Ignoring Your Own Safety #DriveSmartBC

 

SeatbeltWhen I learned to drive more than 4 decades ago, seatbelts were becoming standard equipment on all vehicles. Fast forward to today and we have seatbelts, multiple airbags and a host of automatic systems designed to either avoid a crash or minimize the damage to us if we are in one. Why then do some of us ignore the systems that are there for our protection?

A decade ago seatbelt use rates were about 97% for drivers of cars or light trucks in B.C. according to Transport Canada. That said, one does not have to sit for very long today watching traffic pass in urban areas to find drivers who do not buckle up. Why ignore what is probably the simplest and most effective device in your vehicle that helps you avoid injury?

Have you read your vehicle’s owners manual to learn about airbags and how they protect you in a collision? If you have you will realize that you must wear your seatbelt to avoid injury caused by being out of place if it deploys. You must also sit upright in your seat when the vehicle is being driven.

Yesterday I was filling my fuel tank and watching the passenger in the vehicle beside me. She had her feet up on the dash and remained that way when her friend finished fueling and drove away. I shudder to think of what would happen to her if that airbag deployed.

If you buy a new vehicle today you will find that it can be equipped with many safety systems such as automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning. Remember that owners manual? There will be some study required to learn how they work, how you should use them and when they cannot protect you.

The sensors for these systems require regular maintenance by the driver to keep them functional. Be sure to read your owners manual or at least have the dealership demonstrate what needs to be done before you drive off the lot.

Vehicle computers store data about faults. If fault codes are stored for malfunctioning safety systems it is conceivable that you could bear some responsibility for injuries sustained in a crash. Ignoring these new safety systems could also place you in a bad position post-collision.

Ignoring your own safety as a driver today may have many unintended consequences that can also extend to your passengers. RTFM (Refer to Factory Manual) might be the smartest (and safest) thing that you can do!

Because of a DUI conviction, I need to use an interlock. Am I able to rent a car?

In December 2017, I received a first-offence DUI. I’ll get my licence back next week, but I will only be able to drive a car with the interlock installed for the next year. I’m going to weddings in Halifax and Mont Tremblant this summer and I would like to rent a car, but would one with an interlock be available? I’m also wondering, could regular car insurance be lower with an interlock? – Brendan, Toronto

If you’ve had a drunk-driving conviction, you won’t be able to rent a car with an interlock, and you might not be able to rent one at all.

“Unfortunately, rental-car companies don’t put alcohol interlocks on their vehicles,” says Andrew Murie, chief executive officer of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada. “The rental-car companies could, but they don’t want drunk drivers in their cars anyway.”

Under the Criminal Code, if you’re convicted of driving with a blood-alcohol level (BAC) above .08 for the first time, you’ll face a minimum one-year licence suspension and a minimum $1,000 fine.

To be allowed to drive again, you can only drive vehicles equipped with an ignition interlock, which is basically a breathalyzer attached to your car’s ignition. It won’t let you drive if you’ve been drinking.

Although Canada’s impaired driving law changed last year to allow you to drive with an interlock immediately after conviction, none of the provinces have changed their interlock programs to allow that, Murie says.

Most provinces also require that your driver’s licence shows that you can only drive with an interlock, and rental car companies would see that.

But Kyla Lee, a Vancouver-based criminal-defence lawyer, says rental companies can access your driving records and see whether you’ve had a DUI.

“They’ll refuse to rent to anyone with a record of an impaired driving conviction or a 90-day administrative suspension,” Lee says.

If you’ve had an impaired conviction in a province with private insurance, you’ll see higher rates for six years.

You’ll likely lose your existing coverage and have to go to facility insurance – insurance for drivers deemed too high-risk to be insured anywhere else – for the next three years after the conviction.

That could mean you’re paying a minimum of $10,000 a year and more likely $20,000, according to Murie.

After three years on facility insurance, it would take three more years to gradually return to reasonable rates, he says.

“If you’re making $60,000 a year and you get whacked with a $20,000 insurance policy, you’re not going to be able to drive,” Murie says. “The government-run insurance companies do a better job.”

