Automated Vehicles And The Future Of Automobile Insurance İn Ontario

Article by David M. Rogers

A few years ago, I listened to two friends have a long discussion about the relevance of automated vehicles. One friend believed people physically driving vehicles would become a thing of the past over the next 20 years. The other felt automated vehicles would never fully catch on as most humans enjoy driving and being in control of their own vehicle.

I, for one, dislike driving, especially for long stretches on large highways and would welcome a sophisticated computer system to take on that burden. But is this a reality? If so, will it be safe? Most importantly for some, what are the insurance implications?

Well, just maybe the automated vehicle is the long sought after solution to many of the problems found in Ontario’s current automobile insurance regime.

Automated Vehicles are Coming

Most people in the insurance industry know that fully automated vehicles are coming. It is now not a question of if, but rather where, how and for whom.

There are currently six recognized levels of self-automation in vehicles. These range from zero to five, with zero being a fully human operated vehicle and five being a fully automated vehicle with no steering wheel, gas pedal or other manual functions. Currently, partial self-automation is included in most new vehicles, including cruise control, lane departure warnings and automated braking.

Studies suggest there will be 21 million fully automated vehicles on the roads by 2026. The Victoria Transportation Policy Institute predicts that half of all new vehicles sales in Canada will be fully automated by 2040. There are already automated shuttles running in certain North American cities and university campuses.

It is anticipated the next use of this technology will come through ride share programs such as Uber and automated taxi services, possibly followed by automated farm equipment, mining machines and delivery vehicles, including long haul transport trucks. Perhaps we will see the end of most privately owned passenger vehicles, with a small percentage of the population who actually enjoy driving being the exception.

Automated vehicles will most certainly create safer roads for the people of Ontario. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that human error is the cause of 90 percent of motor vehicle collisions in that country.

Reliance on cameras, sensors and computer systems removes the problem of human error and significantly increases the ability of a vehicle to avoid a collision.

This technology will continue to advance and improve, which should significantly reduce the number of motor vehicle accidents that occur, and in turn, the number of people being injured.

Impact on Motor Vehicle Litigation

However, collisions will still occur. There will always be accidents between non-automated vehicles, but also between automated and non-automated vehicles and even between fully automated vehicles.

An important question then is: who is at fault? Is it the driver? Is it the owner? Is it the manufacturer, or is it the designer of the technology itself?

One can envision a scenario where apportioning fault for a motor vehicle accident turns into an overly complicated product liability dispute between multitudes of large sophisticated parties. There may be fewer claims, but those claims that do come forward will be significantly more complicated and expensive.

Take for example a straightforward rear-end collision involving an automated vehicle, where a person sustains a whiplash injury. Litigation over that person’s entitlement to damages would require a determination of fault, and whether there were failures in components of the automated vehicle, and if so, which ones.

For instance, was there a failure in the vehicle’s software or was the software not updated properly? Was it caused by a faulty sensor? Was there a manufacturer defect with a key component, or was it some tiny sub-component that failed? How difficult, and expensive, would it be for an injured plaintiff to prove fault in this scenario?

Solutions and the Future of Motor Vehicle Insurance

In order to avoid this problem, consideration should be given to a regulatory framework where a single party, such as the vehicle manufacturer, is deemed responsible for any defect with the vehicle, and a claim is resolved with the injured person on that basis. That party can in turn claim over against any of the other potentially liable parties.

There could even be some type of an agreement between vehicle manufacturers, dealers and software developers in order to apportion the risk between them, and avoid the extensive costs of litigating these types of disputes.

This framework is consistent with a recent recommendation made by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (“IBC”) in an attempt to update insurance coverage in light of the rise of automated vehicles.

The IBC has recommended the establishment of a single insurance policy covering both driver negligence and a vehicle’s automated technology in order to better facilitate these type of liability claims.

A single insurance policy such as this would require the insurer to provide coverage for compensation to a person injured in a collision involving an automated vehicle, regardless of why the collision occurred.

Thereafter, that insurer would be able to take a further step, and recover some or all of that payment from the vehicle manufacturer, the technology provider or some other responsible party.

This second step could proceed through a streamlined dispute resolution process, and the IBC has also recommended establishing a legislated data sharing arrangement between automated vehicle manufacturers, vehicle owners and insurers to help with this process.

Automated vehicles are coming to Ontario, and with them comes great potential. The ideas outlined above, and insurers with forward thinking and innovated approaches to these types of coverages, could perhaps be the solution to some of the insurance problems that have plagued successive governments in Ontario for decades. This very well could be the future of Ontario automobile insurance.

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.

