New online resources now available to address risks associated with distracted driving

 Press Release:

Canadian Coalition on Distracted Driving (CCDD) today launched a new web-based information hub at www.diad.tirf.ca/ehub. It was designed as a resource with tools to help governments and interested stakeholders develop effective strategies to reduce distracted driving. The hub contains the latest research, stats and data on distracted driving, laws and penalties in Canada, and a variety of educational tools and resources. This initiative is led by the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), and its Drop It And Drive® program, in partnership with The Co-operators.

Despite increasing fines and penalties for distracted driving, nearly one in four fatal crashes in 2013 involved distraction. Concern continues to grow as an increasing number of jurisdictions across the country report that distraction is a leading factor in road fatalities. “All agencies are incredibly concerned about the safety of Canadians, their workforce, and their families and friends. Everyone has the same questions about the size of the problem, what is known, what data are available, and what strategies can reduce distracted driving,” said Robyn Robertson, TIRF president and CEO. “We designed the E-Hub so organizations can spend less time looking for answers and more time working on solutions.”

The CCDD is a coalition of concerned organizations that spans several sectors including education, enforcement, academia, government, health and industry, including insurance, automotive and trucking industries, and the not-for-profit sector. “As an insurer of over a million vehicles in Canada, we have a significant responsibility to educate Canadians about the risks posed by distracted driving. Consider that a driver traveling at 100km/hr travels the length of a hockey rink within just two seconds while distracted. It’s easy to see why distracted driving is a recipe for disaster,” said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “The work of the CCDD continues to provide actionable solutions that communities and workplaces can embrace to help resolve this growing issue, and make meaningful changes to protect drivers and pedestrians.”

In March 2017, the CCDD released a National Action Plan on Distracted Driving, and the new E-Hub was just one of the components. The E-Hub resource is housed on the newly designed Drop It And Drive® website at www.diad.tirf.ca. It contains a wealth of information that is relevant across sectors, disciplines and communities of practice. It includes summaries of more than 100 research studies and articles along with links to full studies and the organizations that produced them. Access is also provided to examples of educational resources and tools that are available, the latest data that have been published, and current laws and penalties across the country.

In addition to the fully bilingual fact sheets that were released by the CCDD in November, other elements of the Action Plan are also underway. A call to action for health practitioners was published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Physical Sports Therapy. Work groups involving insurance, enforcement, the trucking industry and health professionals are being established to increase awareness in these sectors and build partnerships to reduce distracted driving. The third annual meeting of the CCDD is scheduled for Spring 2018 and will focus on technologies and their role in reducing distracted driving.

CCDD fact sheets

National Action Plan & 15-point Action Plan

About the Traffic Injury Research Foundation:
The mission of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF) is to reduce traffic-related deaths and injuries. TIRF is an independent, charitable road safety research institute. Since its inception in 1964, TIRF has become internationally recognized for its accomplishments in identifying the causes of road crashes and developing programs and policies to address them effectively.

About The Co-operators: 
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $48 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies, it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt and Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. For more information, visit  www.cooperators.ca.

SOURCE The Co-operators

Antique vehicle definition now applied to model years 1987 and older

Antique vehicle definition now applied to model years 1987 and older

Change does not impact antique vehicles currently registered

On Jan. 1, 2018, the definition of an antique vehicle changed from “vehicles 30 years old or older” to “vehicles that are model year 1987 and older.”

This change means vehicles with a model year of 1988 and newer will not be eligible for Antique Use. The change does not impact any vehicles currently registered with Antique Use.

“This change is about addressing an imbalance,” said Penny McCune, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Auto Fund. “The intent of the Antique Use class, when originally created, was to accommodate vintage vehicles that were used infrequently – for parades, special occasions or Sunday drives. But we’re seeing more and more antique-registered vehicles driven as regular-use vehicles; daily in many cases. Because they’re insured at such a low cost, this does not adequately provide for the injury and liability claim payouts in the event of a collision.”

While physical damage coverage for antique vehicles is limited to $800, full liability and injury benefits are provided. All antique vehicles pay the same insurance premium ($85 + PST annually), regardless of vehicle make or body style.

