Enjoy the holiday season but beware of Bad Santa!

Enjoy the holiday season but beware of Bad Santa!

DOUG SCHMIDT, WINDSOR STAR

Tis, perhaps, the season of giving and sharing, of goodwill and merriment — but don’t ever let your guard down, the public is being warned.

The Windsor Police Service on Tuesday issued its annual Bad Santa alert.

“We know that would-be thieves are especially looking to play the role of Bad Santa during the holiday season,” department spokesman Sgt. Steve Betteridge said in a statement referring to the movie character in a film of the same name.

Windsor police are once again participating in the provincial Lock It Or Lose It! campaign, launched during the busy holiday season when shoppers and motorists are easily distracted and sometimes forget to either lock up their vehicles or keep purchases and valuables out of sight from prying eyes of ill intent.

“Bad Santas could be looking to ruin this holiday season,” said Betteridge.

As part of the campaign, police officers will be randomly checking parked vehicles, making sure doors are locked and nothing that might attract a thief’s attention is in plain sight. Notices will be left behind, either congratulating motorists for doing everything right, or providing cautions and tips for those who are creating temptations for criminals.

A vehicle is stolen every seven minutes on average in Canada, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, at a cost to Canadians — in the form of fixing damage and replacing stolen property, as well as the costs in police, health care and courts — of close to a billion dollars a year.

Bad Santas are also on the lookout for personal documents that can be useful for identity theft. Vehicle registration and ownership papers, car insurance pink slips, credit card invoices and any other documents containing personal information shouldn’t be left in an unoccupied vehicle, the police warn.

dschmidt@postmedia.com

Source: Windsor Star

Calif. police use Tesla system to halt sleeping man’s car

By Tom Krisher

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT _ The Autopilot system on a Telsa Model S may have helped the California Highway Patrol stop the car after its driver fell asleep on a freeway.

Similar systems, now offered by nearly all automakers, use cameras and radar to detect objects in front of them and automatically keep a safe distance or even stop or slow the vehicles before a crash. The systems also can keep cars in their lanes. Tesla’s Autopilot feature allows the vehicle to change lanes automatically when prompted by the driver, navigate interchanges and exit freeways.

In the case of the driver who fell asleep, California Highway Patrol officers spotted him Friday afternoon as they were looking for drunken drivers. They pulled alongside the grey Model S on U.S. 101 and saw that the driver was asleep. When the driver didn’t respond to their lights and siren, they slowed traffic behind him and tried to figure out if Autopilot or other driver-assist systems were engaged, according to Officer Art Montiel, a CHP spokesman. They then pulled in front of the car and slowed down, and the car eventually stopped.

No one was hurt and the car didn’t crash. The 45-year-old driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Systems like Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot are the building blocks of self-driving vehicles, but humans still must be ready to take control. Here are answers to questions about how the systems work and the incident in the San Francisco suburb of Redwood City:

Q: Was the driver using Autopilot system?

A: Maybe. Montiel said officers believe it was on but they haven’t confirmed that yet. Telsa won’t comment. The car’s automatic cruise control system, which keeps it a safe distance from vehicles in front of it, could have been operating without Autopilot being engaged, as could its automatic emergency braking system. Authorities are investigating which systems were in use.

Q: Isn’t the system supposed to stop the car if the driver is not paying attention?

A: Telsa’s Autopilot is designed to safely pull over if a driver doesn’t put force on the steering wheel. But some drivers have been able to fool the system. It’s unclear whether that happened in the case of the sleeping driver. A similar system from General Motors called Super Cruise monitors the driver’s eyes and will stop the car if they are not paying attention. Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter that it is  “default Autopilot behaviour” to gradually slow to a stop and turn on the hazard lights. “Looking into what happened here,” Musk wrote.

Q: Can’t these cars drive themselves?

A: No, they can’t. All manufacturers, including Tesla, warn drivers that the systems are for assistance only and they must pay attention and be ready to take over driving. Tests by AAA and theInsurance Institute for Highway Safety both found that the systems can’t handle every situation they encounter on the roads. Safety advocates criticized Tesla for naming its system Autopilot, especially after an Ohio man died in a crash while using it in Florida two years ago. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating several other crashes in which the drivers appeared to place too much confidence in Autopilot, including one fatality earlier this year near Mountain View, California.

Avoid costly mistakes with the car buyer’s checklist

Avoid costly mistakes with the car buyer’s checklist

By Philip Reed

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

In the excitement of buying a new (or used) car it’s easy to forget critical details that wind up costing you money. I learned this over more than a decade of buying dozens of test cars for the automotive site Edmunds. No matter how much experience I got, I always consulted my car-buying checklist and updated it based on what I learned.

Once you’ve decided on the type of car you want, the buying process can be divided into two sections: research and dealmaking. This breaks a seemingly overwhelming job into smaller, more doable tasks.

Here is your car-buying checklist the crucial steps to help you get the wheels you want at the right price.

RESEARCH

These steps help you locate the specific vehicle you want to buy and strengthen your position when it’s time to negotiate.

1. CONFIGURE YOUR CAR. Go to the carmaker’s website and decide which model (often called the “trim level”) you want and what options you need.

2. CHECK PRICING. Using car sites like Edmunds, Kelley Blue Book or TrueCar, find the car’s real market value price, which is what others are paying for it.

3. LOOK FOR INCENTIVES. Check the carmaker’s site for incentives, such as customer cash back or low-interest financing, on the model you want.

4. LOCATE YOUR CAR. Search the inventory of local dealerships to find the exact car you want to buy. Write down the stock number or vehicle identification number (VIN).