In B.C., for instance, if you’ve had one impaired conviction, you pay a $1,086 driver-risk premium on top of your existing rates. In Saskatchewan, you’d face a minimum $1,250 penalty and move down their rating scale. In Manitoba, you’d lose 10 points on their scale – the highest risk drivers there (-20) pay an extra $3,000 a year on top of normal rates.

Murie would like to see insurance companies offer more reasonable rates – double the existing rate, for example – for drivers who use the interlock.

But right now, no companies do that, Murie says.

“About 30 per cent of impaired drivers are repeat offenders within 10 years, so it proves that current sanctions do work, including the higher insurance premiums,” Murie says. “We’re not saying there shouldn’t be some penalty, but when it’s too high, it forces drivers to drive without insurance. And if you get hit by someone who’s uninsured, the financial consequences can be huge.”

75% of drivers distracted at the wheel – IBC

MONTREAL, May 29, 2019 /CNW/ – IBC is releasing the results of a survey on distracted driving in order to encourage drivers to adopt good driving habits.

The numbers say it all: 75% of drivers said they were distracted at the wheel in the past six months*. And yet, 90% of drivers were aware that accidents caused by distracted driving can drive up auto insurance premiums.

What does distracted driving mean? 
Distracted driving takes many forms: phoning, text messaging, eating, drinking, putting on make-up, even listening to music. Any activity that takes the driver’s attention away from the road is considered a distraction.

Drivers are distracted and these are not isolated behaviours. In fact, the drivers surveyed said they had on several occasions in the past six months:

  • Eaten or drunk: 55%
  • Phoned: 39%
  • Texted: 11%

The age 35-44 sub-group was over-represented among drivers who said they were distracted, with 87% having said they had been distracted in the past six months, compared to 75% for all respondents.

“We were very surprised to learn that 90% of drivers are well aware that how you drive can result in higher auto insurance premiums. And yet, we were surprised to note this did not discourage risky behaviour and distracted driving”, said Anne Morin, Supervisor, Public Affairs, at IBC.

Limit accidents through risk awareness
The campaign objective is to make drivers aware of the distractions around them and the need to minimize the risks. Note that responsible behaviour can only be positive for the driver’s driving record.

“We decided to tackle the subject taking a moving approach and a touch of humour. We hope the campaign will have an impact on drivers as well as passengers, who have their role to play, since distracted driving affects everyone”, noted Anne Morin.

* Based on a SOM inc. survey carried out for Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) in 2019. 

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada, which groups the majority of Canada’s P&C insurers, offers various services to consumers in order to inform and assist them when purchasing car or home insurance, or making a claim. For all other information, please visit www.infoassurance.ca.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information: Pauline Triplet, Communications Advisor, Tel.: 514 288-1537, ext. 2277

Related Links

http://www.ibc.ca/

If you drive distracted, you could miss out on life

If you drive distracted, you could miss out on life

SGI launches campaign with a clear message: “Distracted driving kills”

Kailynn Bursic-Panchuk was preoccupied with her cellphone when she drove into the path of a train; the resulting collision was catastrophic and left the Weyburn teenager in critical condition.

Kailynn’s tragic story is a part of SGI’s latest distracted driving awareness campaign that launches this weekend, coinciding with the June Traffic Safety Spotlight on distracted driving.

“When we got to the hospital and the doctor told me Kailynn needed surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain, I was lost. This is supposed to happen in movies, not in real life,” said Kailynn’s mom, Sandra LaRose.

Kailynn’s injuries would prove fatal – five days later her family made the difficult decision to take her off life support. Kailynn had just turned 17 years old.

SGI’s poignant campaign has a clear message: distracted driving kills – don’t miss out on life. The campaign features a 60-second video that shows a young woman dreaming of her life ahead and milestone moments. Those dreams are followed by the nightmare of a head-on collision caused by a distracted driver. Kailynn’s photo and a brief narration by LaRose conclude the video.

“I hope this province-wide campaign will help make the consequences of distracted driving more real to people,” said Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave. “I am grateful to Sandra for sharing her voice and her daughter’s tragic story, and hopeful it will encourage people to avoid all distractions while they drive, including their phones. There should never be another story like Kailynn’s.”

