Stop Signs & Red Lights, Honk, Honk, Honk!

“I almost lost my life at West Fourth and Blenheim in Vancouver this morning” reported a DriveSmartBC Twitter follower. “I was turning left. The traffic lights were red for the traffic on Fourth. I stopped for the stop sign on Blenheim, then moved into the intersection to make my turn. The vehicle approaching me from the opposite direction was speeding and didn’t even slow down for the stop sign. She went straight through!”

The first thought that I had was to wonder whether this woman missed seeing the stop sign or whether she was taking advantage of the red traffic light on the cross street to deliberately disobey her duty to stop.

It does not matter where you encounter a stop sign, the law requires a complete cessation of your vehicle’s (or cycle’s) movement at the proper place. Once you have stopped and yielded the right of way to other road users as the rules dictate, only then are you allowed to proceed with care.

This applies to traffic on Blenheim Street.

Don’t forget that you may have a duty to yield to the vehicle turning left, even if you are traveling straight through the intersection.

The red light is a different matter. This traffic signal is at an intersection, so drivers and riders on Fourth Street facing it are required to stop, wait for a green light, yield to traffic still lawfully in the intersection and then proceed if it is safe to do so.

The only exception to this is when making a right turn on red is not prohibited. However, you still have to come to a stop, yield as necessary and make your turn with care.

Throw a few pedestrians into the mix and the rules requiring a driver to yield become more complex.

The Twitter follower travels this route frequently and says that he is often subjected to the wrath of drivers behind him when he stops for the stop sign and the traffic light is red. Honk, honk, honk! How dare you slow me down!

This reminds me of the proverb look before you leap. This wisdom has been forgotten by many drivers as the tendency is to keep going rather than stop or slow down.

After years of observing this behaviour I often joked that I wanted to be assigned to a “bridge out” complaint. I would set up cones, park my police vehicle with the emergency lights flashing, stand beside the road holding a stop sign and watch everyone drive by and fill up the hole.

Insurance for ride booking drivers is a must 

Source: Lacie Glover: NerdWallet:

Uber and Lyft drivers might seem well-insured, between the ride-booking companies’ coverage and their own policies. However, a crucial gap leaves drivers at risk if they have an accident at the wrong time.

THE GAP

Once a driver accepts a fare or has passengers in the car, each company’s insurance policy is pretty generous. But while a driver is waiting for a ride request, coverage is slim. It includes only basic liability coverages, which pay other people if you’re at fault in a crash.

If you cause an accident before accepting a request, you’ll be on the hook for your medical bills and any damage to your car. You’ll also have to pay for injuries and property damage beyond these liability limits:

_ $50,000 bodily injury per person

_ $100,000 bodily injury per accident

_ $25,000 in property damage per accident

THE RISK

You can rely on your personal auto policy during that time, right? Not so fast.

When you use your car for “livery” _ carrying passengers or goods for a fare _ it’s not covered by a traditional policy.

So if you file a claim with your insurer for an accident that occurs while you’re waiting for a new fare, it will probably get denied. (Uber and Lyft expect drivers to file claims for these accidents with their personal insurers first.)

What’s more, your insurer could cancel or refuse to renew your policy if it finds out about undisclosed driving for ride-booking companies, no matter when an accident happens.

THE SOLUTION

Many insurers now offer what they call ride-share auto policies , which extend your personal policy to cover ride-booking and guarantee you won’t lose coverage because of your job.

Sound like too much insurance? It’s not a separate policy _ just an add-on some companies offer _ often for under $20 per month. There is an option in most states.

Canadian auto sales show year over year decline in March: DesRosiers

Canadian sales of cars and light trucks were down 0.6 per cent in March compared with the same month last year but remained high by historical trends, according to industry statistics compiled by DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

The total number of vehicles sold in March was 186,447, the second-highest for the month since at least 2011, but down from 187,540 in March 2017.

General Motors performed relatively well compared with the other Detroit-based manufacturers, selling 30,159 vehicles under various name plates, a slight increase of 0.1 per cent from March 2017.

By contrast, Ford’s Canadian sales were down 1.6 per cent to 26,050 and Fiat Chrysler’s were down 7.7 per cent to 24,490.

But sales of Toyota-branded vehicles was up 9.7 per cent to 18,954, and sales of European brands Volvo, Volkswagen and its luxury affiliate Audi were up by double-digits from smaller bases.

General Motors announced early Tuesday that it would stop announcing its sales figures on a monthly basis and begin issuing them quarterly starting with the months of April through June.

