Dash Cams May Help You Keep Your Auto Insurance Rates Low

By Andrew Lo – Chief Marketing Officer for Kanetix.ca

Car dash cams have captured some jaw-dropping footage on Canadian roads: near misses, collisions, road rage and examples of bad driving, to name just a few. There is no shortage of videos. But for drivers with a dash cam in their car, it’s often more than just another gadget to film your drive and catch other drivers behaving poorly. It’s viewed as an added security feature that leads many people to wonder: does having a dash cam in your car help lower your auto insurance rates?

Are there auto insurance discounts if your car is equipped with a dash cam?

Currently, there is no auto insurance discount in Canada for having a dash cam installed in your car. Nevertheless, that hasn’t stopped many Canadian drivers from getting them. According to a recent Kanetix.ca survey, one in 10 drivers (nine per cent) already drive a car equipped with a dashboard camera and more than one-quarter (26 per cent) said that while they don’t currently have a dash cam in their car, they think it’s a good idea.

It’s also an idea that isn’t cost prohibitive. Dash cams typically range in price from about $100 to as much as $500, but for many drivers, they’re well worth the investment.

Reasonable doubt: The benefits of dash cams

Although there is no car insurance discounts for dash cams in Canada, the good news is that a dash cam may be able to help you keep your car insurance rates low. The footage could go a long way in the insurance claims process should it prove you were not at fault for a collision that you would otherwise be found to have caused. Many collisions come down to one person’s word against another’s and with dash cam footage, it’s easier to identify — and prove — what truly took place.

Additionally, a dash cam can also provide reliable details about the circumstances of a crash. Were there passengers in the car? Where were they seated? Those are details that, during a stressful time, may be easy to overlook or forgotten after the fact. Dash cams can also come in handy if the other driver decides to flee, as there’s a good chance the licence plate number and description of the vehicle would be caught on tape.

“Many collisions come down to one person’s word against another’s and with dash cam footage, it’s easier to identify — and prove — what truly took place.”

Finally, dash cams can record more than just your drive into the office, it can also keep an eye on your car when it’s parked. There are dash cams available that have a parking mode that records when the vehicle is not in use, giving you footage if someone vandalizes your car or tries to steal it.

Dash cams and distracted driving

If you have a dash cam, or plan to get one, it’s important to set it and forget it. Install the dash cam in a location that does not obstruct your line of sight while driving and keep your eyes and hands off it too. They last thing you want to do is run the risk of getting a ticket for distracted driving, which in Ontario, comes with a hefty fine of at least $490. Besides, the whole point of having a dash cam is to provide added security and protection in the event of a collision, not cause one.

The future of dash cams

With 35 per cent of Canadian drivers either already having a dash cam in their car, or thinking it’s a good idea, the popularity of dash cams cannot be denied. And if one day it’s proven that a dash cam can lessen the likelihood of insurance scams, deter theft and improve road safety, perhaps then one day they’ll be standard in new vehicles, just like rear backup cameras. Only time will tell.

Source: Huffington Post

Important information for ICBC customers affected by B.C.’s wildfires

With the province under a state of emergency due to the hundreds of wildfires in progress throughout B.C., ICBC is advising customers to protect their vehicles and important documents and to avoid driving near impacted areas.

For customers on evacuation alert:

  • Pack all essential ID and documents in preparation for an evacuation. These documents include your B.C. driver’s licence, B.C. identification card, B.C. Services Card, passport, original birth certificate, marriage certificate and Canadian citizenship documentation. It’s also a good idea to have a copy of your vehicle registration and Autoplan insurance policy.

  • Customers may purchase a temporary operating permit to move an uninsured vehicle to safety.

  • It’s not possible to purchase comprehensive or specified perils insurance coverage once you have been put on evacuation alert. However, once out of the evacuation zone, comprehensive or specified perils may be purchased for your vehicle.

For customers with claims:

  • Customers with insurance claims related to a fire will be dealt with on a priority basis. To make a claim, you can file online at icbc.com or call ICBC’s Dial-a-Claim at 1-800-910-4222, which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

ICBC closures:

  • For updated service information, visit ICBC’s locator or call before visiting.

Vehicle coverage:

  • ICBC customers who have purchased a storage policy or comprehensive or specified perils coverage from ICBC, can be rest assured that their vehicles will be covered in the event of damage from a fire.

  • If you and your vehicle are not affected by an evacuation alert or evacuation order, you can purchase ICBC insurance without any fire-related restrictions. Comprehensive or specified perils insurance coverage is recommended.

  • Do not store valuables in your vehicle as these items are not covered by vehicle insurance.