The ad will run online, in cinemas and on television. The campaign will also feature newspaper, radio and billboard advertising. Beginning in July, there will be shorter online videos focusing on common distracted driving behaviours, along with matching radio spots that will run all year. Visit www.sgi.sk.ca/distracted-driving-kills to see the campaign.

For Sandra LaRose, the tragic, preventable death of her daughter has spurred her to speak out about the issue of distracted driving.

“Hopefully people will realize that phone call is not important, that notification is not important, that music is not important; it will wait,” said LaRose. “Life will still go on if you don’t take that call. It’s literally a split second – that’s all it takes. You have control over that object – put your phone away.”

Driver distraction or inattention is the leading cause of collisions and injury on Saskatchewan roads, and one of the leading factors in fatal collisions. In 2017, 26 people died and 953 were injured in distracted driving collisions in Saskatchewan.

 

District research finds cost of basic insurance more in B.C. than in other provinces

Read more

ICBC Privacy Breach Class Action Allowed To Include Claim for Punitive Damages

Source: Erik Magraken BC Injury and ICBC Claims Blog

In the recent case (Ari v. ICBC) ICBC was sued after an employee of theirs passed personal records ICBC kept to “an acquaintance involved in the drug trade” after which a series of attacks were carried out against some of the individuals who had their private information compromised.  The court noted the following background

[2]             A former employee of ICBC, Ms. Candy Elaine Rheaume, for no business purpose, accessed personal information of 78 ICBC customers (“Primary Plaintiffs”) who had been at or near the Justice Institute of British Columbia in New Westminster. The personal information included names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, vehicle descriptions and identification numbers, license plate numbers, and claims histories. Ms. Rheaume then provided the information to an acquaintance involved in the drug trade. She received $25.00 per name provided. She was charged with, and pleaded guilty to, fraudulently obtaining a computer service pursuant to s. 342.1 of the Criminal Code and received a suspended sentence with nine months probation.

[3]             The illegally obtained information was used to target 13 of the Primary Plaintiffs (“Attack Victims”) with vandalism, arson and shootings between April 2011 and January 2012 (“Attacks”). Two people have been found criminally responsible for their involvement in the Attacks. The attackers thought they were targeting police officers solely because the vehicles were parked at or near the Justice Institute.

The Plaintiff succeeded in certifying a class action lawsuit against ICBC on the basis that they should be vicariously liable for the employee’s wrongdoing.  The chambers judge hearing the certification application declined and include all class members the plaintiff sought to have included and also removed the claim for punitive damages.  In finding that punitive damages claims should form part of the proceeding the BC Court of Appeal provided the following reasons:

[29]         Punitive damages may be awarded when misconduct “represents a marked departure from ordinary standards of decent behaviour”: Whiten v. Pilot Insurance Co., 2002 SCC 18 at para. 36. Punitive damages may be certified as a common issue in appropriate cases. Rumley v. British Columbia, 2001 SCC 69 at para. 34.

[30]         Rather than consider the past history of breaches of privacy by ICBC employees—the evidence supported that at least 7 employees have been terminated by ICBC between 2008 and 2011 for privacy breaches—the chambers judge considered the steps taken since the breach in this case was discovered. While laudable on ICBC’s part, subsequent conduct is not the sole basis upon which punitive damages are determined. The chambers judge should have accepted as true the allegation that ICBC has a history of employees breaching private information. Instead, she judged the case on the merits on the evidence before her. That was an incorrect approach.

[31]         In my view, the chambers judge erred when she refused to certify punitive damages. There was a basis in fact for the claim based on the information relating to the history of privacy breaches by employees.

[32]         Before us, ICBC asked that if we overturn the failure to certify the issues, we return the case to the chambers judge for the analysis on preferability. This was the approach this Court took in Kirk v. Executive Flight Centre Fuel Services Ltd., 2019 BCCA 111 at para. 151.

[33]         With respect to the punitive damages issue, the chambers judge continued the analysis and concluded that had she not decided that there was no basis in fact for a claim for punitive damages, it would be an appropriate case for certification.

[34]         The chambers judge carefully analyzed the preferability of the issues she did certify. In respect of the Other Residents, her analysis is equally applicable. The common issues that were certified apply equally to the Other Residents. Some of the Other Residents will fall into the subclass.

