Regulations say insurers have to incorporate ‘lock function’ into digital credentials

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Drivers will be responsible for making sure their phone can display the proof of insurance, even with a poor signal, drained battery or damaged screen.  (Lars Hagberg/Canadian Press)

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Distracted driving remains top priority for ICBC, police and government

Distracted driving remains top priority for ICBC, police and government

Distracted driving is responsible for more than one in four fatal crashes on B.C. roads, which is why ICBC, police and government continue to combat this dangerous driving behaviour that claims 77 lives each year.*

Crashes reached a record high in 2017, with many of these caused by distracted or inattentive driving. While cellphone usage rightly gets a lot of the attention, distracted driving includes any activity that impacts your ability to focus on the road while in control of a vehicle.

The B.C. government, police and ICBC conduct two distracted driving education and enhanced enforcement campaigns every year. The campaigns also include advertising and social media support.

This month, drivers will be hearing one message – take a break from your phone when you’re behind the wheel. Research shows that taking your eyes off the road for as little as two seconds is strongly correlated with crashing.

Enhanced police enforcement of distracted driving will take place across B.C., including a province-wide blitz on Friday, and community volunteers are setting up Cell Watch deployments to remind drivers to leave their phone alone when driving.

Drivers can do their part by avoiding distractions while driving and encouraging others to do the same. Activate Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving feature or what’s similarly available on other devices. Free ‘not while driving’ decals are available at ICBC driver licensing offices and participating Autoplan broker offices for drivers to support the campaign and encourage other road users to leave their phones alone.

As part of the commitment to make roads safer, ICBC is currently inviting eligible drivers to participate in a telematics pilot project. The goal is to determine whether using this technology can improve road safety and driving behaviour for inexperienced drivers in B.C.

You can view tips and statistics in an infographic at icbc.com, and register for the pilot project at icbc.com/techpilot.

Quotes:

Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the BC Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee

“Distracted driving is the number one cause of serious crashes in our province and it continues to be a growing safety concern. To combat this problem, police will be out on the road – in every community – making sure people leave their phones alone while driving.”

Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s Vice-President Public Affairs

“Our telematics pilot project will help us better understand the role that technology can play in reducing distraction and preventing crashes for inexperienced drivers. But safer roads start with every driver making a conscious decision to focus on the road and leave their phones alone. Let’s all do our part to create a safer driving culture in B.C.”

Regional statistics*:

  • Every year, on average, 27 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Lower Mainland.

  • Every year, on average, 10 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes on Vancouver Island.

  • Every year, on average, 28 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Southern Interior.

  • Every year, on average, 13 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the North Central region.

*Police data from 2013 to 2017. Distraction: where one or more of the vehicles involved had contributing factors including use of communication/video equipment, driver inattentive and driver internal/external distraction.

Will my credit card cover me if I crash a rental car?

We’re flying to Newfoundland in September and renting a car there for three weeks. My husband and I aren’t sure if we should buy the expensive insurance they sell at the counter. I think we’re fine with our credit card’s insurance – it’s a fancy points card so I’m assuming it covers rental car insurance. But my husband thinks we should buy the extra insurance just to be safe. – Briana, Toronto

Before you charge off in a rental car without buying their insurance, check with your credit card company to make sure you’re covered.

“Not every card has collision and damage protection but most premium travel ones do,” says Matt Hands, senior business unit manager of insurance at Ratehub, a rate comparison site. “It’ll say in the pamphlet that came with the card, or you can call and actually ask somebody.”

Buying the insurance they sell at the rental counter can cost $35 (or more) per day, depending on what you get, and a lot of people just buy it to be safe – even though they may already be covered by credit cards or their car insurance, Hands says.

So what do rental car companies offer? It varies. Budget Canada, for instance, sells a collision damage waiver (CDW), personal effects and accident benefits insurance and liability insurance.

A CDW covers the damage to the rental car. Otherwise, you’re on the hook for it.

Accident benefits insurance covers death or dismemberment. Personal effects insurance covers personal items, like cameras or laptops, that may be damaged or stolen.

Liability insurance covers you if you cause injury or damage to property, including another vehicle, over the amount included in the rental agreement.

Canadian rental companies provide some liability coverage, but companies in other countries might not.

Typically, you’ll get the minimum amount of liability coverage required by the province – in Ontario, it’s $200,000 – included in the rental price. At the counter, you can buy more.

READ MORE HERE: 

Tesla heads down new road with car insurance in California

Michael Liedtke and Tom Krisher, The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Tesla owners in California can now buy insurance from the electric car company in what may be the first step toward the unconventional automaker providing coverage for a fleet of driverless taxis.

The expansion announced Wednesday comes four months after Tesla CEO Elon Musk told analysts the company would branch into insuring its own cars for people who buy or lease them.

Musk believes Tesla has learned so much about its cars that it will be able to offer rates 20% to 30% below those offered by traditional insurers. That will likely to appeal to Tesla owners who have been complaining about being charged too much for coverage.

Although the insurance is only being sold in California to start, Tesla plans to offer coverage throughout the U.S. at a later undisclosed state.

The policies will only be for personal usage of the Tesla cars, but the Palo Alto, California, company also wants to eventually offer commercial policies.

It’s a move Tesla may have to take if Musk is to deliver on his promise to begin selling Tesla vehicles capable of navigating roads without a driver behind the wheel within the next 16 months. Self-driving car experts believe that is unlikely to happen, but Musk has promised to have a fleet of robotic Teslas operating as part of a ride-hailing service by the end of next year.

To make that vision a reality, the driverless cars will need commercial insurance — something no company but Tesla may be willing to provide, given it probably will be exploring uncharted territory if it’s able to dispatch fully autonomous vehicles to pick up passengers.

Selling insurance will also provide Tesla with another source of revenue as it tries to prove it can consistently make money. The company was profitable during the last half of last year — the longest stretch of prosperity in its history — but has lost another $1.1 billion during the first half of this year. Those losses could rise even higher if Tesla miscalculates the risks of selling auto insurance.

Tesla’s disappointing financial performance and escalating doubts about its future prospects have caused its stock to plunge 35% so far this year.

Tesla believes it has learned so much about the technology, safety and repair costs of its cars that it will be able to figure out the proper prices to charge for each policy. Its electric cars are equipped with so many sensors that the company could theoretically monitor whether the drivers are prone to chronic speeding or habitually engaging in other risky behaviour, but Tesla says it won’t do that.

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