The number of vehicles registered as antique in Saskatchewan has increased by 55 per cent over the past five years and the total number of vehicles registered as antique involved in claims has grown by 31 per cent since 2011.

After SGI consulted with car clubs and antique vehicle enthusiasts, it was decided that the fairest option to address this imbalance was to cap the antique class at the 1987 model year, rather than increase rates for all antique vehicles.

If your vehicle is a true vintage vehicle that is only used on special occasions, there are other registration options available. For example, the vehicle could be registered short-term (i.e. during the summer months). Other options for vehicles that are being used occasionally are to purchase 24-hour or 8-day permits. Your motor licence issuer can help you with the best option for your situation.

Further information on antique vehicle registration is available at www.sgi.sk.ca.

Are you covered? Burnaby man hits insurance roadblocks after car share fender bender

Ross McLaughlin and Sandra Hermiston, CTV Vancouver

Collision damage is often covered when you use your credit card to rent a vehicle. But if you use it for car share services like Evo and Car2Go you could run into roadblocks trying to file a claim.

Eric Escobar thought he was covered when he had a fender bender driving his Evo car out of a parking garage.

The bill to repair the damages was $808, well below Evo’s $1000 deductible. And because Escobar used his Scotiabank Momentum Visa card to pay for the car share, he thought he wouldn’t have any issues.

The agreement on the Visa card clearly states, “rental vehicles which are part of a car sharing program are eligible for collision loss damage.”

So Escobar filed a claim to recover his deductible. He was denied, not just once, but again when he appealed the decision. The reason? He didn’t decline the collision damage waiver with Evo.

Normally when you rent a vehicle you’re given the option to decline their insurance by signing the collision damage waiver, but with car share you’re not given that opportunity.

“You go and use services like Evo thinking that you’re covered and then suddenly you realize they find a technical reason to not pay for the claim when a claim is filed,” Escobar said.

In B.C. you can’t opt out of collision coverage provided by car share companies. Because of that, Escobar’s credit card agreement had another clause that should have covered him. It states, in those cases, collision loss insurance will cover any deductible that may apply.

“I actually pointed that out in my appeal and they still denied it,” Escobar explained.

McLaughlin on Your Side reached out to Scotiabank who admitted someone made a mistake.

In a statement to CTV News Scotiabank said: “When you do not have the option available to decline the rental agency’s plan, our plans will cover theft, loss and damage up to the limit of the deductible. That has been our practice to date, and we’ll ensure to re-communicate that and clarify this point with the claims examiner.”

“That’s fantastic news thank you,” said Escobar, “And I hope this applies to other credit cards and people go back and look at their credit cards to make sure that they’re covered.”

CTV News also reached out to the insurance company that underwrites the coverage for Escobar’s Visa card. It told us it has corrected its internal review process to ensure this situation doesn’t happen again.

Canada: Fair Insurance Act

Last Updated: December 21 2017

Article by Marc G. Spivak

The Ontario Liberal government, just prior to an election, claims it has again decided to address high automobile insurance premiums (but ignores the negative affect of these changes on victims of car accidents).

In the 2017 Ontario Ministry of Finance Report “Fair Benefits Fairly Delivered: A Review of the Auto Insurance System of Ontario” the average yearly rates for car insurance by province were:

  1. Ontario: $1,458
  2. B.C.: $1,316
  3. Alberta: $1,179
  4. Newfoundland & Labrador: $1,090
  5. Manitoba: $1,001
  6. Northwest Territories: $974
  7. Nunavut: $968
  8. Yukon: $806
  9. Nova Scotia: $783
  10. Saskatchewan: $775
  11. New Brunswick: $763
  12. E.I.: $755
  13. Quebec: $724.

The Liberal government, which has historically taken away benefits and protection from victims with empty promises of keeping car insurance rates affordable (I have never seen any reduction in car insurance the last few years, have you?), has created smoke and mirrors and called it The Fair Auto Insurance Plan. This plan is supposed to “improve care, reduce disputes around diagnosis and treatment… promote innovation, competition and other steps to improve consumer protection.”