The fast & the furious: Escalating commuter stress compounding GTA’s road safety crisis

RSA Canada’s TruceTO survey reveals GTA residents feel increasingly unsafe on Toronto’s streets

  • 85 per cent of everyone who walks, cycles or drives agree that road rage continues to be a serious problem (up two per cent from 2018)
  • 51 per cent of cyclists (up three per cent from 2018), 20 per cent of drivers and 19 per cent of pedestrians feel unsafe on the streets of the GTA. Even more telling among cyclists age 18 and older, 57 percent feel unsafe (up 9 per cent from 2018)
  • 36 per cent of drivers, cyclists and pedestrians believe that the city needs to invest more in driver, pedestrian and cyclist education to make our streets safer
  • 56 per cent of GTA residents admit that they are simply not familiar enough with what the city is doing to prioritize road safety

TORONTO, June 5, 2019 /CNW/ – In the city of Toronto, road rage continues to worsen at an unprecedented rate. According to a recent TruceTO survey commissioned by RSA Canada, over 85 per cent of GTA road users who walk, drive or cycle all agree that it’s a serious problem – that’s only getting worse – which is causing a great deal of stress among citizens.

More than 73 per cent of all working adults aged 20 to 64 admit to experiencing stress, and a key source of that stress is commuting. With long commutes come traffic, higher levels of anxiety and less time for other activities. Stress and bad road behaviour are forming a vicious cycle, perpetuating less and less civility on our streets. Road safety is now larger than just a city or infrastructure problem: it’s also a public health issue.

In 2018, the city of Toronto experienced its worst year in terms of the number of injuries and fatalities on the streets: 42 pedestrians and 5 cyclists were killed or seriously injured in a collision with a motor vehicle and 13 drivers were killed or seriously injured due to aggressive or distracted driving.

While there is important work underway at the municipal level with Vision Zero 2.0, a majority of GTA residents admit they are simply not familiar enough with what the city is doing to prioritize road safety. In fact, 51 per cent of cyclists (up three per cent from 2018), 20 per cent of drivers and 19 per cent of pedestrians still feel unsafe on the streets of the GTA. Even more telling among cyclists age 18 and older, 57 percent feel unsafe (up 9 per cent from 2018).

“The street safety issue in our city is not getting any better – it has gotten much worse. The grim numbers in 2019 to-date have proved that,” says Donna Ince, Senior Vice President for Personal Insurance at RSA Canada. “We must all take accountability for the role we’ve played in the deteriorating climate of our streets – and our communities. It’s on all of us to commit to reducing the rage on the streets and put an end to this crisis once and for all.”

Less anxiety and stress on the road helps to support ongoing efforts to make Toronto’s streets safer and enables road users to react in a timely, informed and calm manner. Improvements in road safety overall constitute an important aspect of making our cities healthier.

TruceTO’s goal is to amplify understanding of the important work being carried out by the city, by independent organizations, and at the federal level, and encourage GTA residents to make a personal commitment to change, to play their part in making our streets safer and more civil for all.

Overall, year over year it’s clear – the increasing rate of road rage, lack of education and empathy, and low awareness on the roads remains at the core of the issue.

Additional findings from the TruceTO survey include:

  • Breaking the rules:
    • Drivers (75 per cent), pedestrians (67 per cent) and cyclists (72 per cent) in the GTA all agree that drivers not following the rules constitute one of the greatest causes of distress on the road
  • Whose right of way is it?
    • 53 per cent (up three per cent from 2018) of pedestrians, 49 per cent of drivers, and 40 per cent of cyclists don’t always know when cyclists have the right of way
    • Only 60 per cent of cyclists use hand signals consistently
  • Too close for comfort:
    • 45 per cent of drivers, 44 per cent of pedestrians and 63 per cent of cyclists have been in a collision or know someone who has

The survey also revealed that 84 per cent of respondents claim to have made a major behavioural change in the past few years such as drinking more water (30 per cent) or changing their sleep patterns (25 per cent), but only four per cent indicated a desire to change their road behaviour, even though the latter is a clearly identified source of stress.

“People are willing to change for better physical health but are less likely to feel motivated to change when it comes to improving safety in their community,” adds Ince. “We need to change this mindset, because road safety is closely linked to improvements in overall physical and mental health. As providers of auto insurance, we have a vested interest in the wellbeing of our customers on and off the road.”

Here are a few solutions to help make our streets safer for all:

  • Education
  • Empathy
    • Human error is inevitable, but responding with empathy can prevent unnecessary escalation and perpetuation of bad road behaviour
    • Slowing down, staying focused and keeping emotions in check can all help reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on GTA’s streets
  • Embracing change
    • Ultimately, there is no doubt that our streets need to be redesigned to properly accommodate drivers, cyclists and pedestrians equally
    • Some of this work is underway, with reduced speed limits, crosswalks and red lights
  • Ease your stress
    • High stress only makes us slower to respond: each of us needs to take action to help improve our overall physical and mental health
    • Just as we hydrate and strive for more sleep, we need to improve our overall health by addressing the stress we feel when commuting – through education and empathy

To learn more about TruceTO, test your road safety knowledge and take the pledge to be a better road user, visit www.truceto.com. TruceTO aligns with RSA’s ambition of Making Life Better Together and supports its Corporate Responsibility Safe, Secure World pillar, which focuses on safeguarding their customers from everyday risks. To learn more about RSA Canada’s corporate social responsibility, visit https://www.rsagroup.ca/about-us/corporate-responsibility/our-corporate-responsibility-journey.

