions. There are many other types of policies that you may wish to consider. The specific coverage provided by each and their related costs can be explained in depth by a qualified insurance broker.

Some types of Insurance coverage you may consider for your business are:

Business Interruption

This coverage, as the name implies, covers the loss of revenues your business would have generated if it were forced to shut down for reasons beyond your control. While this is obviously valuable insurance, the policy premium must be carefully considered relative to the potential profits your business might lose during a short shutdown of operations.

Employee Fidelity Bond

This type of insurance typically covers the risk of loss from theft by employees. If your business deals in large amounts of cash, negotiable securities, or similar types of assets, you may be well advised to consider this coverage. Certain industries are required to carry this insurance by regulatory authorities.

Umbrella Coverage

This type of insurance covers losses above and beyond the limits of other policies that you carry. Umbrella policies usually pertain to liability of various sorts, and are usually valuable if your business, or you, have a higher net worth, which requires protection in the event of a catastrophic loss.

Accounts Receivable Coverage

Also referred to as credit coverage, reduces the risk of doing business, because it covers you against customer bankruptcy, refusal of delivery, or other non-payment.

Insurance is like any other product you purchase. Before purchasing it you should consult with more than one broker. You should discuss insurance needs with acquaintances in the same or related business as yours.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Source: Mondaq News

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month; this month is dedicated to restoring hope to those living with the disease or survived it. Through awareness initiatives, research, and fundraising, we can continue to support our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, and daughters in their fight against breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer to affect Canadian women.1 Research shows that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.1 Breast cancer tends to occur in women between the ages of 50 and 69, but it can also occur in men (though less common).2

Fortunately, as a result of research and advancements in technology, the disease’s outcome has substantially improved.

What is Breast Cancer?

Abnormal growth and behaviour of cells in the breast can cause non-cancerous conditions such as hyperplasia, cysts and tumours. However, these cellular changes can also cause breast cancer.

Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

In the early stages of the disease, women may experience no apparent signs or symptoms. However, if they do, then typically these are the symptoms they will experience:4

  • a lump in the armpit
  • changes in the shape or size of the breast
  • changes to the nipple, such as an inverted nipple
  • discharge or blood that comes out of the nipple without squeezing it

Breast cancer statistics

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian women (excluding non-melanoma skin cancers). It is the second leading cause of death from cancer in Canadian women. Breast cancer can also occur in men, but it is not common.

Incidence and mortality

Incidence is the number of new cases of cancer. Mortality is the number of deaths due to cancer. The following incidence and mortality statistics are estimated using the most up-to-date data available at the analysis time.

It is estimated that in 2020:

  • 27,400 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. This represents 25% of all new cancer cases in women in 2020.
  • 5,100 women will die from breast cancer. This represents 13% of all cancer deaths in women in 2020.
  • On average, 75 Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer every day.
  • On average, 14 Canadian women will die from breast cancer every day.
  • 240 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 55 will die from breast cancer.

Please read more here: 

cancer.ca

Making a Driving Complaint to Police

 

Q&A ImageHave you ever felt upset enough about something that happened around you in traffic that you wanted to report it to the police? I’m sure that we’ve all felt that way at one time or another but haven’t followed through because we didn’t know if it was worthwhile or if anything would happen to the offending driver if we did. Here is what you need to know in order to make an effective driving complaint to police in BC.

Probably the single most important piece of information to gather is the license plate number of the offending vehicle. Write it down and keep the paper that you wrote it on to refer to later in court. At the very least, this is all that the police need to start an investigation with. Details of the who, what, where, when and why come next. The more you can recall and provide to the investigator the more likely that the investigation will result in charges against the offending driver. Like the license plate number, write these down at the first possible opportunity so that they will not be forgotten.

If the driving behaviour is serious and could result in immediate harm to others call 911 and make the report immediately. If this is not the case, a call to the police non-emergency number for the area the incident occurred in as soon as reasonably possible is sufficient. After you have provided the particulars of your case, ask for and record the file number of your complaint. All complaints are given a file number and this is what you will need if you follow up on your complaint at a later date.

There are three levels of involvement in a driving complaint. From least effective to most effective, they are:

  1. You report the incident as an anonymous complainant
  2. You report the incident, identify yourself, but decline to become involved any further.
  3. You report the incident, identify yourself and commit to attending court if necessary.

If you report as an anonymous complainant, all that the police can do is patrol the area of your complaint and react to something that they see the suspect vehicle do, if anything. This type of complaint is usually assigned a low priority.

