SGI: Tougher distracted driving fines take effect Feb. 1

February’s Traffic Safety Spotlight is focused on distracted driving – just as fines are set to increase Feb. 1, 2020.

“Distracted driving is a serious safety concern in our province, and on roads all over the country,” said the Honourable Joe Hargave, Minister Responsible for SGI. “We hope by introducing tougher penalties – and especially strong penalties for repeat offenders – it will mean fewer people driving distracted and fewer tickets issued.”

What’s new: Here are the consequences distracted drivers can expect as of Feb. 1:

  • First offence – ticket more than doubles to $580, plus four demerits.
  • Second offence within a year of being convicted of the first – $1,400 ticket, plus an additional four demerits, plus an immediate, seven-day vehicle seizure. Vehicle owners are responsible for the towing and impound fees (cost varies according to mileage, but expect to pay approximately $400 at least).
  • Third offence within a year of conviction of the first – $2,100 ticket, plus four more demerits and another seven-day vehicle seizure.

The demerits could also cost the driver insurance discounts they had earned or – if they are on the negative side of the SGI Safe Driver Recognition (SDR) scale – additional financial penalties, at $50 for every point below zero.  If a driver started at zero, and received three distracted driving tickets in a year, they would have to pay a total of $1,200 in SDR financial penalties, on top of the other financial impacts.

What’s not changing:  While the cost of a ticket is increasing, the laws around distracted driving remain the same. Hand-held devices are prohibited for learner, novice and experienced drivers, although experienced drivers can use hands-free functions on mounted devices through voice commands or one-touch. The vast majority of distracted driving tickets that are issued by law enforcement are related to cell phone use. In addition, drivers can receive a ticket if an officer witnesses behaviour that they can prove take a driver’s attention away from the road to the point they are operating their vehicle in an unsafe manner.

In 2018, driver distraction or inattention was a factor in more than 6,000 collisions, resulting in 774 injuries and 22 deaths. In 2019, distracted driving set three monthly records for the number of tickets issued.

Have questions about distracted driving? We answered most of them on Facebook. And if you’re looking to avoid a distracted driving ticket, put the phone down behind the wheel – and check out these other tips.

 

Province provides green light to automobile insurance hikes

The excerpreted article was written by Brian Passifiume | Toronto Sun 

Regardless to be amongst Canada’s most dependable motorists, Ontario motorists will begin to spend additional to guarantee their particular autos.

Ontario’s Monetary Companies Regulatory Authority (FSRA) authorised charge hikes for 21 coverage businesses — representing roughly 40% of this province’s motorists — in a quarterly report published into the authority’s web web site last thirty days.

On common, customers might find their particular premiums get up by 1.6% through the whole market — straight down through the two.6% improve authorised inside the 3rd one-fourth of 2019.

Some motorists could see their costs enhance by as a great deal as 10% — and also 11% — as it is the truth with customers of COSECO Insurance coverage Co. and Scottish and York Insurance coverage Co. of Canada, correspondingly.

Hikes for every businesses took influence in the beginning of February.

Different insurers authorised for fee will boost embody Continental Casualty Co. (eight%,) Assure Co. of North America (7.5%,) SGI Canada (practically 10%) and Intact (5%.)

Ontario will continue to position one of many costliest provinces in Canada to guarantee a automotive.

Knowledge from automobile insurance coverage aggregator Kanetix shows premiums in north and east Brampton typical round $2,593 per 12 months — the greatest inside the country or over about $100 when compared with a 12 months in past times.

Neighbourhoods in north Toronto have observed their fees surge, with yearly costs from Rexdale east to Black Creek hovering round $2,590.

On common, Ontarians pay $1,505 per 12 months in automobile insurance protection, as a result to figures from the Basic Insurance protection Statistical Company.

British Columbia remains ideal on typical, at $1,832 per 12 months.

In Alberta, the put the UCP authorities not long ago scrapped laws and regulations capping advanced will boost at 5% annually, insurance plans common round $1,316.

The speed hikes in Ontario come less than a 12 months after previous finance minister Vic Fedeli, throughout their unveiling for the province’s 2019 funds, hinted at making ‘transformative changes’ to auto coverage.

Invoice 42, suggested final 12 months by Computer MPP Parm Gill, named for an finish to advanced hikes primarily based on geographical area. The charge passed 2nd learning final March and are at the minute sooner than committee.

bpassifiume@postmedia.com

Do I need a licence to drive on private property?

The excerpted article was written by THE GLOBE AND MAIL

I recently bought a place down in Nova Scotia with 20 acres of land. Do I need a drivers licence to drive my pickup to plow the road on my own land? Also, do I need to have registration and insurance? – Kevin

As long as you stay home on the range, you probably don’t technically need a licence, registration or insurance to drive a car or truck.

But without them, you might not be protected if that truck is stolen, vandalized or hits somebody.

