A new report says B.C. drivers pay up to 42 per more more for their car insurance compared to Alberta. Is it time to open up ICBC to private competition?

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Saskatchewan posts lowest number of road fatalities since records started

REGINA _ Saskatchewan’s Crown insurer says fewer people were killed on the province’s roads in 2019 than in any year since records started being kept in the 1950s.

Saskatchewan Government Insurance says preliminary statistics indicate 71 people were killed in collisions _ down from 129 in 2018.

The insurer says the 71 deaths compare with an average of nearly 140 road fatalities annually in the previous 10-year period.

The province has strengthened laws in several areas since a special committee on traffic safety was formed in 2012.

There are harsher penalties for impaired drivers and extreme speeders, photo speed enforcement was introduced and distracted driving laws were beefed up.

Joe Hargrave, minister responsible for SGI, is encouraging drivers to bring fatality numbers even lower.

“Collisions are preventable and even one traffic death is too many,” he said in a release Monday. “We can’t celebrate when people are still being killed and injured on our roads.”

Hargrave noted that Saskatchewan held the record not that long ago of the highest number of road fatalities in Canada.

“If you are one of the drivers who still chooses to take risks like texting while you’re driving, driving when you’re impaired or driving at unsafe speeds, you are now in the minority,” added SGI president and CEO Andrew Cartmell.

“We ask you change your habits and become part of making this the province with the safest roads in Canada.”

 

Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing Changes

revenue sharingWe don’t hear a lot about B.C.’s Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing program except when the government is handing out grants to the municipalities. The money is supposed to be employed to “support community safety and address local policing priorities.”

A requirement for participating in the revenue sharing is that the municipality must develop a plan that sets out the intended uses and performance targets for the funds received from the Province. It will report publicly on the plan and progress made toward achieving performance targets for the funds in accordance with those plans.

I did a bit of searching and found an example of one of these reports. It simply states that:

The Traffic Fine Revenue Sharing Grant is assigned to the RCMP budget and is used to fund an additional officer. Without the grant, the City would have had to increase property tax rate a further .75% to maintain the same number of RCMP officers.

There is no evidence of a plan, targets or achievments. This is also a city with a Traffic Safety Committee whose meetings are closed to the public, will not accept public input and makes no public information on it’s deliberations available.

Rural governments simply receive a reduction in their policing bills instead of being able to exercise discretion the way municipalities do.

There are changes coming in 2020 based on changes that the province has made or is contemplating to modernize the traffic ticket system:

  • Expanding the red light Intersection Safety Camera (ISC) to operate continuously
  • Implementing speed activated ISCs
  • Implementing electronic traffic ticketing
  • Potentially replacing the traffic courts with an administrative justice tribunal

All of these changes are underway with the exception of the tribunal. This was still “somewhere over the horizon” the last time I inquired about it.

Recognizing that this will incur new costs, the province and the Union of BC Municipalities have co-operated on amendments to the agreement. The UBCM is expecting that the agreement will “generate additional net income for local governments.”

Mention was made of meetings between UBCM representatives and the provincial government in the summer of 2019 proposing the use of traffic fine revenue for a collision reduction program at intersections and the possibility of extending restrictions on the use of the revenues.

Following that consultation, “the Province is not proceeding with either of these proposals.”

Instead of requiring ICBC to fund additional traffic enforcement perhaps the money should come from provincial traffic fines instead. Let’s make problem drivers pay and enjoy a reduction in our ICBC premiums.

Winnipeg is now the only major city in Western Canada without Uber or Lyft

The excerpted article was written by Jeremie Charron |

CTV News

WINNIPEG — A spokesperson for Uber said it’s working with MPI to see if it could operate under the province’s current insurance model, after Winnipeg became the last major city in Western Canada without Uber or Lyft.

Meantime, a Winnipeg city councillor is calling on the Manitoba government and Manitoba Public Insurance to make changes to the structure to bring the ride-sharing giants to the city.

British Columbia’s Passenger Transportation Board recently gave both ride-sharing services its stamp of approval, allowing Lyft and Uber to hit the streets in Vancouver, and leaving Winnipeg to stand alone in the west without either ride-sharing service.

Browaty is calling on the Manitoba government and MPI to offer insurance products that would make it possible for the services to operate here.

In 2017, the City of Winnipeg made the necessary changes to allow ride-sharing services to operate in Winnipeg.