[35]         A judge has a great deal of discretion to change things to fit the circumstances as a class proceeding progresses. At this point, there having been no discovery, it is my view that the additional classes and common issues are preferable for a class proceeding. I would not refer that issue back to the chambers judge for further consideration as a result of allowing this appeal.

[36]         I would allow the appeal, include the Other Residents as members of the class, and certify the punitive damages issue as a common issue. I would leave the tasks of identifying the broader class and framing the common issue for the chambers judge.

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Court of Appeal expanding the scope of a class action lawsuit against ICBC to allow claims for punitive damages to be included in the claim.

In the recent case (Ari v. ICBC) ICBC was sued after an employee of theirs passed personal records ICBC kept to “an acquaintance involved in the drug trade” after which a series of attacks were carried out against some of the individuals who had their private information compromised.  The court noted the following background

[2]             A former employee of ICBC, Ms. Candy Elaine Rheaume, for no business purpose, accessed personal information of 78 ICBC customers (“Primary Plaintiffs”) who had been at or near the Justice Institute of British Columbia in New Westminster. The personal information included names, addresses, driver’s license numbers, vehicle descriptions and identification numbers, license plate numbers, and claims histories. Ms. Rheaume then provided the information to an acquaintance involved in the drug trade. She received $25.00 per name provided. She was charged with, and pleaded guilty to, fraudulently obtaining a computer service pursuant to s. 342.1 of the Criminal Code and received a suspended sentence with nine months probation.

[3]             The illegally obtained information was used to target 13 of the Primary Plaintiffs (“Attack Victims”) with vandalism, arson and shootings between April 2011 and January 2012 (“Attacks”). Two people have been found criminally responsible for their involvement in the Attacks. The attackers thought they were targeting police officers solely because the vehicles were parked at or near the Justice Institute.

The Plaintiff succeeded in certifying a class action lawsuit against ICBC on the basis that they should be vicariously liable for the employee’s wrongdoing.  The chambers judge hearing the certification application declined and include all class members the plaintiff sought to have included and also removed the claim for punitive damages.  In finding that punitive damages claims should form part of the proceeding the BC Court of Appeal provided the following reasons:

[29]         Punitive damages may be awarded when misconduct “represents a marked departure from ordinary standards of decent behaviour”: Whiten v. Pilot Insurance Co., 2002 SCC 18 at para. 36. Punitive damages may be certified as a common issue in appropriate cases. Rumley v. British Columbia, 2001 SCC 69 at para. 34.

[30]         Rather than consider the past history of breaches of privacy by ICBC employees—the evidence supported that at least 7 employees have been terminated by ICBC between 2008 and 2011 for privacy breaches—the chambers judge considered the steps taken since the breach in this case was discovered. While laudable on ICBC’s part, subsequent conduct is not the sole basis upon which punitive damages are determined. The chambers judge should have accepted as true the allegation that ICBC has a history of employees breaching private information. Instead, she judged the case on the merits on the evidence before her. That was an incorrect approach.

[31]         In my view, the chambers judge erred when she refused to certify punitive damages. There was a basis in fact for the claim based on the information relating to the history of privacy breaches by employees.

[32]         Before us, ICBC asked that if we overturn the failure to certify the issues, we return the case to the chambers judge for the analysis on preferability. This was the approach this Court took in Kirk v. Executive Flight Centre Fuel Services Ltd., 2019 BCCA 111 at para. 151.

[33]         With respect to the punitive damages issue, the chambers judge continued the analysis and concluded that had she not decided that there was no basis in fact for a claim for punitive damages, it would be an appropriate case for certification.

[34]         The chambers judge carefully analyzed the preferability of the issues she did certify. In respect of the Other Residents, her analysis is equally applicable. The common issues that were certified apply equally to the Other Residents. Some of the Other Residents will fall into the subclass.

[35]         A judge has a great deal of discretion to change things to fit the circumstances as a class proceeding progresses. At this point, there having been no discovery, it is my view that the additional classes and common issues are preferable for a class proceeding. I would not refer that issue back to the chambers judge for further consideration as a result of allowing this appeal.

[36]         I would allow the appeal, include the Other Residents as members of the class, and certify the punitive damages issue as a common issue. I would leave the tasks of identifying the broader class and framing the common issue for the chambers judge.

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