Nova Scotia’s Motor Vehicle Act requires drivers to be licensed and vehicles to be registered and insured when driving on “a public highway, street, lane, road, alley, park, beach or place including the bridges thereon,” said Marla MacInnis, spokeswoman for Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, in an e-mail.

If you’re on private property, those rules generally don’t apply – unless “the private property is designed to be and is accessible for the general public.”

So, you’d need a licence and registration in a Costco parking lot, for instance. But you wouldn’t need them on your own land as long as you’re not operating a business that’s open to the public.

So, technically, anybody could drive your farm truck – even someone who isn’t old enough to get a licence or someone who has a suspended licence – as long as they stay on your property.

When that vehicle leaves your property, even just to cross a public road, it needs to be registered and insured, and you need a licence to drive it.

GO PUBLIC?

The rules are similar across Canada – you don’t need a licence, registration or insurance to drive a motor vehicle on private property.

But in practice, it could get tricky. Your driveway could be considered a public road if you don’t have a gate. If you hit somebody while plowing it, police could decide to charge you with driving without a licence, insurance and registration.

“Unless you are assured that access to the private land of a farm or a business is controlled – for example, by a barrier – and limited to vehicles authorized by the owner, it would be hazardous to drive without the correct class of license and without the registration certificate and proof of insurance of the vehicle,” said Anne Marie Dussault Turcotte, spokeswoman for the Société d’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), a Crown corporation responsible for licensing, in an e-mail.

Provincial traffic laws generally don’t apply on private property if nobody else can access it. Ontario’s the only province where the Highway Traffic Act doesn’t applyeven on private property at all, even if the public does have access to it.

But in every province, you could still face charges under the Criminal Code of Canada if you crash a vehicle and injure someone.

REST INSURED?

If you’re driving without insurance on your own land, you’re on your own if there’s trouble.

“You would have no coverage for theft or fire [and no coverage for] liability if you hit something or someone,” said Steve Kee, spokesman for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, in an email.

If you have home insurance, it would cover things like riding lawnmowers, but it wouldn’t cover cars, trucks or off-road vehicles, Kee said.

Without liability insurance, you wouldn’t be covered if you’re sued for damages or injuries after a crash.

“Any vehicle without liability coverage is a liability,” Kee said.

Ontario’s average cost of auto insurance among the most expensive in the country

CBC News 

Auto insurance rates in Ontario are increasing by as much as 11 per cent this year, despite promises from the Ford government to reduce premiums.

Radio-Canada has learned that the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) has given the green light to increases in automobile insurance premiums for some 20 insurance companies in the province.

“Approved rates will increase on average by 1.56 per cent when applied across the total market,” the FSRA quarterly update states, with some insurers approved to increases rates by just over 11 per cent and others by around 10 per cent.

The Ford government promised major reform of the auto insurance system back in April of 2019 when its first budget was tabled.

The changes were aimed at increasing the range of plans available to drivers, making the claim process easier to navigate, and creating more competition between insurance providers.

There was no specific plan to reduce premiums but then finance minister Vic Fedeli called the proposal “transformative” at the time.

Ontario has one of the lowest accident and death rates in the country, but the average cost of auto insurance in the province is among the most expensive, according to data collected by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

Ontario has the second highest average cost of auto insurance ringing in at $1,505.

All other provinces and territories trail Ontario, which comes second only to British Columbia, which has an average premium of $1,832.

Quebec has the with lowest insurance costs, averaging at $717, according to the IBC.

B.C. government to squeeze lawyers, legal costs out of public auto insurance

By Laura Kane

THE CANADIAN PRESS

VANCOUVER _ The British Columbia government is moving to curtail legal costs in the public auto insurance system by severely limiting the ability of injured people to sue at-fault drivers after a crash.

The announcement Thursday drew backlash from lawyers who argued it would put vulnerable residents at risk, while disability advocates and doctors voiced hope that benefits would increase.

Premier John Horgan called it a “pivotal moment” for the beleaguered Insurance Corporation of B.C., which has hemorrhaged $2.5 billion dollars over the past two years while premiums skyrocketed.

“People deserve lower rates. People deserve better care. They deserve to be treated fairly,” he told a news conference.  “That’s what a renewed ICBC can present to the people of British Columbia today.”

Horgan said his government will introduce legislation in the coming weeks to require ICBC to assist every person who makes a claim and ensure they receive all the benefits and care they need.

The move will mean people injured in a collision will no longer need to hire a lawyer and sue the at-fault driver, who is then defended by the insurance corporation, to access the maximum benefits, he said.

Horgan said the change will lower premiums by about 20 per cent or an average of $400 in annual savings per driver. It will increase maximum care and treatment benefits for injured people from $300,000 to at least $7.5 million, while eliminating pain and suffering payouts.

If the legislation is passed, it will take effect in May 2021.

Attorney General David Eby acknowledged that a challenge in the transition will be the lack of public trust in ICBC.

The previous system has required ICBC to attempt to limit benefits and litigate against injured drivers, while also being the company meant to provide supports to those same people, he said.