About the 2019 TruceTO survey:
TripleScoop Premium Market Research is an independent full-service research agency with deep roots in the pioneering development of online research methods. An online survey of 1,305 Canadians who are 16 years or older, live and/or work in the Greater Toronto Area and regularly use the city streets as pedestrians, cyclists and/or drivers, was completed between May 3-15, 2019, using AskingCanadians’ online panel. AskingCanadians’ online panel has more than one million members nationally, the leading online data collection firm in Canada, and the first one to implement TrueSample for powerful identity validation, de-duplication and engagement modeling that ensures survey respondents are real, unique and engaged. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.7%, 19 times out of 20.

About RSA:
With a 300-year heritage, RSA is a multinational quoted insurance group. Focusing on general insurance, RSA’s core markets are the UK & Ireland, Scandinavia and Canada, with the capability to write insurance business across the globe.  RSA’s core businesses have approximately 13,500 employees with net written premiums of £6.3bn in 2016.

About RSA Canada:
The RSA Canada group of companies includes Roins Financial Services Limited, Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada, Quebec Assurance Company, Johnson Inc., Unifund Assurance Company, Western Assurance Company, Ascentus Insurance Ltd., Canadian Northern Shield Insurance Company and RSA Travel Insurance Inc. (collectively, “RSA Canada”) and is part of a group of companies headed by RSA Insurance Group Plc. RSA Canada employs more than 3,000 people across Canada and is one of the oldest insurance companies in the country with roots dating back to 1833.
©2016 Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. All rights reserved. RSA, RSA & Design and related words and logos are trademarks and the property of RSA Insurance Group plc, licensed for use by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada. RSA is a trade name of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance Company of Canada.

SOURCE RSA Canada

Because of a DUI conviction, I need to use an interlock. Am I able to rent a car?

In December 2017, I received a first-offence DUI. I’ll get my licence back next week, but I will only be able to drive a car with the interlock installed for the next year. I’m going to weddings in Halifax and Mont Tremblant this summer and I would like to rent a car, but would one with an interlock be available? I’m also wondering, could regular car insurance be lower with an interlock? – Brendan, Toronto

If you’ve had a drunk-driving conviction, you won’t be able to rent a car with an interlock, and you might not be able to rent one at all.

“Unfortunately, rental-car companies don’t put alcohol interlocks on their vehicles,” says Andrew Murie, chief executive officer of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada. “The rental-car companies could, but they don’t want drunk drivers in their cars anyway.”

Under the Criminal Code, if you’re convicted of driving with a blood-alcohol level (BAC) above .08 for the first time, you’ll face a minimum one-year licence suspension and a minimum $1,000 fine.

To be allowed to drive again, you can only drive vehicles equipped with an ignition interlock, which is basically a breathalyzer attached to your car’s ignition. It won’t let you drive if you’ve been drinking.

Although Canada’s impaired driving law changed last year to allow you to drive with an interlock immediately after conviction, none of the provinces have changed their interlock programs to allow that, Murie says.

Most provinces also require that your driver’s licence shows that you can only drive with an interlock, and rental car companies would see that.

But Kyla Lee, a Vancouver-based criminal-defence lawyer, says rental companies can access your driving records and see whether you’ve had a DUI.

“They’ll refuse to rent to anyone with a record of an impaired driving conviction or a 90-day administrative suspension,” Lee says.

If you’ve had an impaired conviction in a province with private insurance, you’ll see higher rates for six years.

You’ll likely lose your existing coverage and have to go to facility insurance – insurance for drivers deemed too high-risk to be insured anywhere else – for the next three years after the conviction.

That could mean you’re paying a minimum of $10,000 a year and more likely $20,000, according to Murie.

After three years on facility insurance, it would take three more years to gradually return to reasonable rates, he says.

“If you’re making $60,000 a year and you get whacked with a $20,000 insurance policy, you’re not going to be able to drive,” Murie says. “The government-run insurance companies do a better job.”

In B.C., for instance, if you’ve had one impaired conviction, you pay a $1,086 driver-risk premium on top of your existing rates. In Saskatchewan, you’d face a minimum $1,250 penalty and move down their rating scale. In Manitoba, you’d lose 10 points on their scale – the highest risk drivers there (-20) pay an extra $3,000 a year on top of normal rates.