Then in 2018, Manitoba Public Insurance provided an insurance model for ride-sharing services in the province — but both Uber and Lyft weren’t willing to work within that structure.

Brian Smiley, media coordinator with MPI, tells CTV News there have been no recent discussions about making changes to their current model to accommodate Uber or Lyft.

Smiley said in order for MPI to make the necessary changes to accommodate Uber and Lyft, they would first need the Manitoba government to make legislative changes.

In a statement to CTV News, a spokesperson for Uber said: “We are working with MPI on if their existing model could suffice.”

“We always want to see more Canadians benefit from ridesharing and have remained interested in serving Winnipeg. We continue to engage with city officials to make this a reality,” the spokesperson said.

Meantime, Lyft reiterated its previous position, saying, “We see tremendous opportunity for Lyft in Winnipeg, but the current insurance framework does not allow true ridesharing to operate in the province.” Lyft said it looks forward to continuing work with MPI to “to find a way forward that prioritizes public safety and consumer choice.”

CTV News has reached out to the province for comment but has not yet heard back.

State of emergency, not a reason to deny auto insurance

Out on the roads when you shouldn’t have been? You might still be covered in an accident

CBC News

Some good news for travellers during the state of emergency — if you were out on the roads when you weren’t supposed to be and got in an accident, you might still have a shot at being covered by your insurance company.

Erin Norwood, Atlantic Canada’s manager of government relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said while companies don’t condone driving when it is prohibited by a municipality, it doesn’t necessarily violate your policy.

“Driving during a state of emergency in and of itself would not typically invalidate auto insurance coverage,” she said.

Amanda Dean, vice-president of IBC Atlantic, said other considerations still apply, such as who is at fault and whether your vehicle was in a fit condition to drive.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has ticketed drivers during the state of emergency for driving with windshields covered in ice and snow.

Dean said it’s essential to prove you took every safety precaution, including clearing snow from your vehicle.

Some people have run into trouble while starting their vehicles when the engine block is covered in snow. One person posted on Facebook about a family member’s vehicle catching fire because it wasn’t cleaned out under the hood.

File your claims ASAP

With the city digging out and people assessing their properties, Norwood said it’s important to let your insurance company know as soon as possible.

While insurance adjusters are not included in the professions exempt from the state of emergency, she said now is a good time for policy holders to gather photos and find old receipts.

Some houses suffered damage to shingles and siding during the hurricane-force winds last Friday.

Others had leaks from snow blowing into attics and melting down through the ceiling.

Dean said people should check their insurance policy to see if it covers alternate accommodations, so they can stay in hotels, motels or with relatives before their homes can be repaired.

Source: CBC News

Avoiding potholes: An insurance expert’s how-to guide

CTV Montreal

Re-run

They wreak havoc on our cars, our nerves and our wallets, and no matter how much we try to fix them, it seems potholes are as Quebec as poutine.

With potholes so much a part of the landscape, you would think that by now most Quebecers would know how to handle potholes.

A new survey, however, found that many drivers don’t.

According to a Leger poll, 78 per cent of Quebec drivers do the wrong thing when confronted with a pothole.

It may sound obvious, says Francois Mercure of Allstate Canada, but you can’t avoid a pothole if you can’t see it.

“Because sometimes the car in front of you will swerve around it very quickly and by the time you see it you don’t have time to react,” Mercure explained.

So hang back, he says – otherwise you might hit it at full speed. Or worse yet, you might suddenly brake into it.

“[That] can cause either a rear end collision or also increase the impact of the potholes,” Mercure added. “If you put the brake thoroughly it will push the weight of the car towards the front, which will increase the impact.”

Avoiding potholes is obviously better than hitting them, but Mercure says if you do swerve to avoid, do it carefully.

“Because you can cause collisions on either side of you, or you can even lose control of the car,” he explained.

If you can’t avoid it, there’s actually a good way to hit a pothole.

“It’s actually to lift your foot off the gas – you can slowly brake, but not too harshly, and pass over either side of the hole if it’s possible, [and] not in the middle,” Mercure explained.

More than half of Quebecers polled reported having to make repairs of between 100- and 500 dollars caused by potholes.

So as The Doors said, “keep your eyes on the road and your hands upon the wheel” – just remember not to accelerate over them.

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