For all other customers:

  • Autoplan brokers outside the evacuated areas remain open for business to support customers through these tough times.

  • ICBC’s customer service contact centre is available to answer questions at 1-800-663-3051.

  • Customers are reminded that if their insurance is about to expire, they can renew their policies up to a month before the expiration date.

Driving tips:

  • Avoid driving near affected regions. Forest fires can spread quickly. If a road is marked closed, do not continue. Back up and use another route.

  • For evacuation alerts and orders, check Emergency Info B.C.’s website. For road conditions, visit at DriveBC.ca

‘Like bombs’: Bankrupt company’s air bags still out there

‘Like bombs’: Bankrupt company’s air bags still out there

By Tom Krisher, Dee-Ann Durbin And Mari Yamaguchi

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Takata’s lethally defective air bags proved to be the company’s undoing Monday. But it could take years to get the dangerous devices off the road in the U.S. and around the world.

Crushed by lawsuits, fines and recall costs, the Japanese auto parts supplier filed for bankruptcy in Tokyo and Delaware and will sell most of its assets for $1.6 billion to a rival company. A small part of Takata will continue to manufacture replacements for the faulty air bag inflators.

The problem, though, is that 100 million of the Takata inflators worldwide have been recalled, 69 million in the U.S. alone in the biggest automotive recall in American history. It will take the industry years to produce that many replacements.

In the meantime, millions of car owners are forced to nervously wait for someone to fix a problem blamed for at least 16 grisly deaths worldwide, 11 of them in the United States. Many owners have been put on waiting lists by their dealers until the parts arrive.

“The big problem is the air bags are still out there. They’re like bombs waiting to explode,” said Billie-Marie Morrison, the lawyer for a young Las Vegas woman grievously injured by an exploding air bag in March.

In fact, the last batch of U.S. repairs is not scheduled to begin until September 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is overseeing the recall.

“I don’t think I have any options,” lamented Marv Muller, the owner of a 2009 Subaru Impreza. “It’s really bad.”

Muller, a recruiter in New York, received a letter in January saying his car needed to have its passenger air bag repaired. He contacted a Subaru dealer, only to be told it didn’t have the parts.

He was put on a waiting list and told he would have his car repaired in June. It hasn’t happened yet.

In the U.S., more than 16 million inflators have been repaired so far, or 38 per cent of the total. In Japan, 70 per cent have been replaced, according to Takata. That’s partly because Japan won’t renew vehicle registrations unless recalls have been completed.

Because of the type of chemical propellant used by Takata, the defective air bags can inflate with too much force and spew deadly shrapnel at drivers and passengers. Takata sold the inflators to 19 automakers, including Toyota, Subaru, BMW, Honda, Ford and Nissan.

Takata’s bankruptcy filing clears the way for most of its assets to be taken over by Key Safety Systems, a Chinese-owned company based in suburban Detroit.

Takata President Shigehisa Takada said that with the company rapidly losing value, fiing for bankruptcy was the only way it could carry on.

“We’re in a very difficult situation, and we had to find ways to keep supplying our products,” Takada said.

Victims and their families fear the bankruptcy filing could leave little money left over to compensate them. Earlier this year, Takata pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges and agreed to pay $1 billion for concealing the defect for years. The penalties include $850 million in restitution to automakers, $125 million for victims and families and a $25 million criminal fine.

“Filing for bankruptcy is going to protect Takata financially, but it’s not going to protect drivers who have been injured or are going to be injured,” Morrison said.

Morrison’s 19-year-old client Karina Dorado was injured when the air bag in her 2002 Honda Accord deployed during an otherwise minor crash. Morrison said Dorado underwent several operations to repair neck and vocal cord injuries, but her voice will never sound the same.

Dorado’s car was found to have a defective Takata air bag that had been taken from another vehicle.

That illustrates another one of the headaches for regulators and automakers, who may never be able to trace all of the inflators that need to be repaired.

Lawmakers say the U.S. government needs to do a better job of ensuring the vehicles are fixed. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, pointed out that the Trump administration has yet to appoint someone to lead NHTSA.

In a statement, NHTSA said it has been assured by Takata that the bankruptcy won’t disrupt the flow of repair parts

The safety agency is also making sure older cars are fixed first, since the chemical Takata used in the air bags, ammonium nitrate, degrades over time, especially in hot, humid climates.

That worries Angela Dickie, 47, of Charleston, South Carolina, who owns a 2012 Volkswagen Passat with a Takata air bag.

