Electronic driving systems don’t always work, tests show

By Tom Krisher


DETROIT _ Testing by AAA shows that electronic driver assist systems on the road today may not keep vehicles in their lanes or spot stationary objects in time to avoid a crash.

The tests brought a warning from the auto club that drivers shouldn’t think that the systems make their vehicles self-driving, and that they should always be ready to take control.

AAA also said that use of the word “pilot” by automakers in naming their systems can make some owners believe the vehicles can drive themselves.

“These systems are made as an aid to driving, they are not autonomous, despite all of the hype around vehicle autonomy,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering. “Clearly having ‘pilot’ in the name may imply a level of unaided driving, which is not correct for the current state of the development of these systems.”

The test results released Thursday come after several highly publicized crashes involving Tesla vehicles that were operating on the company’s system named “Autopilot.” The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating some of the crashes, including a March fatality that involved a Model X that struck a freeway barrier near Mountain View, California.

The AAA findings are the second tests showing that the systems can’t handle every situation in real-world driving, including some that are relatively common. In August, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released tests that showed similar problems to the AAA study.

The auto club tested the systems on four vehicles that had adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and automatic emergency braking. Vehicles tested included the 2018 Mercedes-Benz S Class, the 2018 Nissan Rogue, a 2017 Tesla Model S and a 2019 Volvo XC40. In addition to Tesla’s Autopilot, Volvo calls its system “Pilot Assist,” while Nissan’s is named “ProPilot Assist.”

Automakers generally say they tell drivers that their cars aren’t fully self-driving and that they should always be alert and ready to intervene.

AAA says the vehicles drifted out of lanes and hugged lane markers, struggling with moderate traffic, curved roads and streets with busy intersections. Three of the four would have failed to avoid a crash when the vehicle ahead of them changed lanes and a simulated stopped vehicle was ahead.

“As a result we had to take evasive action,” said Brannon.

Only the Tesla system brought the vehicle to a complete stop in all five track test runs, but driver intervention was needed for the others, the AAA report said.

The vehicles’ owner’s manuals say that spotting a stationary vehicle after a lead vehicle changes lanes is a design limitation for the systems, Brannon said. But he said researchers expected the vehicles to see stopped vehicles and react in time.

Automakers generally say that the systems are designed to supplement a human driver and they make it clear the vehicles don’t drive themselves.

Nissan said its system name contains the word “assist,” showing that it’s designed to help the driver.

“Mercedes-Benz has always stressed that this technology is designed to assist the driver, not to encourage customers to ignore their responsibilities as drivers,” the automaker said in a statement.

Tesla says that it reminds drivers to keep their hands on the wheel. “Tesla has always been clear that Autopilot doesn’t make the car impervious to all accidents,” the company said in a statement earlier this year.

A message was left Thursday seeking comment from Volvo.

Brannon said that despite their shortcomings, the systems have great potential to save lives and stop crashes from happening.

“Anything that can serve as a backstop to a good driver is going to enhance the safety of the system, of the driver,” he said.

Study reveals older B.C. drivers paying through the nose to subsidize younger motorists

Alan Campbell | Richmond News

Hardly a day goes by without hearing someone complain about paying more for auto insurance in B.C. than most places in Canada and, indeed, the western world.

According to a study released Thursday by the Fraser Institute – an “independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank” – drivers in the province pay higher auto insurance rates, in part, because ICBC doesn’t fully account for age when setting rates.

As such, according to the study, it uses driver premiums to pay for non-insurance related costs.

In August, in a bid to temper the disparity, the B.C. government announced changes to lower insurance costs for good drivers by up to $100 and raise costs for drivers with poor records.

“The government’s recent changes are welcome, but they don’t go far enough to fix our fundamentally flawed system that punishes safer drivers with higher rates to subsidize riskier drivers,” said John Chant, Fraser Institute senior fellow, professor emeritus of economics at Simon Fraser University and author of Understanding Why Basic Auto Insurance Rates in BC Are So High.

The study found that because ICBC — the only provider of mandatory basic insurance coverage in the province — sets rates without regard for age or gender, young drivers (between the ages of 16 and 24) pay more than $800 less than they would if rates reflected estimated accident experience.

In fact, all drivers under the age of 35 pay less than they otherwise would as a result.

Conversely, drivers over the age of 35 — particularly drivers between 45 and 64 — pay hundreds more in higher premiums than if rates reflected estimated accident experience.

In fact, drivers between 55 and 64 pay $228 more per year due to ICBC’s rate structure.

And, according to the study, it’s not just the rate structure that leads to high insurance costs.

ICBC also administers non-insurance related activities including driver testing, driver and vehicle licensing and fine collection, which are paid for by insurance premiums and add an estimated $50 to every driver’s insurance policy per year.

“It’s important that B.C. drivers understand why basic auto insurance is so expensive in this province as reforms are proposed and introduced,” added Chant.

The Richmond News reached out to ICBC for comment. No reply was received at the time of publication.