Dennis DesRosiers, whose company compiles the Canadian sales figures, said in an email that he’d prefer to see them released on a monthly basis.

“Sales is arguably the most important performance metric so there are a lot of companies that will be quite upset if they don’t at least continue reporting privately to each of the other companies,” DesRosiers said.

“One in seven jobs in Canada and one in six in Ontario are dependant directly or indirectly on the automotive industry, so isn’t it somewhat important to have regular reporting of the most important metric in the industry?”

Representatives of Ford Canada and Fiat Chrysler said in emails that they haven’t changed their policy on releasing figures on a monthly basis.

March was the first month of 2018 to show a year-over-year decline in overall sales, according to figures compiled by the consulting group, which is based in Richmond Hill, Ont.

Sales of passenger cars were down 12.4 per cent to 53,932, from 61,557 a year earlier, more than off-setting an increase in light truck sales. Light truck sales were up 5.2 per cent to 132,515 last month, from 125,993 in March 2017.

The first-quarter total was 429,258 vehicles light trucks and cars sold, up 1.8 per cent from the comparable period last year.

Light trucks accounted for nearly three-quarters of the vehicles sold during the three-month period, rising 6.4 per cent from a year ago to 308,072. Car sales were down 8.2 per cent to 121,186, DesRosiers reports.

April is Auto Crime Enforcement Month 2018: “Lock it or Looted”

Source: ICBC

April is Auto Crime Enforcement Month. This year the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT), the Province of British Columbia, and ICBC are asking vehicle owners to avoid tempting criminals. The theme of “Lock it or Looted” suggests that if owners are not locking their vehicle doors, they are susceptible to crimes of opportunity.

The statistics from the past year show that in British Columbia the number of thefts from vehicles dropped by less than a percent due to an increase in the number of thefts from vehicles in parts of the province outside the Lower Mainland.

What thieves are looking for is opportunity. Vehicle owners are being cautioned to not leave themselves vulnerable to victimization.

Top 10 most common items stolen from vehicles:

  • Smartphones
  • Personal electronics – tablets, laptops, GPS
  • Work tools
  • Credit cards
  • Identification and documents
  • Cash and change
  • Car parts and accessories
  • Garage door openers
  • Sunglasses
  • Keys

“In British Columbia, we need to see thefts from vehicles drop more significantly in order to say we are having an impact on deterring auto crime,” says Insp. MacDonald of IMPACT.  “The hard work of our team at IMPACT and the diligence of all officers  around the province has gone a long way towards educating the public and making vehicle owners aware of how they can help bring these statistics down.”

“The police, the Province, ICBC, the IMPACT team, and B.C.’s Bait Car program continue to work around the clock to take down auto thieves and help put them behind bars—and these innovative efforts continue to make our roads and communities safer,” says Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “But, we must all remain vigilant, and Auto Crime Enforcement month is an excellent opportunity to remind vehicle owners of the many ways they can protect their automobiles and keep their personal property safe. Everyone has a role to play to make it harder for auto thieves and to ensure there are fewer victims of auto crime.”

“Auto crime is not only a distressing and troublesome experience for our customers, but also adds pressure on claims costs,” says Steve Crombie, Vice President responsible for Road Safety at ICBC. “Last year stolen vehicle claims in B.C. cost approximately $50 million and vehicle break-in claims cost another $18 million. Taking thoughtful actions to prevent auto crime not only helps to control claims costs, but will help to make our communities and roads safer.”

In order to keep vehicles safe, it requires a conscious effort by the owners. Some helpful tips include:
  • Do not leave your vehicle running with the keys in the ignition.
  • Park in a locked, secure garage, or a well-lit, high-traffic area.
  • Remove unsecured possessions from your vehicle.  Anything that might tempt a thief.
  • Install an alarm system.
  • Always lock your vehicle.

ICBC and BC Transplant partnership helps increase organ donation registrations by 15%

Source: ICBC: More than 125,000 customers registered their decision on organ donation in the year since ICBC driver licensing employees across B.C. began asking customers to register their decision on organ donation with BC Transplant.

“We’re really pleased with the overwhelming support for organ donation and that we’re able to make it easy for our customers to register their decision,” said Nicolas Jimenez, ICBC’s interim president and CEO. “These conversations at our driver licensing locations will save lives.”

You only need to register once in a lifetime but a decal on your driver’s licence is no longer enough to ensure you’re registered as an organ donor. You can register your wishes online at transplant.bc.ca or at ICBC driver licensing offices across the province.