While her vehicle is not as old as the 2001-03 model year vehicles that are considered a priority for repairs, it still makes Dickie nervous to drive it. She said Volkswagen also refused to provide her with a rental car while she waits for a repair.

“By the grace of God I drive the vehicle every day, just like every other person that has these vehicles, because we don’t have an option,” she said.

Go! It’s an Acceleration Lane…

Acceleration LaneI saw it again the other day, a driver who was stopped at the beginning of an acceleration lane patiently signalling and looking for a large gap to join in with the passing traffic. Before you make a comment about gray hair, this could just as easily have been a new driver. I couldn’t tell as I drove past at 90 km/h.

Acceleration lanes are designed to give drivers the time and space to merge smoothly with traffic on the highway without causing other drivers to alter position or speed.

Generally, you may anticipate an acceleration lane when the right turn bay is not marked with a yield sign.

The Learn to Drive Smart guide tells us that we should scan traffic to our left as we use the entrance ramp. Match the speed of traffic on the highway as you use the portion of the acceleration lane marked with a single solid white line on the left. Once you reach the area marked with a single broken white line on the left, merge into the space that you have selected.

Be wary of cyclists! This can be a time when you have many tasks to process at once and a bicycle may be more difficult to see in the stream of vehicular traffic.

Of course, if your vehicle is equipped with signal lights, this is a good time to use them. While it may seem obvious, you will be changing lanes so it is mandatory to signal even if there is no other traffic present.

Due to the higher speeds usually involved here, using your observation skills is key. Look as far forward and back as you are able to in order to gauge the traffic you will have to merge into.

Scan to the rear and sides frequently and carefully, being especially aware of your own and other driver’s blind spots.

Finally, check your speed as it can be easy to accelerate too much without realising.

The aim in the successful use of acceleration lanes is to give yourself the longest possible time to react if things do not go as planned. Scanning increases your awareness and that serves to increase your safety.

Let’s go back to me driving past before we finish here. The driver I observed stopped in the acceleration lane was a strong indication that they might be confused. Moving into the left lane if possible would be the smart thing to do. Maintaining your space cushion will protect you from that driver if they make another mistake and pull into the lane in front of you.

One in Five Fatal Ontario Road Crashes Involves a Transport Truck

Source: Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)

Operation Corridor Targeting Commercial Transport Trucks

Transport truck-related collisions continue to take a significant toll on human life on Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)-patrolled roads, with one in five road crashes involving large commercial vehicles.

The OPP is launching its annual Operation Corridor campaign to shed more light on the prevalence of transport trucks and their impact on other road users.

Among the 1,342 fatal motor vehicle collisions on OPP-patrolled roads between 2012 and 2016, 266 involved transport trucks. During the same five-year period, 330 people died — the majority of victims were occupants of other involved vehicles.  According to OPP data, 44 of the crash victims were drivers of the transport trucks, compared to 286 victims who were in cars and other smaller vehicles.

More recent data reveals that over the past three years, a significant number of collisions were caused by transport trucks in poor operating condition.  Between July 2014 and June 2017, 344 collisions involved defective transport trucks, 6 (six) of which were fatal and 37 of which resulted in injuries.

Damaged axles, blown tires or detached wheels, faulty brakes, defective hitches and unsecured loads are just some of the many factors in truck-related crashes. At times, unsecured loads or truck equipment flying into the path of other vehicles produced tragic consequences.

While the OPP sees many safe transport truck drivers on Ontario roads, those who are not safe have far greater potential to cause death in the event of a collision than drivers of smaller vehicles.  Serious crashes often result in hours-long highway closures and traffic delays as police carry out collision investigations and clear these large vehicles from the road.

This year’s Operation Corridor campaign runs from June 15 to June 16, 2017.

QUOTE

“A lot can go wrong when large commercial transport trucks are not driven safely or have unsecure loads and defective equipment. Our data shows that the outcome for other vehicle occupants involved in transport truck-related collisions is often fatal and catastrophic. For this reason, Operation Corridor is an important campaign to ensure transport truck drivers are safely operating and diligently maintaining their rigs at all times”.
– OPP Chief Superintendent Chuck Cox, Divisional Commander, Highway Safety Division.

SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police

For further information: Contacts by Region: Highway Safety Division: Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, Phone: (416) 460-4701; Central Region: A/Sgt. Mark Kinney, Phone: (705) 330-3738; East Region: A/Sgt. Angie Atkinson, Phone: (613) 285-2750; Northwest Region: Sgt. Shelley Garr, Phone: (807) 473-2734; North East Region: Sgt. Carolle Dionne, Phone: (705) 498-1201; West Region: Sgt. Dave Rektor, Phone: (519) 652-4156

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