Canada: Insurance Institute releases report on automated vehicles

Canada: Insurance Institute releases report on automated vehicles

As semi-automated and fully-autonomous vehicles make their way to Canadian roads, accountability is something more and more people are beginning to question.

If a driver is not really driving, then who is held at fault in an accident? Over the next 10 years, the insurance industry will be asking itself this question along with many more.

The Insurance Institute’s recently released report, Automated Vehicles: Implications for the Insurance Industry in Canada, assesses the future of automated vehicles in Canada over the next 5-10 years and asks questions just like this.

It’s clear that as technology progresses, it is not the physical capabilities of autonomous vehicles that will be open for debate. Rather, it will be the legislation that goes along with them.

The Insurance Institute of Canada says the report is a “call to action for Canada’s insurance industry to become engaged in discussions with automakers, regulators, and others who will influence the introduction of semi-automated and self-driving vehicles in Canada, and to become a champion for the expected reduction in traffic fatalities and serious injuries.”

The report looks into how autonomous vehicles will impact road safety, road infrastructure, as well as insurance premiums and policy coverage. It also discusses how autonomous vehicles will lower traffic injuries and fatalities in what the report calls the greatest change in the automotive industry since the introduction of motor vehicles.

You can read more and download the full report here.

Source: AutoServiceWorld

Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving begins development of National Action Plan

Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving begins development of National Action Plan

The newly-created Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving (CCDD) has wrapped up its first ever meeting, a two-day working session in Ottawa where it began work on creating a National Action Plan to combat distracted driving. An initiative of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), Drop It And Drive and The Co-operators, the CCDD is the first coalition of its kind in Canada. The multi-sectoral group includes members from various levels of government, enforcement, academia, health, industry and communities. Their expertise is varied, including road safety research, injury prevention and health care, policy, enforcement, as well as the insurance, automotive and trucking industries.

At the meeting, a number of options were discussed and considered for possible inclusion in the National Action Plan. These included the identification of priority data and indicators that represent an important step forward in improving understanding of the issue. Other activities that received attention included an inventory of educational campaign materials and a resource centre to support agency efforts to raise awareness about the problem, particularly at a community level. The development of tools to inform industries about distracted driving’s impacts and facilitate leadership in the development of distracted driving policies was also a top priority.

“As a member of the Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario understands the importance of tackling this problem in our province and across the country.  Sharing strategies and data will assist us all in addressing this increasingly significant issue,” said John Lefebvre, Manager, Special Projects, Safety Policy & Education Branch, Ministry of Transportation of Ontario.

As part of its Drive Out Distraction program, The Co-operators entered into a partnership with TIRF aimed at reducing the incidence of distracted driving in Canada. In December, they released Distracted Driving in Canada: Making Progress, Taking Action, which provides a snapshot of the many initiatives across the country to address the problem. The report identified the need for a national action plan and recommended the creation of a national working group. This led to the establishment of the CCDD, which plans to release a national action plan later this year.

Also, as part of this partnership, TIRF will create a public online repository of data, information and resources that can serve as an easily accessible tool for stakeholders and others with an interest in the issue.

“The complexity of the distracted driving problem makes it a challenge to change behaviour, so it is critical that we invest time, energy and resources to develop an informed and evidence-based plan that is achievable, and that more importantly contributes to behaviour change,” said Robyn Robertson, President & CEO of TIRF.  “The diversity of agencies that are participating in the Coalition speaks not only to the pervasiveness and seriousness of this issue, but also to their commitment to sharing expertise to find the most effective ways to keep Canadians safe.”

Distracted driving is widely considered a top priority by provincial and territorial governments and they, along with non-profits, researchers, industry and the media are engaged in activities designed to address the issue. However, there is currently no efficient means of exchanging information and outcomes at the national level, and coordination across the various groups of stakeholders is lacking. These are matters the national action plan will address.

“The Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving brings together an impressive group of professionals who are committed to understanding the problem and taking action to reduce the number of unnecessary injuries and deaths on our roads,” said Kathy Bardswick, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “What the national action plan will do is promote better information-sharing and coordination across jurisdictions and between stakeholders, to ultimately enhance the effectiveness of our collective efforts to combat this significant societal issue.”