5. CHECK YOUR CREDIT. Your credit score will give you a sense of the interest rate you’re likely to get. This is especially important for borrowers with fair to poor credit (generally below 690), who may face higher rates.

6. RUN THE NUMBERS. Use an auto loan calculator to estimate your monthly car payment to ensure that it fits your budget. For the car price, you can use the true market value.

7. GET PREAPPROVED FINANCING. Apply for a car loan before going to the dealership so you’ll know your interest rate. You can still use dealership financing if they can beat the preapproval rate.

8. ROUND UP YOUR PAPERWORK. You’ll need to bring the following to the dealership:

– Preapproved loan information.

– Driver’s license.

– Proof of insurance.

– Funds for your down payment.

If you’re trading in your old car, you’ll also need the current title, registration and loan information.

DEALMAKING

If you hate haggling, consider emailing the dealership’s internet manager for price quotes. But assuming you’re going old school and negotiating in person, here’s what to do:

1. TEST-DRIVE THE CAR. Even if you’ve already decided on a car, test drive it again to verify your choice and confirm it has the options you selected.

2. START THE NEGOTIATION. Tell the salesperson you’ve shopped around and priced similar models. Then, ask for the dealership’s best price. If they won’t name a price, make an opening offer at least $1,000 below the true market value price.

3. SEND A MESSAGE. If the salesperson says  “I’ll take your offer to my boss,” don’t wait meekly in the sales office. Instead, be unpredictable. Wander around the dealership. Believe me, they’ll find you in a hurry.

4. MAKE A COUNTEROFFER. If your first offer isn’t accepted, consider raising your price by $250 until you reach an agreement or the true market value price.

5. GET AN OUT-THE-DOOR PRICE. Before you agree to any deal, ask for an out-the-door price with a breakdown of fees and any extras.

6. BE READY FOR UPSELLS. Once you reach an agreement with your salesperson, the finance and insurance manager will draw up the contract. But first, you’ll be pitched extras, such as an extended warranty, paint protection and anti-theft devices. Be ready to say “no” or buy these later.

7. REVIEW YOUR CONTRACT. Check the contract for any add-ons you didn’t ask for. Make sure the numbers match what you agreed to in the sales office and your own estimates.

8. GET IT IN WRITING. If anything is missing, like spare keys or an owner’s manual, or if any work is promised on the car, get it in writing. This is called a  “due bill.”

9. CHECK THE GAS GAUGE. New cars are sold with a full tank of gas. Check the fuel level before you leave the lot.

There are other ways to buy cars, but this checklist covers the most common dealership transaction. Keep it with you as protection and a money-saver the next time you go car shopping.

_______

This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet . Phil Reed is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: preed?nerdwallet.com .

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Saskatchewan introduces minimum semi truck driver training after Broncos crash

REGINA _ The Saskatchewan government is introducing mandatory training for semi-truck drivers almost eight months after the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

Starting in March, drivers seeking a Class 1 commercial licence will be required to undergo at least 121.5 hours of training.

Sixteen people died and 13 were injured in April when the Broncos team bus and a semi collided at a rural Saskatchewan intersection.

Joe Hargrave, minister for Saskatchewan Government Insurance, says the training will make the roads safer.

Drivers will be instructed in a classroom, in a yard and behind the wheel as part of the new program.

Ontario is currently the only province that has mandatory truck driver training consisting of 103.5 hours.

Re-imagining classic carols for December’s spotlight on impaired driving

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ICBC launches telematics pilot for new drivers

ICBC launches telematics pilot for new drivers

ICBC is taking the next step forward into telematics research with a new pilot—this time inviting as many as 7,000 drivers with less than five years of experience to see how telematics technology can improve their driving and make B.C. roads safer.

ICBC’s rates are under considerable pressure, in part from a significant increase in crashes. In fact, in B.C., new drivers are 5.6 times more at risk of getting into a crash and for that crash to be severe, than those with 20 years of driving experience*. This risk gradually decreases as new drivers gain more experience. Starting September 2019, inexperienced drivers will be paying more to better reflect this risk as part of the recent changes to rate fairness. This pilot is an opportunity to assess if telematics can measurably improve driver behaviour and help offset that impact in the future by decreasing this demographic’s risk of being in a crash.

Results from the first telematics pilot earlier this year that focused on the technology’s usability found that over 40 per cent of participants saw improvements in their driving by using the technology, and nearly three-quarters recommended that ICBC explore its use further—particularly for inexperienced drivers.

Now ICBC will look at telematics solutions that involve a small in-vehicle device that communicates with an app installed on the driver’s cellphone. For each trip, driving behaviours like speeding, braking patterns and level of distracted driving are recorded and an overall score is produced. The results from the pilot will help inform whether a longer-term telematics program should be implemented for more ICBC customers.

“From our first telematics pilot earlier this year, ICBC has developed a telematics strategy to identify how the technology can be used to improve road safety and drive behavioural change among higher-risk drivers in B.C.,” said Nicolas Jimenez, ICBC’s president and CEO. “We heard from those pilot participants that most believed the use of telematics would make the roads safer for everyone. This is our next step in a thoughtful examination of telematics technology and how it might help to keep these drivers safer.”

In early 2019, ICBC will confirm a vendor that will provide the technology for the pilot through a Negotiated Request for Proposal process, and participant sign-up will begin in the spring. The pilot will launch in the summer with incentives for drivers while collecting driver feedback and driving behaviour data for one year.

Anyone interested in participating in the pilot can sign up for updates at icbc.com/driverpilot. ICBC is looking for participants in the Novice stage of the graduated licensing program or with less than five years of experience as a fully licensed driver from all across B.C.

*New driver refers to someone with less than one year of experience as a fully licensed driver. Stats from 2018 Rate Design Application.

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