CAA and the Provincial Towing Association (Ontario) working towards safer roads

In an effort to improve road safety, CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO) and the Provincial Towing Association (Ontario) are reminding drivers to make space for tow trucks stopped on the shoulder of the highway providing service.

The reminder comes ahead of the one-year anniversary of changes to the province’s Slow Down, Move Over law, and coincides with the launch of Tow Safety Week. CAA clubs in Ontario have actively advocated since 2010 for tow trucks to be included alongside fire, ambulance and police services. In 2015, the move over law was amended to include tow trucks parked on the roadside with their amber lights flashing.

“At CAA, we believe everyone deserves a safe place to work, even at the side of the road. Ontario’s roads and highways are the workplace for emergency service providers and tow truck drivers, and they are often left with little room to work. Many times, they are inches or feet away from traffic travelling at high speeds,” said Cindy Hillaby, Vice President Membership and Automotive Services, CAA SCO.

“Tow truck operators can face significant risk while stopped to assist at the roadside. This is why we included them in the move over law along with other emergency responders like police and fire services,” said Daiene Vernile, MPP & Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation.

Last year, the Ontario Provincial Police laid a total of 2,031 charges under Ontario’s move over law. The law includes a fine range of $400 to $2,000 and three demerit points.

Whether involved in a collision or experiencing a mechanical breakdown, motorists should be aware of their rights before authorizing a tow.

“It’s important for drivers to ask questions before any work is done. Make sure the towing company can provide a rate card and has appropriate insurance coverage. Always let the tow operator know where to drop off your vehicle and ask for a detailed invoice listing the services provided and the costs,” said Joey Gagne, President, Provincial Towing Association (Ontario).

Today marks the start of the PTAO’s 18th annual Tow Show at Markham Fair Grounds. (August 26 – 27) New provincial towing regulations will be top of mind for attendees. Effective January 1, 2017, tow truck operators in Ontario will be required to have a Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration certificate.

As a leader and advocate for road safety and mobility, CAA South Central Ontario is a not-for-profit auto club which represents the interests of 2 million members. For over a century, CAA has collaborated with communities, police services and governments to help keep drivers and their families safe while travelling on our roads.

Follow @CAASCO_News on Twitter for regular updates on wait times, other news and information.

SOURCE CAA South Central Ontario

Saskatchewan law enforcement issued 113 tickets in work zones in July

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July’s traffic safety spotlight focused on work zones and aggressive driving. Law enforcement issued 113 tickets in work zones and 5,338 other speeding/aggressive driving-related tickets last month throughout Saskatchewan1:

Tickets in work zones:

  • 101 tickets for exceeding 60 km/h while passing highway workers or occupied highway equipment within a work zone
  • 6 tickets for speeding in construction zones where flag person is present
  • 2 tickets for exceeding 60 km/h when passing occupied highway equipment
  • 1 ticket for exceeding 60 km/h while passing highway equipment with warning lights in operation
  • 3 tickets for failing to obey the direction of a flag person or peace officer

Other tickets related to speeding/aggressive driving:

  • 414 tickets for exceeding posted speed limit by 35 km/h
  • 60 tickets for exceeding posted speed limit by 50 km/h
  • 6 tickets for driving at least twice the posted speed limit
  • 261 tickets for exceeding 60 km/h when passing emergency vehicles and tow trucks with lights activated
  • 4,597other speed-related offences

There were also 338 impaired driving-related offences, 318 tickets for distracted driving (185 of those for cellphone use) and 447 tickets for not using a seatbelt or the appropriate car seat or booster seat.

Speeding and other aggressive driving behaviours increase risks in work zones as workers are present, there are additional road hazards and traffic can slow or stop suddenly. Drivers are reminded to slow down, increase following distance and decrease distractions.

Find more information on work zones and speeding.

SGI and law enforcement continue to focus on sharing the road with commercial drivers for the month of August. Follow SGI on Facebook and Twitter for tips on how to #TakeCareOutThere with other road users.

About SGI

Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) is the province’s self-sustaining auto insurance fund. SGI operates 21 claims centres and five salvage centres across Saskatchewan with a head office in Regina. SGI also works with a network of nearly 400 motor licence issuers across the province. Customers can now do some transactions online. Look for the MySGI link underOnline Services on your motor licence issuer’s website or SGI’s website.

• • •

Consumer Warning – Brampton Dealer No Longer Licensed to Sell Vehicles

OMVIC, Ontario’s vehicle sales regulator, is warning consumers not to purchase or lease vehicles from, or sell or consign vehicles to, Club Autohaus Inc., 14 Stafford Drive, Brampton or its sole officer and director Ravinder Gawri.

According to OMVIC, the dealership’s registration lapsed June 3, 2016 and the regulator has issued a Proposal to Refuse to Renew the dealer’s registration, due to concerns about the dealership’s financial integrity and inspection results that found the dealer failed to properly disclose numerous vehicles it sold were rebuilt insurance write-offs. Note: the Proposal is appealable to Ontario’s Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT).

