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First potholes and now this? Car insurance rates on the rise

CTV Montreal

As if the pot holes weren’t enough for Montreal drivers to worry about, car insurance rates are on their way up.

The rise comes after several years of the rates holding steady and the Insurance Bureau of Canada said part of the reason for the rise is that car repairs have gotten pricier.

They pointed to newer models of cars being heavily computerized, leading to more complex repairs in terms of skill and more expensive materials.

In 2007, the average premium for car insurance was $566, dipping to $525 in 2014 and slowly climbing to the present day.

How much an individual driver’s rate will go up depends on several factors, including driving record and type of car.

“For insurers, for the past couple of years the cost of selling claims and of operating costs have exceeded the premiums they were collecting, so an adjustment was inevitable,” said Insurance Bureau of Canada spokesperson Pierre Babinsky.

A spokesperson for CAA Quebec said the best way to avoid a sizeable hike in an insurance rate is be sure to shop around for the best deal.

Stolen autos sold to unsuspecting buyers in three western provinces: police

Calgary police have charged three people and are looking for a fourth person after a lengthy auto theft investigation that stretched into three provinces.

Police say stolen vehicles were obtained from low-level car thieves, sometimes in exchange for cash, drugs or other stolen vehicles.

The identification numbers were then changed and the vehicles sold to unsuspecting buyers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

An investigation launched in 2017 eventually led to the search of several locations between Calgary and Saskatoon and the seizure of property that included 39 stolen vehicles worth $1.9 million.

Tyler Roger Scott and Tami Lee Scott, both of Calgary, and Ikraam Elahi Chaudhary of Saskatoon face a number of charges, including committing an indictable offence for the benefit of, association of, or direction of a criminal organization.

Charges have also been laid against a third Calgarian, Sylvain Serge Lefevre, who is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant.

Police said vehicles left running with the keys inside, or those left in unsecure garages, were the thieves’ primary targets.

The renumbered stolen autos were matched with fraudulent bills of sale, registration and insurance documents to conceal the vehicle’s original identity.

The information was used to re-register and insure them before they were sold.

Police said they learned that the vehicles were used in several other crimes, including fraud, drug trafficking, trafficking in stolen property, break and enter and thefts.

Hundreds of fraudulent vehicle identification numbers, some registration documents, drugs and residential property in Calgary purchased through the proceeds of crime were among other items seized when search warrants were executed last May.

Police said their investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be laid.

Speed camera ahead: Google Maps adds photo radar warnings for drivers

By Colette Derworiz

THE CANADIAN PRESS

EDMONTON _ Drivers using Google Maps are getting a last-minute warning as they approach some photo radar camera locations.

The feature, which is currently being rolled out by Google, allows users to see speed limits, speed cameras and mobile speed cameras on the map before they leave.

It also gives a verbal warning an automated voice saying “speed camera ahead” when drivers are near a fixed camera location.

Police in Alberta say the feature is helpful to them.

“The biggest thing we love … is we place those (cameras) by collision statistics,” said Sgt. Joerg Gottschling of the Calgary Police Service traffic section. “If we do a new site, if we are going to install a new camera, the next site is always selected by the next highest crash site.

“Our intersection locations are all determined where we are trying to eliminate collisions.”

Gottschling said they’ve had up to a 50 per cent reduction in collisions in some areas where those cameras are stationed.

With Google Maps, he noted, all drivers approaching the fixed camera intersection get the warning.

“That camera is only facing one way,” said Gottschling. “Let’s say it’s only facing northbound, but you can approach southbound or eastbound … you are still going to get Google telling you caution.

“So you’re going to go slowly and cautiously through there which, lo and behold, is actually what we want.”

Sgt. Kerry Bates with the Edmonton Police traffic division agrees.

“If it slows people down and they know it’s there, that’s good,” he said. “It’s fine. It does the trick.”

Bates said there are about 70 fixed camera locations in the city and they will be adding others in the near future.

Google said in an email that there will also be an ability for android users to report mobile speed cameras and stationary cameras.

The technology company said there’s no plan to merge Google Maps with Waze, a community-based traffic and navigation app that allows drivers to share real-time traffic and road information.

The Alberta government is making changes to prevent photo radar from being used as a  “cash cow” by municipalities.

As part of the changes, which are expected by June, radar will be banned at spots where the speed limit changes on highways. It also won’t be allowed on high-speed, multi-lane highways unless there is documented proof of safety concerns.

Gottschling said there will still be photo radar on busy roads such as Deerfoot Trail and Stoney Trail in Calgary.

“We will be on those roadways because of the secondary justification of speed, collision and difficulty in traditional enforcement,” he said. “There’s no better way to enforce Deerfoot than with photos.

“We also have to take into account where can we safely position ourselves.”

Police warn of alleged fraudulent auto insurance scam, make one arrest

TORONTO _ Ontario Provincial Police are issuing a warning after arresting a man for allegedly selling fake auto insurance.

They say they arrested 38-year-old Sherif Aly in February and charged him with two counts each of fraud under $5,000 and false documentation.

They allege the Toronto-area man was selling fraudulent insurance through a company called Reef Car Insurance.

Police say they believe there are victims who do not know that their insurance is not valid.

They’re urging people to check the validity of their car insurance and contact police if they have any concerns.

Aly is due to appear in a Toronto courtroom later this month.

 

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