If you identify yourself but decline a court appearance, the police can patrol for and try to intercept the vehicle as they would for an anonymous complaint. If it is found the driver can be advised of the complaint and cautioned about their driving. If the registered owner is not driving or the vehicle is not located, police may choose to send a cautionary letter to them advising how their vehicle was being used and leaving it up to them to deal with the driver.

If you identify yourself and commit to a court appearance if necessary, patrols will be made and an investigation started. You will be asked for a written statement of the details of the incident. This importance of this is twofold, the police have full details of the incident recorded and you have an accepted method of refreshing your memory for court purposes.

When I started an investigation like this, I would identify the registered owner of the offending vehicle and visit them personally. I would advise them that their vehicle had been involved in a breach of the Motor Vehicle Act and require them to identify the driver to me. Failing to do this is an offence, even if it is the registered owner who was driving at the time. I now had a driver I could deal with directly or I could charge the registered owner for the original offence and failing to identify the driver.

My next step was to speak with the driver. I would outline the complaint to them, advise them that they did not have to say anything in response, but if they chose to explain I would listen and possibly choose to use the explanation in court if it came to that point. At this point in the investigation, I now had to decide on the success of a prosecution if I charged the offending driver. If there was a substantial possibility of conviction I would charge (usually by way of a violation ticket). If not, I would caution the driver if it was appropriate.

In either case, I would then call the complainant back and tell them what had occurred.

If the offending driver was charged it did not always result in a dispute and court appearance for the complainant. These incidents usually involved driving behaviour that was significantly out of the ordinary and many of the tickets were paid or ignored and subsequently deemed convicted when 30 days had passed from the date of issue.

When the ticket is disputed, you can at the very least expect a telephone call from the investigator telling you when and where the dispute will be held if you don’t receive a paper subpoena. Take your notes with you on the court day and be a few minutes early to deal with parking, finding the courtroom and speaking with the investigator who will most likely also be the prosecutor. When the case is called, you will be asked to recount the incident to the court, and then answer any questions from the prosecutor and then the accused or their lawyer.

That’s all there is to it. Even though the formal atmosphere of the court can be intimidating, if you relax it is not an unpleasant experience. Once you have testified, you may sit in the court and watch the rest of the proceedings, including the court’s decision on the guilt of the offending driver. If they are convicted, you will know the penalty. If not, you.

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible for conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

www.drivesmartbc.ca

#DriveSmartBC – Stay Between the Lines

 

Traffic IslandOne sure sign of growing up when we were young was the ability to use our crayons and colour between the lines. An important skill for a “grown-up” driver is also the ability to stay between the lines. Judging by the e-mails that I continually receive from readers who state that this is their main pet peeve, there is a sizable number of drivers out there who need to do a bit more skill improvement.

Staying centered in your lane is not difficult. Here’s a beginner’s tip from the Tuning Up Guide:

The first thing you may notice as you begin driving in moderate traffic is that you have to stay in the centre of your lane. To start with, this is no easy task. The magic rule: look the way you want to go. If you keep looking 12 seconds ahead down the centre of the lane, your peripheral vision will help you centre yourself.

If you haven’t been on the inside of a curve lately and met an oncoming driver part way over the center line into your lane, a quick look at the lines painted on the road will tell you that many tires have passed over the paint and worn it away.

It shouldn’t matter if you cross over the lines when no one is coming should it? Well, it’s both illegal in that situation and will end up in a collision the first time you fail to see the oncoming vehicle. It will be really interesting if that driver is doing the same thing!

Perhaps more common still is the encroachment onto the shoulder when drivers go around a corner. This territory is the domain of pedestrians and cyclists, your vehicle does not belong there. It’s hardly likely that you would be injured or killed in a collision here but the same cannot be said for the unprotected shoulder users.

Should vehicles have to become smarter than their drivers? Your next new vehicle may have lane keeping assist to help you stay where you are supposed to be.

One side effect of this safety feature will be enforcement of signalling lane changes. If you fail to signal your lane change, the system will see this as a drift to one side and will take action to alert you.

Here in Canada, winter snow hides the lines on the road. Unless it is unsafe to do, your guide is the tire tracks left by the vehicles that have already been driven there.

So, show a little pride in your ability to be a mature, skillful driver. Keep your vehicle inside that 3.6 meter wide space between the lines. This will also show your respect for other road users and help to keep them safe. If you cannot, it’s time to put your crayons back in the box and let someone else do the driving.

References:

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible for conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

www.drivesmartbc.ca

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