The plan creates a fancy title for investigation of alleged fraud “The Serious Fraud Office” which is to be operational by the spring of 2018. Call me sceptical but insurers have appropriately and successfully cut out all fraud from car insurance for years, so is this the Premier’s excuse why her promises regarding reducing car insurance premiums never worked out? (although they did cut off perhaps 50% of the benefits desperately needed for victims and greatly increased profits of the auto insurers).

The Fair Auto Insurance Plan will also introduce:

  • Standard treatment plans for immediate care on common injuries: sprains, whiplash, etc. (Ask yourself how “common” your injuries are when you are so inflicted).
  • Independent examination centres for more serious collision victims aimed to reduce diagnosis disputes, reduce system costs and inefficiencies (Historically “independent” examination centres are insurer biased).
  • Insurance Act to be given “greater teeth” to protect consumers (Consumer benefit has never been the intention behind changes since 1990- ask any personal injury lawyer).

These promised changes have elements that have been used in previous car insurance regimes that have all failed, yet before an election promises are being made to protect consumers! The only protection for consumers in the car insurance industry is to acquire optional benefits from your insurance broker to better protect you and your family and to ask a personal injury lawyer whether your coverage is adequate, before it is too late!

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

Six people injured in crashes every hour over the holidays

During the holidays, an average of 340 people are injured in 1,200 crashes in B.C.* That’s 22 crashes and six people injured every hour from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day alone.

“With many people travelling to spend the holidays with family and friends, drivers should be prepared for the varied winter road conditions they’ll encounter,” said Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety. “We’re asking drivers to also consider their own behaviour on our busy roads by driving smart. If we want everyone to arrive safely – we need to start with our own driving.”

Here are four important questions to ask yourself:

  1. Is my vehicle ready? Many B.C. highways require winter tires, labelled with either the mountain/snowflake symbol or the mud and snow (M+S) designation. Check the weather conditions you could encounter for your entire route at drivebc.ca. Do a pre-trip check of your vehicle, top up wiper fluid for clearer visibility and pack an emergency kit including a blanket, food and water.

  2. Am I completely focused on the road? There are many potential distractions behind the wheel and in these dark, winter conditions, if you’re not fully focused, you’re putting pedestrians, drivers and passengers at risk. You’re five times more likely to crash if you’re using your hand-held phone. To combat this, make important calls and look up trip routes before you get in your car and then place your phone out of reach. If you have a long drive, use highway rest stops to take a break and check your messages – some even have complimentary Wi-Fi.

  3. Do I have enough space to stop safely? It takes more time and distance to come to a complete stop on wet, icy or snowy roads. That’s why posted speed limits are set for ideal conditions only. Hazards can appear at any time. You can reduce your risk of crashing by adjusting your speed for the conditions and maintaining a safe travelling distance between vehicles.

  4. How am I getting home? If any of your holiday party plans involve alcohol, make sure you decide how you’re getting home before you head out. There’s always at least one smart option, including choosing a designated driver or setting money aside for a taxi or public transit. Operation Red Nose is also available in 19 B.C. communities. Police will be looking for impaired drivers at CounterAttack roadchecks across B.C. so if you plan to drink, leave your car at home.

Additional statistics:

  • In the Lower Mainland, an average of 250 people are injured in 780 crashes during the Christmas holidays every year.

  • On Vancouver Island, an average of 40 people are injured in 150 crashes during the Christmas holidays every year.

  • In the Southern Interior, an average of 40 people are injured in 170 crashes during the Christmas holidays every year.

  • In the North Central region, an average of 40 people are injured in 150 crashes during the Christmas holidays every year.

*Christmas holidays is defined as 6pm on Christmas Eve, December 24 to midnight on Boxing Day, December 26.

Media contact:

Lindsay Olsen
604-982-4759

SGI says too many scofflaws on Saskatchewan roads, hundreds ticketed last month

REGINA _ Saskatchewan’s Crown-owned insurance company says too many motorists are driving when they shouldn’t be and not paying attention when they’re behind the wheel.

SGI says last month police cited 302 people for driving while suspended or disqualified.

Police issued 519 tickets to people for operating vehicles or trailers without a valid registration.

Another 345 scofflaws were ticketed for driving without a valid licence or failing to follow licence restrictions.

Police also reported 636 distracted driving offences last month, 554 related to cellphone use.

SGI says the distracted driving numbers are the highest they have recorded.

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