IBC Supports Ontario Government’s Review of Auto Insurance Rate Regulation

In today’s Fall Economic Statement, the Ontario government committed to cut red tape in the auto insurance system to benefit consumers.

“We congratulate the government on working to create the type of insurance system that is long overdue,” said Kim Donaldson, Vice-President, Ontario, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). “Consumers are looking for more common-sense innovations such as usage-based insurance and the ability to show electronic copies of their insurance documents.   Insurers applaud the objective of the Ontario government to modernize the rate regulation process.”

The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario will review and examine how other jurisdictions set insurance rates and to identify greater efficiencies and to enable more competition in the province’s auto insurance system.

Also encouraging in today’s Fall Economic Statement was the Ontario government’s observation that recent innovations in the insurance sector require an equally innovative response from regulators. The government is committed to creating a new regulatory framework that supports the modernization of the auto insurance sector as well as providing the new regulator innovative insurance products with the tools it needs to deter fraud.

“Consumers today demand flexibility and ease of use of products and services,” added Donaldson. “The electronic availability of insurance documents is the logical next step. Today’s announcement will improve the consumer experience.”

Home, auto and business insurers look forward to continuing to work with the government to make the auto insurance system more affordable and stable for all drivers in Ontario.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 126,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $54.7 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @IBC_Ontarioand like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC (1-844-227-5422).

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

“N” Drivers Forever!

Does a novice driver have to take the test to become a fully licensed class 5 driver? While there is a limited time that a novice must remain in the Graduated Licensing Program there is currently no limit on the other end of the scale. “N” drivers forever!

Of course, remaining a novice driver comes at a cost. You must abide by all of the restrictions listed on the back of your licence.

Being a novice means displaying an N sign prominently on the rear of any vehicle that you drive. This includes vehicles that you drive for work purposes, even if they are owned by the company you work for.

Cell phones, hands free or not, are forbidden for you to use. Ditto the GPS whether it is on your cell phone or part of the vehicle dashboard.

The rules regarding impairing substances have changed recently. In addition to having a zero blood alcohol level when driving, a novice must not have cocaine or tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in their body either. The Draeger Drugtest 5000 is approved for roadside screening to determine whether the driver is under the influence of marihuana or cocaine while driving or not.

There are passenger restrictions too. Novices may only carry one passenger. This restriction does not apply if the passengers are family members or the novice is accompanied by a properly licensed supervisor who is at least 25 years old and is not a learner or novice driver.

Novice drivers are also subject to stricter sanctions in RoadSafetyBC’s Driver Improvement Program. The chances of being prohibited from driving for a period of time if you receive a traffic ticket occur much sooner than they would for a full privilege driver.

Novices are allowed to drive outside of the province of BC as long as they follow the restrictions on their licence just as they would have to here in BC. Penalties for failing to do so are set by the province or state that the novice is driving in.

So, instead of worrying about the driver who has chosen not to test for their full privilege licence and remain a novice, perhaps we should admire them. They’ve decided to subject themselves to tighter sanctions than the rest of us when they drive. That is, until they face a driving prohibition after receiving a traffic ticket. Now there is incentive to test for full privilege licence and escape the sanctions of the Driver Improvement Program.

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.


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Operation Red Nose: Keeping You Safe for the Holidays!

Operation Red Nose launches its 35th campaign today as the organization gets ready to deploy its famous safe ride service in 102 communities across Canada, including 11 British Columbia communities. The service will be available to the population from November 30th to December 31st, 2018. Supported by its provincial sponsor ICBC, the organization is back to provide a safe ride home to those who don’t feel fit to drive. Volunteer Application Forms are now available at OperationRedNose.com.

This year’s slogan “Keeping you safe for the Holidays!” reaffirms Operation Red Nose’s purpose, which is to make roads safer for everyone during the holiday season. The organization invites both first-time and longtime volunteers to take part in this important collective effort which helps provide more than 2,000 safe rides each year in the province, in addition to helping raise funds for local youth and amateur sport programs. In addition, Operation Red Nose also launches a brand new public service announcement which will be broadcast on both radio and TV stations, in the form of a humorous animated video.


Operation Red Nose: Still relevant after 35 years

Operation Red Nose’s safe ride service has never ceased to gain in popularity and in maturity since its beginning in 1984, when 260 volunteers provided rides for 463 motorists. 35 years later, the organization mobilizes 50,000 volunteers annually who drive an average of 70,000 Canadian motorists home, in 102 communities across seven provinces.

“For our 35th campaign, we’re taking the time to reflect on everything we’ve accomplished since 1984. As the current context demonstrates, our program is still relevant today. Therefore, Canada’s largest safe ride home service will be back during the holiday season, beginning on November 30th,” says Mr. Jean-Marie De Koninck, Founding President of Operation Red Nose.