Despite the termination of the dealer’s licence, OMVIC has learned Club Autohaus Inc. has allegedly continued to sell vehicles. “Our Complaints Team has heard from a number of consumers who claim they recently gave Club Autohaus deposits on vehicles,” explainedLaura Halbert, OMVIC’s Director of Compliance. “However, because the dealership is no longer licensed, it cannot transfer the ownership of vehicles; therefore, the purchasers did not take delivery and Club Autohaus has allegedly refused to return their deposits.” It is important to note that consumers who purchase vehicles from an unregistered seller may not have access to the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund. The Fund protects consumers who suffer a financial loss (of up to $45,000) as a result of a trade (purchase/lease/sale/consignment) with a registered dealer.

Consumers or other dealers with information or questions about Club Autohaus are asked to contact OMVIC’s Complaints and Inquiries Team, said Halbert. “If a consumer has been harmed financially, he or she may be able to file a claim with the Compensation Fund.”

OMVIC’s Complaints and Inquiries Team can be reached at 1-800-943-6002×5105, or by email at consumers@omvic.on.ca.

About Dealer/Salesperson Registration

Ontario’s Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) requires that all vehicle dealers and salespeople be registered with OMVIC, that they abide by the MVDA and Code of Ethics and that they conduct business with honesty, integrity and in accordance with the law.

Dealer and salesperson registration can be easily verified on OMVIC’s website, or by calling OMVIC directly.

About OMVIC

OMVIC (Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council) administers and enforces the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA) on behalf of theMinistry of Government and Consumer Services. OMVIC maintains a fair and informed vehicle sales marketplace by regulating dealers and salespersons, regularly inspecting Ontario’s 8,000 dealerships and 27,000 salespeople, maintaining a complaint line for consumers and conducting investigations and prosecutions (or discipline proceedings) of industry misconduct and illegal sales (curbsiding). OMVIC is also responsible for administering the Motor Vehicle Dealers Compensation Fund on behalf of its Board of Trustees.

SOURCE Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC)

Image with caption: “OMVIC – Ontario’s vehicle sales regulator (CNW Group/Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council (OMVIC))”. Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160823_C2891_PHOTO_EN_758017.jpg

For further information: Terry O’Keefe, Director of Communications, 416-226-4500×3525, Terry.OKeefe@omvic.on.ca; Sarah Choudhury, Senior Communications Officer, 416-226-4500×3172, Sarah.Choudhury@omvic.on.ca; Hassaan Shahid, Communications Officer, 416-226-4500×3185, Hassaan.Shahid@omvic.on.ca

Security experts: Remotes are hackable on many vehicles

By David McHugh

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

FRANKFURT _ A group of computer security experts say they figured out how to hack the keyless entry systems used on millions of cars, meaning that thieves could in theory break and steal items without leaving a broken window.

The experts say that remote entry systems on millions of cars made by Volkswagen since 1995 can be cloned to permit unauthorized access to the car’s interior.

The same experts say another system used by other brands including Ford, General Motor’s Opel and Chevrolet and Renault can also be defeated.

In a paper to be delivered Friday at the Usenix security conference in Austin, Texas, the authors say a thief could use commonly available equipment to intercept entry codes as they are transmitted by radio frequency, and then use that information to clone another remote so the car could be opened.

Volkswagen said its latest models such as the Golf, Tiguan, Touran and Passat were not affected. It said it was having a “constructive exchange” with the experts aimed at improving security technology.

“The bar for theft prevention is constantly being raised, but ultimately there is no comprehensive guarantee for security,” the company said in a statement.

The paper leaves out key details on how to perform the hack but says the codes can be intercepted with commercially available equipment.

“It is unclear whether such attacks… are currently carried out in the wild by criminals,” the report says.  “However, there have been various media reports about unexplained theft from locked vehicles in the last years.”

The report did not establish the exact number of cars that use the vulnerable systems.

General Motors said that it  “does not consider this item to be a significant risk to customers due to the technical sophistication of the demonstration and the very limited circumstances under which the demonstration can be carried out.”

The company added that “the issue in question does not impact the operation of the vehicle or the safety of its occupants.”

The report authors said that insurance companies might have to accept that car theft scenarios that would otherwise be considered insurance fraud have a higher probability of being genuine. The only surefire countermeasure, they said, would be to stop using the remote and fall back on the mechanical lock using the conventional metal key.

canada-press

Drivers still liable in accidents, even in near driverless cars, says law firm

By Terry Pedwell

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA _ Until Canadians own cars that truly drive themselves, they can forget getting off the legal hook if they’re in an accident with a vehicle that still has a steering wheel, suggests a report from Canada’s biggest law firm.

Under Canada’s common-law legal system, driving in semi-autonomous mode isn’t much different than operating a vehicle with cruise control, says the brief issued by Borden Ladner Gervais.

“As long as a driver with some ability to assume or resume control of the vehicle is present, there would seem to be a continuing basis for driver negligence and liability as they presently exist,” said the report entitled Autonomous Vehicles, Revolutionizing Our World, published this week on the firm’s website.