Murie would like to see insurance companies offer more reasonable rates – double the existing rate, for example – for drivers who use the interlock.

But right now, no companies do that, Murie says.

“About 30 per cent of impaired drivers are repeat offenders within 10 years, so it proves that current sanctions do work, including the higher insurance premiums,” Murie says. “We’re not saying there shouldn’t be some penalty, but when it’s too high, it forces drivers to drive without insurance. And if you get hit by someone who’s uninsured, the financial consequences can be huge.”

75% of drivers distracted at the wheel – IBC

MONTREAL, May 29, 2019 /CNW/ – IBC is releasing the results of a survey on distracted driving in order to encourage drivers to adopt good driving habits.

The numbers say it all: 75% of drivers said they were distracted at the wheel in the past six months*. And yet, 90% of drivers were aware that accidents caused by distracted driving can drive up auto insurance premiums.

What does distracted driving mean? 
Distracted driving takes many forms: phoning, text messaging, eating, drinking, putting on make-up, even listening to music. Any activity that takes the driver’s attention away from the road is considered a distraction.

Drivers are distracted and these are not isolated behaviours. In fact, the drivers surveyed said they had on several occasions in the past six months:

  • Eaten or drunk: 55%
  • Phoned: 39%
  • Texted: 11%

The age 35-44 sub-group was over-represented among drivers who said they were distracted, with 87% having said they had been distracted in the past six months, compared to 75% for all respondents.

“We were very surprised to learn that 90% of drivers are well aware that how you drive can result in higher auto insurance premiums. And yet, we were surprised to note this did not discourage risky behaviour and distracted driving”, said Anne Morin, Supervisor, Public Affairs, at IBC.

Limit accidents through risk awareness
The campaign objective is to make drivers aware of the distractions around them and the need to minimize the risks. Note that responsible behaviour can only be positive for the driver’s driving record.

“We decided to tackle the subject taking a moving approach and a touch of humour. We hope the campaign will have an impact on drivers as well as passengers, who have their role to play, since distracted driving affects everyone”, noted Anne Morin.

* Based on a SOM inc. survey carried out for Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) in 2019. 

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada, which groups the majority of Canada’s P&C insurers, offers various services to consumers in order to inform and assist them when purchasing car or home insurance, or making a claim. For all other information, please visit www.infoassurance.ca.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information: Pauline Triplet, Communications Advisor, Tel.: 514 288-1537, ext. 2277

Related Links

http://www.ibc.ca/

If you drive distracted, you could miss out on life

If you drive distracted, you could miss out on life

SGI launches campaign with a clear message: “Distracted driving kills”

Kailynn Bursic-Panchuk was preoccupied with her cellphone when she drove into the path of a train; the resulting collision was catastrophic and left the Weyburn teenager in critical condition.

Kailynn’s tragic story is a part of SGI’s latest distracted driving awareness campaign that launches this weekend, coinciding with the June Traffic Safety Spotlight on distracted driving.

“When we got to the hospital and the doctor told me Kailynn needed surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain, I was lost. This is supposed to happen in movies, not in real life,” said Kailynn’s mom, Sandra LaRose.

Kailynn’s injuries would prove fatal – five days later her family made the difficult decision to take her off life support. Kailynn had just turned 17 years old.

SGI’s poignant campaign has a clear message: distracted driving kills – don’t miss out on life. The campaign features a 60-second video that shows a young woman dreaming of her life ahead and milestone moments. Those dreams are followed by the nightmare of a head-on collision caused by a distracted driver. Kailynn’s photo and a brief narration by LaRose conclude the video.

“I hope this province-wide campaign will help make the consequences of distracted driving more real to people,” said Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave. “I am grateful to Sandra for sharing her voice and her daughter’s tragic story, and hopeful it will encourage people to avoid all distractions while they drive, including their phones. There should never be another story like Kailynn’s.”

The ad will run online, in cinemas and on television. The campaign will also feature newspaper, radio and billboard advertising. Beginning in July, there will be shorter online videos focusing on common distracted driving behaviours, along with matching radio spots that will run all year. Visit www.sgi.sk.ca/distracted-driving-kills to see the campaign.

For Sandra LaRose, the tragic, preventable death of her daughter has spurred her to speak out about the issue of distracted driving.

“Hopefully people will realize that phone call is not important, that notification is not important, that music is not important; it will wait,” said LaRose. “Life will still go on if you don’t take that call. It’s literally a split second – that’s all it takes. You have control over that object – put your phone away.”

Driver distraction or inattention is the leading cause of collisions and injury on Saskatchewan roads, and one of the leading factors in fatal collisions. In 2017, 26 people died and 953 were injured in distracted driving collisions in Saskatchewan.

 

District research finds cost of basic insurance more in B.C. than in other provinces

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