German city to ban some diesel cars to combat air pollution

Some diesel cars will be banned in Hamburg to combat air pollution, officials of the northern German city said Wednesday, May 23, 2018.

Parts of two streets in the city will be banned for older models of diesel cars and trucks starting Thursday next week, the German news agency dpa reported.

The ban comes after Germany’s top administrative court ruled in February that cities can ban diesel cars to combat air pollution. That decision was a further blow to diesel fuel technology after the revelations that German automaker Volkswagen cheated on U.S. emissions tests.

The city said two sections of two streets _ one 580 metres (630 yards) long, the other one 1.6 kilometres (1750 yards) _ in the Altona neighbourhood would be banned for 168,000 of the 264,406 diesel cars that are registered in Hamburg. The ban will also include older diesel vehicles from drivers visiting the city. Ambulances, garbage trucks, residents and delivery trucks are exempt from the ban.

The German government released a study in March saying thousands of people die prematurely each year from the harmful effects of nitrogen dioxide, a gas that’s also produced by diesel engines.

Last week, the European Union announced it would take six member states, including Germany, to court for exposing their citizens to too much air pollution.

The value of diesel vehicles in Germany has already fallen significantly, and their market share has also dropped since the Volkswagen scandal broke in 2015.

Figures released last month by the Federal Motor Transport Authority show new registrations of diesel-powered cars dropped by 25.4 per cent in March to under 109,000, compared with about 146,000 during the same month a year earlier.

ICBC urges drivers to watch for cyclists and share the roads this summer

Six cyclists are injured every day in the summer in B.C., so ICBC is urging drivers and cyclists to take extra care on our roads as we near Bike to Work Week (May 28 to June 3).

As ridership increases in the summer, so does the number of cyclist-related crashes. In B.C., 760 cyclists are injured and seven are killed in car crashes from June to September every year.*

“More crashes mean more deaths, injuries and claims, which is why we need to work together to make roads safer,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s acting vice-president responsible for road safety. “We sponsor Bike to Work Week as an opportunity to educate both drivers and cyclists. It’s part of our commitment to support road safety programs throughout the province. Whether you’re a driver or a cyclist, please do your part to drive smart.”

Tips for drivers:

  • As a driver, you see cyclists when you really look for them. Stay alert, especially at intersections, and be ready to yield the right-of-way.

  • Watch for cyclists on the road and make eye contact if you can, so they can anticipate your next move.

  • Shoulder check for cyclists before turning right and watch for oncoming cyclists before turning left. Scan for cyclists before you enter the roadway from an alley or get in and out of a parking spot.

  • Both drivers and passengers must shoulder check for cyclists before opening their vehicle door. Not only will it keep cyclists safe, it will help you avoid a dooring violation and fine too.

  • Maintain at least three seconds of following distance behind cyclists and at least one metre when passing a cyclist. Don’t risk side-swiping or running a cyclist off the road.

Tips for cyclists:
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals and follow the rules of the road.

  • Use designated bike routes whenever possible – they’re safer and reduce conflicts with vehicle traffic. Check your local municipality’s website for designated bike routes or visit TransLink.ca for maps of cycling routes in Metro Vancouver.

  • If there’s no bike lane, keep to the right-hand side of the road as much as it’s safe to do so. It’s illegal to ride on most sidewalks and crosswalks – it puts pedestrians in danger and drivers don’t expect cyclists to enter the roadway from a sidewalk.

  • Use caution around parked vehicles. Be aware of people in vehicles and taxis to avoid getting hit by an opening door. It’s best to keep at least one metre away from parked vehicles.

  • Before making any turns, shoulder check and hand signal in advance. Remember, drivers sometimes fail to yield right-of-way.

 
For more information about cycling, and videos about these tips, visit our cycling safety page on icbc.com.

Regional statistics*:

  • In the Lower Mainland, on average, 1,100 cyclists are injured and five killed every year.
  • On Vancouver Island, on average, 320 cyclists are injured and three killed every year.

  • In the Southern Interior, on average, 160 cyclists are injured and three killed every year.

  • In the North Central region, on average, 22 cyclists are injured from every year.

*Based on a five-year average using 2012 to 2016 police fatality data and 2013 to 2017 ICBC injury data.

What’s the rush, Saskatchewan? 4,873 drivers caught speeding in April

SGI NEWS RELEASE: 

There were 4,873 tickets for speeding and aggressive driving issued by police during the April Traffic Safety Spotlight on speeding.

Whoa, that’s a lot of speeders. One might say those numbers “quickly” added up.

Lame jokes aside, it’s time to #SlowDown, Saskatchewan. Excessive speed is one of the leading factors in traffic-related deaths and injuries. If you speed, you’re more likely to get into a collision, and the faster your speed, the worse the collision.

Remember: speeding tickets in Saskatchewan got more expensive as of May 1. The base fine on all speeding tickets has increased by $30 and the km/h charge for travelling in excess of the posted speed has doubled.

What do these increased speeding fines look like? Exceeding the speed limit by 20 km/h on a regular street or highway triggers a total fine of $190, including the Victims of Crime surcharge and km/h charges. In a school zone, 20 km/h over the limit costs you $310. If you speed past workers in a 60 km/h orange zone, you’ll shell out $440 for going 80, and $1,008 for going 100!

So leave a little earlier, ease off the accelerator and keep your money in your pocket. (Besides, you’re definitelygoing to be late if you get pulled over, right?).