“Our partnership with ICBC has led to more conversations about organ donation in our communities, and now more than ever, British Columbians are registering their wishes for organ donation,” said Leanne Appleton, BC Transplant’s provincial executive director. “Thanks to these decisions and the life-saving gifts of organ donors and their families, a record 479 people received a transplant in 2017.”

An earlier pilot in four ICBC locations indicated the value of having these conversations so the program was expanded to all ICBC driver licensing locations across the province. Based on the phenomenal success of the program, ICBC employees will continue asking customers to register their decision.

British Columbians and their families are increasingly making a generous decision for organ donation. In 2017, the life-saving gifts of 97 living donors and a record 121 deceased donors gave a second chance at life to 479 British Columbians suffering from organ failure.

More than 1.2 million people have registered their decision in the BC Organ Donor Registry. All British Columbians are encouraged to register their own decision about organ donation, and share their wishes with their family.

SUVs to steal the New York International Auto Show

By Tom Krisher:

Yes, there will be a few cars, but SUVs will capture most of the headlines at this year’s New York International Auto Show.

Automakers will be shoring up gaps in their SUV lineups and revamping models that already are popular in the hottest-selling part of the U.S. market.

Leading the way is Toyota with an all-new RAV4 compact SUV, which last year was the most popular vehicle in the U.S. that isn’t a truck. There are also new SUVs coming from Subaru, Volkswagen, Acura, Cadillac and Lincoln.

There won’t be many cars. Nissan will show off a redesigned Altima midsize sedan, while Toyota will roll out a new Corolla hatchback. Kia will unveil a new K900 big luxury sedan, among others.

But SUVs, which hit a record 43 per cent of U.S. sales last year at just over 7.3 million, according to Kelley Blue Book, will steal the show. Here are some wheels to watch:

CADILLAC XT4

The compact SUV is now the largest part of the U.S. market, and Cadillac hasn’t had a product to offer _ until now. The General Motors luxury brand rolled out the new XT4 SUV at a pre-show event in New York Tuesday night. It’s built on underpinnings specifically designed for the Cadillac brand and comes with sculpted looks and an interior that Cadillac says is luxurious and spacious. The company says it will have segment-leading back-seat legroom. It’s powered by a 237 horsepower 2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a nine-speed automatic transmission that will get an estimated 30 miles per gallon on the highway. The XT4 is available in the fall and starts at $35,790 including shipping.

VOLKSWAGEN ATLAS CROSS SPORT CONCEPT

Volkswagen broadens its growing SUV lineup with a five-seat version of the three-row Atlas. The company calls the Atlas Cross Sport a concept, but it’s almost ready to be built at the automaker’s U.S. factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The new version is 7.5 inches shorter than the seven-seat Atlas. The concept is powered by a 355-horsepower plug-in hybrid system with a V6 gasoline engine and a battery that can take it 26 miles on electric power. The hybrid concept can go from zero to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds, VW says. There’s also a “mild hybrid” with 310-horsepower from a V6 and a smaller hybrid battery. The SUV is due in showrooms sometime next year. Mileage and price were not announced.

TOYOTA RAV4

Toyota sold almost 408,000 RAV4 compact SUVs last year, making it the new American family car and the top-selling vehicle in the nation aside from Detroit’s popular big pickups. In an effort to stay on top, Toyota is revamping the RAV for the 2019 model year. The fifth-generation comes on all-new underpinnings that the company says will give it better handling and a smoother ride. It’s also slightly wider and a little lower. New looks are more chiseled and athletic, and the distance between the wheels grows by 1.2 inches for more passenger and cargo space. It comes standard with Toyota’s safety system that includes automatic emergency braking. It’s powered by a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed transmission, or a 2.5-litre gas-electric hybrid system with a continuously variable transmission. Horsepower, gas mileage and price weren’t released. The new RAV hits showrooms in the fall.

LINCOLN AVIATOR

Ford’s luxury brand finally gets an Explorer-like midsize SUV with three rows of seats to compete in the hot luxury SUV market. The company was to unveil the Aviator Wednesday. Few details were given, except that it will have a twin-turbo engine of undisclosed size as well as a plug-in hybrid option. Ford says it will have tapered lines and a roomy interior. It also gets standard safety features such as automatic emergency braking and can be opened and started with a smart phone. The Aviator goes on sale sometime next year. The price wasn’t disclosed.

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