ICBC: a Longtime Operation Red Nose Partner in BC

“We’ve been a proud partner of Operation Red Nose in B.C. for more than 20 years. Our roads are safer for everyone because of these types of community programs and the dedicated volunteers,” said Aileen Shibata, ICBC road safety program manager. “We want everyone to enjoy the holiday season responsibly. Please make sure your celebrations include planning ahead for a safe ride home.”

ICBC supports Operation Red Nose by providing auto insurance, creating promotional materials for the campaign, and encouraging employees to volunteer for the program in their communities.

An enhanced experience for all!

Clients and volunteers can now access the new Operation Red Nose web site interface available at OperationRedNose.com, including updates which will enable one to find information quicker. It’s now easier than ever to find your local Operation Red Nose organization and get a safe ride home. Smartphone users can also download the Red Nose app. It’s available once again in both official languages, and allows you to get the phone number and times of operation of the closest organization, in addition to providing an alarm feature which you can program ahead of time for your safe ride home.

About Operation Red Nose

Operation Red Nose is a non-profit organization with a mission to encourage responsible behaviour with regard to impaired driving in a non-judgmental manner, by enabling communities to provide a free and confidential chauffeur service to their members. The money it raises is redistributed to local organizations dedicated to youth and amateur sports, and invested in responsible consumption and road safety awareness programs.


Operation Red Nose in B.C.: Chris Wilson, 604-341-0241

Operation Red Nose National: David Latouche

Automotive & Insurance Industries Consider Hot Issues Faced By The Autonomous Vehicle Sector

The Status of Autonomous Vehicle Technology

It is clear that autonomous vehicle availability is on the horizon. There was discussion at the Summit that with the adoption of autonomous vehicles, society’s views and values regarding the use and ownership of vehicles, and of transportation generally, will change.

Presentations from automobile manufacturers indicate that, from a technological standpoint, autonomous vehicles (Level 4 on the SAE International Levels of Driving Automation) could be ready for use by end consumers within the next five years, with one manufacturer stating that they hope to have a Level 4 autonomous vehicle available for purchase by 2021. Testing of Level 4 autonomous vehicles is underway in a number of jurisdictions in the United States, Europe and Canada. The State of California has recently passed legislation allowing for the testing of Level 5 fully autonomous vehicles, provided that there is a direct communication link with a remote operator, among other conditions.

More specifically, it was suggested that manufacturers may face a potential repositioning from their traditional role as manufacturers to “mobility providers” given the expected high cost of early generation autonomous vehicles, and shifting demographics which are becoming more urban and increasingly favouring ride-sharing over personal vehicle ownership. Many automobile manufacturers already operate in the ride sharing space, and autonomous vehicles represent an opportunity for further growth in these areas.

Developing a Suitable Regulatory Regime for Autonomous Vehicles

In light of the pending availability of autonomous vehicles, the current regulatory and insurance regime across jurisdictions in Canada, which is focused on single-owner, single-use (i.e. personal or commercial) insurance, with insurance rates based heavily on a driver’s personal history, and liability focused on the driver’s conduct, may also face a disruptive shift.

At the Summit, the “one-policy” approach was discussed as a potential option for insuring autonomous vehicles in Canada. In the United Kingdom, the recently-enacted Automated and Electric Vehicles Actlegislated the “one-policy” approach for autonomous vehicles in that jurisdiction. Under this approach, only one policy of insurance would respond to an accident regardless of whether a vehicle is in autonomous mode or being operated by a driver. The insurer would be liable for damages to the injured party, with the right to subrogate against any other party, including the autonomous vehicle manufacturer (See: our July issue for a review of this recent UK legislation).

The “one-policy” approach was endorsed by speakers at the Summit as a means of ensuring that injured parties are compensated in a timely manner without having to resort to commencing costly and complex product liability litigation against autonomous vehicle manufacturers. Whether the one-policy approach will remain suitable if the predicted trends in vehicle ownership and usership come to pass is unclear, though for the interim, it appears to provide a viable insurance option for the initial roll-out of autonomous vehicles.

With that, if the one-policy approach were adopted in Canada, there still remain a number of issues, including whether conventional insurers or manufacturers would act as insurers for autonomous vehicles. Although conventional insurers may appear better suited to provide “one-policy” insurance as they are already subject to government regulation and oversight, and are experienced in handling, adjusting and settling claims, there are issues with respect to data and information sharing and whether autonomous vehicle manufacturers should be involved in claims handling and the settlement of claims.

Conventional insurers would also need to contend with the issue of rate setting, which will be challenging given that autonomous vehicles may be put to multiple uses and subject to ride or ownership sharing, there will be little to no data upon which to assess the risk of a collision involving an autonomous vehicle, and that the cost of repairing autonomous vehicles remains largely unknown.

Overall, the Summit highlighted both the opportunities and challenges posed by the introduction of autonomous vehicles on Canadian roads. As autonomous vehicles become available in the coming years, to ensure their successful deployment, panelists at the Summit made it clear that regulators, manufacturers, insurers, legal experts and other stakeholders will all need to work together to develop a practical, straightforward, and fair regulatory regime.

About BLG

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

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