“The difference in legal direction is night and day. ICBC’s sole focus will be on helping British Columbians recover and get back to their daily lives,” he said.

Eby said people can still sue at-fault drivers if they are convicted of a criminal offence, such as impaired driving, and they can also sue a vehicle manufacturer if a defect contributed to the crash.

If a customer has a complaint about the auto insurer, they can turn to a recently announced ICBC fairness officer, the B.C. ombudsperson or the independent Civil Resolution Tribunal, which accepts claims of up to $5,000 in value.

Customers can file for a judicial review of a Civil Resolution Tribunal decision in court and there may also be some limited scenarios where one could sue ICBC, the government said.

Eby has previously called the financial situation at the public auto insurer a  “dumpster fire,” and his government expects the changes to free up more than $1.5 billion to lower rates by 2022.

The Opposition Liberals have called for more choice in the auto-insurance sector but Eby said the highest rate increases are happening in private markets including Alberta and Ontario.

Saskatchewan and Manitoba have similar public systems to the one B.C. is proposing and they have kept rate changes steady, near zero per cent, Eby said.

“In that comparison, B.C.’s rates look outrageous and our benefits miserly,” he said.

While some will describe this as a “no-fault” system, Eby insisted it was not because a driver who is responsible for a crash will still pay more for their insurance.

He said he anticipated legal challenges but was confident the legislation was constitutional, noting that Manitoba and Saskatchewan have successfully defended their systems in court.

The Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. called the announcement an “alarming move” that puts injured and vulnerable residents at risk.

“This government is doubling down on its failed policy to take away the legal rights of British Columbians,” said association president John Rice.

The Law Society of B.C. said it expects significant effects on compensation to victims and it will be closely monitoring the situation.

Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson criticized the government for abolishing pain and suffering payouts.

“If you’re seriously injured in an accident the NDP will force you to deal with ICBC for the rest of your life, giving you no choice but to deal with the state-run monopoly,” he said in a statement.

Justina Loh, executive director of Disability Alliance B.C., said she was encouraged by the move and her organization will work closely with ICBC to ensure that injured people can access all the benefits and supports they need.

Under the new model, doctors and other medical professionals, not ICBC will design care plans for injured people.

The province said it had already consulted with the medical community and would consult more widely before it introduces the legislation.

Dr. Kathleen Ross, president of the Doctors of BC, said in a statement that the new system will mean “major increases” in the level of medical care and supports for recovery.

“The new care-based model provides significantly better coverage for people injured in traffic accidents,” she said.

Evo Car Share Announces Expansion

BURNABY, BCFeb. 5, 2020 /CNW/ – Evo Car Share, created by BCAA, will keep more Metro Vancouverites mobile, announcing 250 more Evos will hit the roads this spring with the potential for further expansion.

“Evo is a local company dedicated to this region and we’re here to stay,” says Tai Silvey, VP Evo Car Share. As Evo looks ahead and becomes the only one-way car share in the area from the end of February, Silvey says, “Evo is stepping up – we’re investing significantly and doing everything possible to get more Evos on the road and keep expanding to meet growing demand.”

The 250 new hybrid cars will arrive in April. Technology and systems enhancements to help more people book smoothly during peak times is coming in the weeks ahead. Silvey aims to expand Evo’s fleet again this summer and confirms he’s discussing policy adjustments with the City of Vancouver to support continued expansion.

Evo Car Share launched almost five years ago, and the 250 new cars will take its 100 per cent hybrid fleet of Evos to 1,750. Evo Car Share has decreased the number of privately-owned cars on Vancouver’s roads significantly over the last four years and continued expansion will accelerate this reduction. Evo’s current 1,500 Toyota Prius Hybrids typically complete over 10,000 trips per a day. Evo’s total fleet has replaced approximately 13,500 privately owned vehicles helping to drive a reduction in vehicle kilometers travelled by over 19,000 kms per vehicle annually.

Evo members can use the service and pick up or drop off anywhere in the Evo home zone covering areas around VancouverNorth VancouverBurnabyNew Westminster and satellites serving UBC, Cap U, SFU and Grouse Mountain.

About Evo
Created by BCAA, Evo Car Share is B.C.’s primary pick-up and drop-off anywhere car sharing service and offers a full fleet of four-door, hybrid vehicles with room for five passengers, cargo space and ski/bike racks. Evo aims to meet the changing mobility needs of British Columbians, whether or not they own a car. Learn more at evo.ca

About BCAA
The most trusted organization in British Columbia by its Members, BCAA serves 1 in 3 B.C. households with industry-leading products including home, car and travel insurance, roadside assistance, Evo Car Share and full automotive services at BCAA’s Auto Service Centres across the province. BCAA has a long history focused on keeping kids safe on the road and at play through community programs such as its School Safety PatrolChild Passenger Safety and BCAA Play Here. Learn more at bcaa.com.

SOURCE British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA)

Related Links

www.bcaa.com

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