The “Making Ontario Roads Safer Act”, or Bill 31, was approved in June & will come into effect Sept. 1

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Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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10 automakers are sued in US over deadly keyless ignitions


Ten of the world’s biggest carmakers were sued over claims that keyless ignitions lacking an automatic shut-off endanger drivers and passengers with deadly carbon monoxide fumes.

Also named as defendants were Hyundai, including Kia; Nissan, including Infiniti; Toyota, including Lexus; and Volkswagen, including Bentley. The suit alleges the automakers have known for years about increased dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning when people mistakenly leave their keyless ignition vehicles running after they’ve left the auto, taking their key fobs with them. Now 10 auto makers in the United States have been hit with a lawsuit claiming the issue has resulted in 13 deaths due to what is said to be a “defect” with the vehicles.
They also accused the automakers of failing to install an cheap feature that would automatically turn off unattended engines after a period of time.
“Plaintiffs believed the automakers’ repeated promises that the affected vehicles were safe”, the complaint said. Notably, Ford and GM filed patents that included language about preventing carbon monoxide poisoning – but, according to the suit, though the two automakers “openly recognized the risky consequences associated with keyless fobs…” It also seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
BMW, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota declined to comment. Some older model vehicles with keyless ignitions aren’t equipped with these features, however, the lawsuit claims. Whitney Eichinger, a Ford spokeswoman, didn’t immediately return a call after normal business hours seeking comment.
Wednesday’s lawsuit was filed in the federal court in Los Angeles.
U.S. District Judge James Selna in July 2013 approved a US$1.6 billion settlement to resolve claims that Toyotas lost value because of that defect.
The case is Draeger v. Toyota Motor Sales USA, 15-CV-06491, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

UberX drivers may find themselves without insurance in the event of an accident

Financial Post

TORONTO • UberX drivers have a lot to worry about these days: angry taxi drivers, ticket-happy bylaw officers, even whether they’ll be allowed to continue operating in some cities. But perhaps the most pressing concern is one many aren’t even aware of: Their personal auto insurance is unlikely to cover them in the event of accident.

Car insurers use of a device that watches everything you do while driving, from what time of day you drive to how sharply you brake, sounds a lot like Big Brother to privacy advocates

Take the case of Tawfiqul Alam, an UberX driver in Toronto who was T-boned by a red-light runner while transporting a passenger on June 9. The accident sent both him and his passenger to hospital and totalled his minivan.

But the real shock came later, when Alam went to file a claim with his insurance company and was told that his personal policy was invalid because he was driving passengers for pay.

The worst part, according to Alam’s lawyer, was that Uber Technologies Inc. specifically told him not to worry about insurance when he first applied to work for the company.

“He asks them specifically about insurance and they say, ‘Don’t worry, we’re a $1-billion company and we have $5-million of insurance so you’re fine,’” said Isaac Zisckind, a personal injury lawyer at Diamond & Diamond.

“What they did is basically willfully push him into a misrepresentation contract for somebody who’s not educated. Uber should have known — they should have done their research.”

The issue is that personal auto insurance policies don’t cover drivers who are transporting passengers for commercial purposes. Taxi drivers are required to get a special kind of commercial insurance that is significantly more expensive than personal insurance, but the vast majority of UberX drivers — Zisckind estimates 95 per cent — don’t have any coverage beyond their personal insurance.

This means that when a driver is injured or his car is damaged in an accident that occurs while he’s carrying a passenger, his personal insurance policy will most likely be invalidated, leaving him without coverage.

“The worst thing you can do is not tell your insurance company (that you’re driving for Uber), because in that situation they have the right to say your policy is void in its entirety and there is no coverage for you,” said Daniel Mirkovic, CEO of Square One Insurance and former head of the British Columbia Automobile Association’s insurance operations.

Uber spokeswoman Susie Heath declined to discuss Alam’s case, but she did acknowledge that Uber only requires its drivers “to carry personal auto insurance.”

However, she stressed that every ride on the UberX platform is also backed by $5 million of contingent auto liability insurance covering bodily injury and property damage.

“In the event of an accident during an UberX trip, passengers, pedestrians, other drivers, and the community at large can rest assured knowing that ride-sharing partners are well covered by commercial auto insurance in addition to any insurance coverage maintained by the driver,” Heath said in an emailed statement.

It is not at all clear whether the $5 million of coverage that Uber often cites will cover its own drivers, however.


Vicarious Liability Of Vehicle Owner – What If The Vehicle Owner Provided Limitations On The Use Of The Vehicle?

Article by Sudevi Mukherjee-Gothi

The Court of Appeal in the August 10th, 2015 decision in Fernandes v. Araujo et al. addressed the vicarious liability of an owner of a vehicle for the negligence of a person who had possession of the vehicle with the owner’s consent. The Statutory Third Party Insurer for the owner of the ATV was denying third party coverage to the Defendant driver and was relying upon the 1952 decision in Newman and Newman v. Terdik, which held that:

The owner is not vicariously liable for damages sustained as a result of a highway accident when the person with possession of the vehicle violated the condition and drove the vehicle on a highway

However, the Court of Appeal

Affirmed a long line of authority going back to 1933 holding that as the vicarious liability of an owner rests on possession rather than operation of the vehicle, the owner will be vicariously liable if the owner consented to possession, even if the driver operated the vehicle in a way prohibited by the owner.

What is the basis for this finding?

1. The Highway Traffic Act

s. 192 (2) of the Highway Traffic Act provides:

192(2) The owner of a motor vehicle or street car is liable for loss or damage sustained by any person by reason of negligence in the operation of the motor vehicle or street car on a highway, unless the motor vehicle or street car was without the owner’s consent in the possession of some person other than the owner or the owner’s chauffeur.

This provision therefore places the onus on the owner of the vehicle to be careful in who is being provided responsibility for the operation of the vehicle.

2. Was the decision in Newman wrongly decided?

The Court of Appeal held that:

The proposition upon which Newman rests, namely, that “possession can change from rightful possession to wrongful possession, or from possession with consent to possession without consent” where the person in possession violates a condition imposed by the owner, is inconsistent with the reasoning of this line of authority.

The Court of Appeal cites many cases contrary to the findings in Newman. Although it grapples with its authority to overturn Newman, the Court of Appeal ultimately finds that

Overruling Newman would enhance rather than undermine the interest of clarity, coherence and predictability in the law. Accordingly, it is my view that we should overrule the case and declare that it no longer represents the law of Ontario.

What does this mean?

1. If possession is given, the owner will be liable even if there is a breach of a condition attached to that possession, including a condition that the person in possession will not operate the vehicle.

2. Breach of conditions placed by the owner on a person’s possession of the vehicle, including conditions as to who may operate the vehicle, do not alter the fact of possession.1

Therefore, be careful with regard to who borrows your vehicle.


1 Seegmiller v. Langer (2008), 301 DLR (4th) 454

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.

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