About the Traffic Injury Research Foundation:
The mission of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) is to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries. TIRF is an independent, charitable road safety research institute. Since its inception in 1964, TIRF has become internationally recognized for its accomplishments in identifying the causes of road crashes and developing programs and policies to address them effectively.

About Drop It And Drive:
Drop It And Drive (DIAD) is a national British Columbia-based organization that has presented its reality-based workshops to more than 50,000 students, faculty and workers in Canada and the United States since their launch in late 2010. Its mission is to prevent injuries and fatalities caused by distracted driving, distractions in the workplace and distracted walking. It actively promotes the need for societal change in order to effectively address road, pedestrian and workplace safety.

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $40 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products.

The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean’s magazine. For more information visit

SOURCE The Co-operators

Imagine your fully autonomous self-driving car totals a minivan. Who pays for the damages?

Imagine your fully autonomous self-driving car totals a minivan. Who pays for the damages?

By Ethan Baron,

“There wouldn’t be any liability on you because you’re just like a passenger in a taxi,” says Santa Clara University law professor Robert Peterson. Instead, the manufacturer of your car or its software would probably be on the hook.

But imagine the same scenario, with a self-driving car that’s slightly less evolved and requires driver intervention in emergencies. If you didn’t take control when called upon, you could be on the hook for damages. Or you could end up in court fighting to prove the car did wrong, not you.

The takeover of the nation’s roads by driverless vehicles is underway but paved with uncertainty. As automated-driving technology takes hold, virtually everything around car insurance is expected to change, from who owns the vehicles to who must carry insurance to who — or what — is held responsible for causing damage, injuries and death in an accident.

This revolution won’t happen all at once. Google is track-testing fully autonomous cars with no steering wheels or brake pedals, but those remain illegal on public roads. Other carmakers, such as Tesla, with its autopilot mode, and Volvo, with its safe-distance and lane-keeping systems, are already putting semiautonomous vehicles on roadways across America.

“It’s sort of an incremental development on the road to where cars can drive themselves,” said Robert Passmore, assistant vice-president of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America.

That means insurance issues may initially grow more complex — but possibly much simpler later on when human-caused accidents mostly disappear. “This changes the basic assumptions under which insurance is written,” said Edward Cohen, vice-president of government and industry relations at Honda, which tests driverless cars at the Concord Naval Weapons Station site. “If you’re in a crashless world, or if the number of crashes is severely reduced through the use of technology … that model would need to be re-evaluated.”

But there is time to figure that all out. Estimates of when fully autonomous vehicles will hit the road range from 2020 to 2050. When they do, experts predict insurance premiums will drop as robot cars deliver lower accident, injury and death rates.

So far, at least one major insurance company, Liberty Mutual, is offering discounted rates on cars with assistive features such as blind-spot warnings and “collision preparation” systems that tighten seat belts and perform other safety enhancements if the vehicle’s systems detect an imminent crash.

However, other insurers aren’t rushing to lower premiums. “We are still collecting data on assistive features to determine how they could affect rates or discounts in the future,” said Geico spokesman Jordi Ortega.

Most insurance firms will probably argue as long as they can that there’s insufficient evidence that automation reduces accidents, said law professor Peterson. “That data is accumulating, and they’re not going to be able to say that for very long,” he said.

And in the short term, because automation systems are relatively new and still costly, the expense of fixing cars equipped with safe-driving features could negate insurers’ savings from having to pay out for fewer crashes.

“A fender-bender in a Tesla is brutal because all the sensors in a $2,000 fender-bender turns into an $8,000 or $10,000 repair bill,” said Andrew Rose, CEO of auto insurance comparison website

As the technology progresses, liability is expected to shift. For a fully autonomous car, the issue is fairly straightforward, with liability largely pushed from the driver onto the vehicle. Disputes over who’s responsible for damages in a crash will come down to whether the car or its operating system had a defect, versus whether the owner properly maintained the vehicle, Peterson said.

Insurance claims will get more complicated when the car has limited autonomy. “If the vehicle still has the ability for the occupant to control it or engage with it, is there something the driver did or didn’t do?” Passmore said. Post-crash wrangling could see a carmaker alleging a driver failed to perform the required human driving tasks, and the driver arguing that the car didn’t respond properly to what was happening on the road.

The technology itself will help resolve such disputes, with every action of the car and driver recorded by the equivalent of an airplane’s black box, Passmore said. “You have the data that tells you without question what happened,” he said.