Police also issued tickets for other traffic infractions* including:

  • 516 distracted driving offences (426 for cellphone use)
  • 269 impaired driving offences (including 265 Criminal Code charges.)
  • 323 offences regarding seatbelts/child car seats

Police continue to focus on impaired driving throughout May. Remember, impaired is impaired. In Saskatchewan, it’s currently illegal and will continue to be illegal to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, even once marijuana use becomes legal in Canada later this year.

 

Follow SGI on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for safety tips to #TakeCareOutThere.

 

* Includes all traffic safety focus results for April 2018 submitted by police as of May 17, 2018.

Woman drove 62 km/h over limit with 2 kids in car, Hamilton police allege

HAMILTON _ Police say a woman faces charges after allegedly driving 62 kilometres an hour over the posted speed limit with two young children in the car.

Hamilton police say an officer clocked the vehicle at 142 km/h in an 80 km/h zone early Wednesday morning.

They say an officer first noticed the car travelling at high speed and passing slower traffic.

Police say it had reached 142 km/h before they were able to catch up and make a traffic stop.

They say the driver, a 35-year-old woman from Cambridge, Ont., had two small children with her.

She is charged with stunt driving, speeding and driving without insurance.

Insurance report shows Alberta has highest increase in claims linked to distracted driving

 Colleen SchmidtSupervisor | CTV News Calgary

A report from a Canadian Insurance company says crashes tied to inattentiveness behind the wheel are increasing and Alberta has the highest number of distracted driving related accident claims in the country.

Aviva Canada collected data from its clients’ crashes between 2016 and 2018 and says Alberta showed a 58 percent increase in claims related to distracted driving, which is more than double the Canadian average of 23 percent.

“So we’ve seen a shocking statistic in Alberta,” said Phil Gibson, Chief Underwriting Officer, Aviva Insurance. “We took all the claims that are frequently associated with distracted driving, so rear end without skid marks that hit a stationary object, drifting across lanes and hitting something, failure to obey a stop sign, those types of things, and we’ve extrapolated that there is distracted driving going on within there.”

Gibson says 95 percent of Canadians say texting and driving by others makes them feel unsafe on the roads.

“That’s another terrible statistic. We should feel safe and certain and know that when we’re going down the road that other Canadians are looking out for each other,” he said.

Police say it takes more than enforcement to get the message across.

“People need to come to the realization that distracted driving causes all the damage, all the lives lost and all the hurt in society that impaired driving causes. The two equate to each other just like that and even though distracted driving is newer ,if you will ,than impaired driving it causes all the catastrophe that impaired driving does,”  said CPS Sgt. Dale Seddon.

Dean Lorenson started taking a bigger interest in distracted driving after he was involved in a crash.

“I think it was a Ford F-150, was just kind of rolling through and knocked me over,” he said.

Lorenson counts the number of distracted driving related tickets that are written by Calgary police and even involved his son’s Grade 3 class to help keep track.

The students counted 430 instances of distracted driving in a single month and Lorenson says people are making things worse by trying to hide the fact that they are looking at their phones while they drive.

“Actually that makes it worse because you’re really not paying attention. If your phone is up here, while you’re driving, you might be able to see but if you’re trying to hide it and looking down here, that just makes the problem worse,” he said.

Checking phones while driving or even when stopped at a traffic light is illegal and despite awareness campaigns, fines and do-not-disturb technology, it’s a behaviour that has proven challenging to change.

“I don’t think it’s going to take more laws or even technology. I think we can start influencing each other when we think about what an awesome responsibility it is driving a car and keeping each other safe to just stop allowing yourself to be distracted,” said Gibson.

The insurance company suggests planning ahead, prepping podcasts and playlists or locking away your phone.

ICBC warns: long weekend brings more crashes

As drivers hit the road this Victoria Day long weekend, police will be conducting a province-wide enforcement blitz to target high-risk driving behaviours to keep B.C. roads safe as part of a month-long campaign.

High-risk driving behaviours, like speeding, increase your risk of crashing. That’s why ICBC, police and Speed Watch volunteers are urging drivers to slow down. We all have a part to play in keeping our roads safe—if we want everyone else to drive smart, we first need to start with ourselves.

Over the Victoria Day long weekend, 490 people were injured in 1,900 crashes in B.C. in 2016. On average, two people are killed every year over the weekend.*

ICBC’s top five tips:

  • Plan your route and check road conditions at drivebc.ca before you leave.

  • Be realistic about travel times and accept delays that may arise. Don’t rush to make up time – slow down to reduce your risk of crashing and arrive at your destination safely. You also save fuel by driving at a safe and steady speed.

  • Don’t speed up as someone is trying to pass you. Help the other driver get back into your lane by slowing down and making room.

  • Stay focused and avoid distractions that take your mind off driving and your eyes off the road. Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of crashes so remember to take a break from your phone.

  • With more motorcyclists on our roads now, allow at least three seconds following distance when you’re behind a motorcycle. At intersections, the safest choice is to yield the right-of-way to an oncoming rider as it can be hard to tell how fast they’re travelling. Remember, you only see motorcycles when you really look for them.

Regional statistics*:

  • Over the Victoria Day long weekend, 330 people were injured in 1,200 crashes throughout the Lower Mainland in 2016.
  • Over the Victoria Day long weekend, 52 people were injured in 290 crashes throughout the Vancouver Island in 2016.
  • Over the Victoria Day long weekend, 69 people were injured in 270 crashes throughout the Southern Interior in 2016.
  • Over the Victoria Day long weekend, 38 people were injured in 140 crashes throughout the North Central region in 2016.

*Victoria Day long weekend is calculated from 18:00 the Friday prior to Victoria Day to midnight Monday. Injured victims and crashes from 2016 ICBC data. Fatal data based on five year average from police data (2011 to 2015).

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