VIDEO – Roundabouts: Driving Lesson

Rick August of Smart Drive Test introduces us to the roundabout or traffic circle.

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites

Restorative Justice: An Alternative to the Traffic Ticket

Scales of JusticeQuite some time ago I wrote about an initiative to trade your ticket for driver training. I was very pleased with the outcome of the one instance that I tried on my own, but the program never took off as the provincial government required the RCMP to provide it to all drivers if it was implemented. The Victoria Police Department is trying something similar through Restorative Justice Victoria.

An article in the Victoria Times Colonist reports that Cst. Sean Millard implemented his idea as a pilot project that exchanged a distracted driving ticket for a 3 hour restorative justice session on December 10, 2017.

32 drivers ranging in age from 20 to 60 chose to participate instead of paying the $543 fine.

These drivers completed cognitive tests that demonstrated how difficult simple tasks become when you’re distracted. They heard personal stories, including those of a retired firefighter who talked about having to pry people out of vehicles in crashes caused by distracted driving.

Karen Bowman, who founded Drop It and Drive ran parts of the workshop. In founding Drop It and Drive Karen developed a program delivery method to achieve behavioural change through imparting knowledge, science and practical, usable tools in a highly efficient and engaging manner.

Restorative justice helps people understand how their actions affect others to create long-lasting change. The programs, if they exist in your community, are run by volunteers.

Participation in a restorative justice program like this one starts with a referral by the police, and this is likely going to be the biggest hurdle. One traffic court judicial justice that I have spoken with commented on officer resistance to step outside the normal procedure for dealing with ticket disputes, even when suggested by the court.

Referral also depends on having an appropriate program in place with your restorative justice group along with the needed volunteers to deliver it. If you want to make a difference in your community, consider volunteering.

Starting with Road Safety Vision in 2001, Canada’s national road safety strategy contained public education initiatives and targeted high risk driving behaviour. Known as the Road Safety Strategy 2025 today, this restorative justice program neatly fits that target and recognizes that the traffic ticket is not the only way to change driving behaviour for the better.

Should we have to take drivers by the hand and explain to them that distracted driving is dangerous and they should not do it? I think not, but part of the problem is that we tend to let our behaviours change to suit our perceived risk. If you cannot leave your phone alone, then the more effective ways that there are to convince you that you should, the better off we’ll all be.

The “I Can Get Away With It” Mindset

Ticket WriterI’ve written before about the three Es of road safety, education, engineering and enforcement. The enforcement component was the subject of a comment to me concerning a visible police presence on our highways. The observation was that unmarked cars and what seems like minimal enforcement creates a “I can get away with it” mindset.

The fleet at the last traffic unit that I worked at consisted of seven vehicles: two unmarked, two “clean roof” and three fully marked cars. One of the unmarked cars was only available for enforcement work if the supervisors weren’t working or were otherwise occupied. Policy dictated the percentage of cars that could be anything less than fully marked.

The unmarked cars were popular even though they were relatively easy to identify as police vehicles if you were paying attention. Plain trim, black steel wheels and antennas on the roof tend to stick out.

Even so, you tended to find more bad driving behaviour patrolling in the unmarked car than you would when using a fully marked vehicle. My experience was also that I was able to deal with drivers that I did not see misbehaving otherwise.

Add an unconventional unmarked vehicle to the mix and it got more interesting. We were envious of a neighbouring traffic unit that had an unmarked pickup truck with a canopy. Drivers did all sorts of foolish things around it, probably because they did not associate it with active traffic enforcement.

Our supervisor often expressed his desire to see flashing lights at the roadside. He said that the public couldn’t tell whether we were writing tickets or warnings and the flashing lights served to remind them that if they didn’t behave, the next driver pulled over might be them.

This halo effect could be very short lived however. Occasionally I would entertain myself by leaving the radar running while I wrote a ticket so I was able to keep and eye on what was overtaking us. A vehicle would come into view travelling at a speed in excess of the limit, see the flashing lights and slow down. Sometimes they even slowed to a speed under the limit. After they passed by I would frequently see their speed creep back up to the initial speed over the limit before the vehicle went out of sight.

I wonder whether flashing lights deter bad driving behaviour or if it only discourages it in places where they are seen frequently. After all, it is some other driver that is receiving police attention, not you, so why worry?

My old patrol area consisted of about 350 kilometers of numbered highway. My shift partner and I more often than not were the only dedicated traffic enforcement present save for the overlap with the day or afternoon shift depending on which shift we were working. The chance of running into either one of us was slim and truthfully, became even slimmer the farther away you were from the detachment.