The report comes as the federal government contemplates developing regulations for automated vehicles. Ottawa set aside $7.3 million over two years in the spring budget to improve motor vehicle safety, with part of that money earmarked for developing new rules for self-driving cars.

But until fully autonomous vehicles hit the consumer market, there’s not much need to enact new laws, says BLG partner and report author Kevin LaRoche.

“With regards to driver liability, common law, coupled with the current legislation, may be sufficient to address liability involving all levels of autonomous vehicles, short of fully autonomous vehicles which do not require any level of human control,” LaRoche wrote.

“For fully autonomous vehicles, it would seem that legislative amendments would be required to clarify whether the owner would be vicariously liable and under what circumstances.”

Several jurisdictions have allowed testing of fully autonomous cars, buses and trucks. Ontario launched a program in January under specific restrictions _ to let auto manufacturers and high-tech companies try out their driverless inventions on the province’s roadways. None of the carmakers had applied for a testing permit under the program as of early July.

But with semi-autonomous vehicles such as the Tesla Model S already being sold to consumers, few jurisdictions have yet put legislative parentheses around where, when and how to drive them.

Ontario uses the SAE Standard to define categories of self-driveability on a scale from zero to five, with zero representing no automation features and five being full automation.

Category three vehicles are those considered to operate with conditional automation that requires a driver to pay attention to the road and take over control if the vehicle encounters a problem that can’t be handled fully by automated systems.

Category four vehicles would still have a human “driver,” but wouldn’t necessarily need the human to take over the controls in a pinch.

Germany’s federal transport ministry said recently it was working on a draft law to govern SAE level three and four cars.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the United States is working on new guidelines, but currently regulates autonomous vehicles under a slightly different system that was adopted in 2013.

Regardless of which scale is used, unless the car has no steering wheel, the driver will always face potential liability in an accident, with the scope depending on the circumstances of the mishap, said BLG partner Robert Love.

“There’s always going to be, we believe, that element of saying, ‘Did the driver act appropriately, prudently, in the circumstances of either engaging or disengaging whatever feature it happens to be?”’ said Love.

It will be up to Canadian judges to decide, however, who is ultimately responsible for causing an accident in Canada _ and that could also include the carmaker, he said.

Lawyers and legislators in the U.S. may already have their first test case in Florida following a recent fatal crash involving a Tesla and a tractor-trailer.

While investigators have revealed few details about the exact circumstances of the crash, there have been reports that the driver may have been distracted by a movie playing in his car.

The question for a judge may ultimately revolve around whether the driver was at fault for failing to pay attention to road hazards, or whether the sensors connected to the Tesla’s autopilot system failed to detect the white truck as it turned into the path of the car.

And it’ll be the judge who ends up portioning the blame, if there is any to be had, LaRoche predicted.

“Both parties will ultimately be before the court.”

canada-press

Solving Your Road Safety Problem

WD-101_Const._Ahead.thumbnailEveryone would like to feel safe in their neighbourhood and that extends to having everyone else obey the driving rules when they are in it. So, what do you do when this is not the case? The answer depends on how much you want to become involved in the solution.

Years of contact with people through this site has taught me that most people either want a sympathetic ear to listen to their complaint or expect someone else, most often the police, to solve the problem after being notified about it. These people do not want to become involved beyond this point, after providing the information it is now an issue for someone else to solve.

Drawing the attention of road safety authorities to a problem is the right place to start though. You have intimate knowledge of your neighbourhood and it’s problems because you live there. You know how often drivers don’t follow the speed limit, don’t stop for stop signs and where the common crash locations are.

The best way to make general complaints is in writing. Although the default agency is often the police, your local MLA, the road maintenance contractor or the district office of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure may be a better choice, depending on the problem. Provide them with a comprehensive description of the problem as you see it including as much detail as you are able to.

I still admire the initiative one man took to measure speeding vehicles that passed his home. He measured the distance between two telephone poles beside the highway that were visible from his kitchen window. When he had a few spare minutes, he’d sit at the kitchen table with a stopwatch and measure the time between poles for passing traffic. That time was easily turned into a speed that he recorded along with when it occurred. He now had accurate information that he could present to police that backed up his opinion.

You could choose to make an appointment with the local manager of the appropriate service and present your issue personally. The manager will then have a person to go with the complaint that could serve to make it more immediate. Discuss the problems, the possible solutions and obtain a commitment to do something.

Follow up on the commitment after a reasonable time. If some action has been taken you have started down the road to a solution. If not, find out why, as this is important to your next step if you choose to continue to obtain a solution.

If the Ministry does not have the budget for an improvement or the police don’t have the manpower for more frequent patrols, this is an issue to solve along the way, not an excuse for failing to take action.

The internet can be a gold mine for those who want to make a difference. Chances are good that someone else has had the same problem and may already have a reasonable solution. You could join or create a group and lobby more effectively. If you are careful of the source, it is also a great place to do research and learn more about your issue which may provide a path to a solution.

Generally, problems do not go away by themselves. Complain constructively and be a part of the solution. Also, make sure that you are not part of the problem, in your neighbourhood or someone else’s.

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 of 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.

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