It remains decidedly unclear whether the owner or the vehicle manufacturer or both would need to carry insurance on a fully autonomous car. Peterson sees responsibility for insurance shifting toward manufacturers as automation increases, possibly resting entirely on makers of fully robotic vehicles, with the automakers’ insurance costs passed along to consumers at the point of vehicle purchase.

But a representative for an association of foreign carmakers did not jump to embrace that burden. “Too early to tell,” said John Bozzella, CEO of Global Automakers, a lobby group representing manufacturers including Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Ferrari. Much depends on government regulations and business models for sale and use of the vehicles, Bozzella said.

As the human factor progressively disappears from driving, hackers will remain a risk, necessitating insurance coverage for a hostile takeover of automated systems, said Penny Gusner, a consumer analyst for Also, owners of autonomous vehicles will still need “comprehensive” insurance to cover damage from incidents such as hail storms or falling trees, Gusner said.

“Some people say it’s the death of insurance,” Gusner said. “I don’t think that’s going to happen. I see (companies) rolling with the punches and figuring out new ways to insure drivers.”

Edited for

Sidekick, the All-in-One Driving Assistant App that Puts Your Safety First

Katla Labs, Inc today announced the introduction of Sidekick, the all-in-one sensor-based Driving Assistant, designed to keep drivers safe, informed, and empowered with a rich portfolio of built-in features.

Sidekick is a next generation sensor-based mobile app that auto-launches when you drive, keeping you informed while giving you the peace of mind you desire. Sidekick can do the following for you and much more:

  • Alert you in real time when you are driving towards an incident
  • Detect if you are in a distress situation (e.g. high force impact) and call your emergency contact for you, hands-free
  • Communicate with other drivers nearby (e.g. when you are stuck in a traffic jam)
  • Navigate you to your destination with comfort-optimized routing for less stressful driving, prioritizing fewer turns and easier-to-drive segments on highways and major roads
  • Keep track of historical commute times
  • Record trip mileage for easy expense reporting
  • Auto record dashcam videos for protection against unjust tickets or insurance fraud


“Our philosophy behind Sidekick is to make users’ driving experience as safe, convenient, and carefree as possible,” said Katl­­a Labs CEO Billy Lo. “By combining navigation, communication, and distress functionality into a single app, we offer drivers an all-in-one driving assistant solution that addresses both everyday and emergency situations.”

Sidekick has no ads and only offers useful and convenient features with minimal distractions.

Compatible with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch running iOS 8.0 or later, the new version of Sidekick is available on the App Store for free.

About Katla Labs Inc.

Katla Labs is a startup based in Ontario, with a mission to reduce auto accident fatalities worldwide in an affordable, accessible manner and to lessen the pain and injuries by connecting accident victims with emergency help quickly. The Sidekick app is the company’s first product (


SOURCE Katla Labs Inc.

Uber settles on $7.5 million in background checks lawsuit

Uber settles on $7.5 million in background checks lawsuit

Uber faces a growing number of legal troubles these days – the latest involves a court settlement of $7.5 million for background checks.

Uber has agreed to pay the $7.5 million sum to a group of San Francisco drivers alleging the company acquired consumer background reports without asking them first.

Uber also agreed to pay $100 million to San Francisco and Massachusetts drivers in April and faces a nation-wide class-action lawsuit as well as a lawsuit from the New York Taxi Workers Alliance. And those are just some of the legal issues in the U.S.

Uber faces mounting legal troubles all over the globe right now. Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO and co-founder, might chalk some of that up to the price you pay for disruption but the drivers obviously see it a different way in this case and others.

An Uber spokesperson was not available for comment on this latest case, and neither were the lawyers representing the drivers.

However, the lawyers representing the drivers in this background checks case have filed a memorandum of understanding in court today and are reportedly in the process of drafting a formal settlement.

Uber seems eager to settle all these lawsuits as fast as possible as it continues to hemorrhage mountains of cash globally. Uber is burning $1 to $2 billion annually in China alone, according to some reports. Kalanick told Canadian publication Betakit in February Uber was profitable in the U.S.

The rideshare company recently raised $2 billion in leveraged loan debt and another $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia recently to continue its quest for world domination and all the legal troubles sure to follow.

Source: Tech Crunch

Only 10 Per Cent of Ontario Drivers Know Policy Details

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