I don’t agree that unmarked cars are part of the visible enforcement deficit, but the scope of the job given the size of our province contributes to a feeling of minimal enforcement and an “I can get away with it” mindset.

Nissan Canada data breach may have exposed 1.1M finance customers’ information

Nissan Canada Finance said 1.13 million customers in Canada may be victims of a possible data breach.

By  | Global News

Nissan Canada Finance says the personal information of approximately 1.13 million customers may have been exposed due to a data breach.

In a media release sent Thursday, the company said the breach involved unauthorized person(s) gaining access to the personal information of some customers that have financed their vehicles through Nissan Canada Finance and INFINITI Financial Services Canada.

It’s not yet known how many customers have been impacted.

Nissan Canada became aware of the data breach on Dec. 11, but did not notify customers until Thursday, a spokesperson told Global News.

“We immediately began taking steps to make sure the breach happened, everyone is now being contacted,” a spokesperson said.

The unauthorized access may have impacted the following types of information for some customers:

  • customer name,
  • address
  • vehicle make and model
  • vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • credit score
  • loan amount and monthly payment.

Nissan Canada is still investigating.

There is no indication that customers who financed their vehicles outside of Canada are affected, the company said.

Canada: Fair Insurance Act

Last Updated: December 21 2017

Article by Marc G. Spivak

The Ontario Liberal government, just prior to an election, claims it has again decided to address high automobile insurance premiums (but ignores the negative affect of these changes on victims of car accidents).

In the 2017 Ontario Ministry of Finance Report “Fair Benefits Fairly Delivered: A Review of the Auto Insurance System of Ontario” the average yearly rates for car insurance by province were:

  1. Ontario: $1,458
  2. B.C.: $1,316
  3. Alberta: $1,179
  4. Newfoundland & Labrador: $1,090
  5. Manitoba: $1,001
  6. Northwest Territories: $974
  7. Nunavut: $968
  8. Yukon: $806
  9. Nova Scotia: $783
  10. Saskatchewan: $775
  11. New Brunswick: $763
  12. E.I.: $755
  13. Quebec: $724.

The Liberal government, which has historically taken away benefits and protection from victims with empty promises of keeping car insurance rates affordable (I have never seen any reduction in car insurance the last few years, have you?), has created smoke and mirrors and called it The Fair Auto Insurance Plan. This plan is supposed to “improve care, reduce disputes around diagnosis and treatment… promote innovation, competition and other steps to improve consumer protection.”

The plan creates a fancy title for investigation of alleged fraud “The Serious Fraud Office” which is to be operational by the spring of 2018. Call me sceptical but insurers have appropriately and successfully cut out all fraud from car insurance for years, so is this the Premier’s excuse why her promises regarding reducing car insurance premiums never worked out? (although they did cut off perhaps 50% of the benefits desperately needed for victims and greatly increased profits of the auto insurers).

The Fair Auto Insurance Plan will also introduce:

  • Standard treatment plans for immediate care on common injuries: sprains, whiplash, etc. (Ask yourself how “common” your injuries are when you are so inflicted).
  • Independent examination centres for more serious collision victims aimed to reduce diagnosis disputes, reduce system costs and inefficiencies (Historically “independent” examination centres are insurer biased).
  • Insurance Act to be given “greater teeth” to protect consumers (Consumer benefit has never been the intention behind changes since 1990- ask any personal injury lawyer).

These promised changes have elements that have been used in previous car insurance regimes that have all failed, yet before an election promises are being made to protect consumers! The only protection for consumers in the car insurance industry is to acquire optional benefits from your insurance broker to better protect you and your family and to ask a personal injury lawyer whether your coverage is adequate, before it is too late!

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

Source: Mondaq

SGI says too many scofflaws on Saskatchewan roads, hundreds ticketed last month

REGINA _ Saskatchewan’s Crown-owned insurance company says too many motorists are driving when they shouldn’t be and not paying attention when they’re behind the wheel.

SGI says last month police cited 302 people for driving while suspended or disqualified.

Police issued 519 tickets to people for operating vehicles or trailers without a valid registration.

Another 345 scofflaws were ticketed for driving without a valid licence or failing to follow licence restrictions.

Police also reported 636 distracted driving offences last month, 554 related to cellphone use.

SGI says the distracted driving numbers are the highest they have recorded.

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