Sport Utility Vehicles Still the Darlings of Auto Thieves

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) today unveiled its annual list of the ten vehicles most frequently stolen in Quebec. Once again, luxury sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are the first choice among criminals.

With the exception of BMW’s 335xi–which is considered a luxury car—IBC’s Top 10 clearly demonstrates that for thieves, the appeal of sport utility vehicles shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, all the cars that fell into their clutches in 2015 were SUVs.

If overall rates for auto theft are continuing to decline in Quebec, they remain a costly problem for insurers. Between 2013 and 2015, for example, the frequency of thefts dropped by 25%, but the average cost for these types of claims actually rose by 15%, from $15,428to $17,755. “Today’s thefts are different from what they were several years ago. Thieves no longer ‘borrow’ cars to go for a spin; they are now acting as part of organized networks, and vehicles are often stolen for resale abroad,” says Anne Morin, Supervisor, Communications and Public Affairs at the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

In addition to the export market, the vehicles are stolen for resale locally to people who are unaware that they are in fact victims of fraud. The vehicles are also dismantled and sold for parts or used to commit other crimes.

The top 10 in Quebec

This year, the ten most frequently stolen vehicles in Quebec were:

  1. TOYOTA 4RUNNER 4P 2015 TRUCK/VAN
  2. TOYOTA 4RUNNER 4P 2014 TRUCK/VAN
  3. LEXUS RX350 4P 2013 TRUCK/VAN
  4. LEXUS RX350 4P 2015 TRUCK/VAN
  5. TOYOTA FJ CRUISER 4P 2011 TRUCK/VAN
  6. INFINITI QX60 4P 2015 TRUCK/VAN
  7. BMW 335xi 2P 2008
  8. TOYOTA 4RUNNER 4P 2013 TRUCK/VAN
  9. LEXUS RX350 4P 2014 TRUCK/VAN
  10. LEXUS IS 300 4P 2002

Preventing Auto Theft

The IBC’s Top 10 indicates that, in Quebec, nine out of ten stolen vehicles were built after 2007—in other words, after the installation of anti-theft devices became mandatory under the law. Although these systems discourage some thieves, they are not infallible. So it is important to be vigilant and take certain precautions to discourage thieves from targeting your vehicle.

Protect your vehicle by following these tips:

  • Never leave the engine running while the vehicle is unattended.
  • Park in a well-lit area.
  • After parking, always shut the windows and lock the doors.
  • Place valuables and any packages in the trunk out of sight.
  • Park your vehicle in your garage overnight.
  • Do not leave personal documents in the glove compartment.
  • Take the registration and proof of insurance with you when leaving the car.

About the Insurance Bureau of Canada

The Insurance Bureau of Canada is the industry association that represents the majority of insurers across the country. It offers consumers a variety of services to help them stay informed and provides assistance with the purchase of home and automobile insurance as well as in the event of disasters.

* The Top-10 list for 2016 is a compilation of the 2015 statistics from Quebec auto insurers.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

Tips to get your Christmas tree home safely without damaging your vehicle

Tips to get your Christmas tree home safely without damaging your vehicle

BY JAYLEEN R. HEFT, PROPERTYCASUALTY360.COM

Strapping a Christmas tree to your vehicle can be tricky, and many of us have witnessed some downright dangerous attempts during the holiday season. Not only is safety important, but an auto insurance claim because of scratched paint or a traffic accident may put a damper on your holiday spirit.

Each year, 30 million to 35 million American families celebrate the holiday season with a fresh, farm-grown Christmas tree, according to the National Christmas Tree Association. One of the main challenges many of these households face is getting their perfect tree home without extra expense, damage to their automobile, physical injury, or leaving unsafe debris on the roadway.

Avoid auto insurance claims and ensure the safety of your passengers, other motorists and pedestrians by following these 9 tips.

1. Take measurements

Make sure you know the size of the tree you can accommodate. Before you leave the house, measure the height of the room where you plan to display the tree; it should be at least a foot taller than the tree you buy. Know the width of the space to help you gauge how much tree you can handle.

Also, make sure to measure your vehicle’s interior storage area and roof. It doesn’t do much good to know you can fit an 8-foot tree in the living room but can only handle a six footer on your Toyota.

2. Dress properly

Wear jeans, a long-sleeve shirt, jacket or sweatshirt, and don’t forget work gloves. The branches, needles and other sharp tree parts can poke you in all the wrong places. And wear comfortable shoes with nonslip soles.

3. Items to take with you

You’ll need a tarp, old blanket or heavy plastic sheets to protect your vehicle. Also, be sure to grab the right materials to secure the tree: good rope, twine, ratchet-style tie downs or bungee cords.

Many lots won’t tie the tree on the car for you to avoid an insurance nightmare for the lot if an employee damages your vehicle, so bring a friend to help carry and secure your tree.

4. Wrap the tree

Most trees are sold in netting, which you should leave on so that the branches stay tightly bundled and so that carrying the tree is more manageable.

No net? Shake the tree to rid it of loose needles, then wrap it in a blanket or tarp.

5. Cover your vehicle 

To avoid paint scratches, lay your tarp or blanket out on the roof of your vehicle before placing the tree up there. Spread it out to cover the entire top to also protect from pieces that fly off while driving down the road.

If you’re hauling the tree in the back of your SUV or minivan, lay down a blanket or tarp to protect your interior from sap stains.

6. Pick the perfect tree (for hauling)

Yes, that 10-foot Evergreen looks amazing on the lot, and it may even fit inside your living room with a bit of trimming, but will it fit on the roof of your SUV? Can you lift it once you get it home?

Be sure that you’re picking out a tree that is not only free of bare spots, but will also realistically fit on top or inside of your vehicle without extending too far past the bumper.

7. Position the tree in the right direction

To keep your tree stable and avoid wind damage when driving, center the tree and arrange it so that the stump end faces the front of your vehicle. The best way to transport a tree is to cover it completely to keep the wind from drying it out, so if you have a second tarp handy, roll the tree up in it before hauling it onto the roof.

8. Secure the tree to your vehicle

If you have a roof rack, secure the tree from where the branches start to its tip, with bungee cords or rope.

It’s not recommended that you put your tree on your car’s roof unless it has a roof rack. However, if you do so, first open all their car doors—not the windows—then tie the tree snugly to the roof with rope.

For trees that extend more beyond your car’s bumpers, tie a reflective flag to the end to alert 
other drivers.

If you’re hauling your tree in a pickup truck, there could be hot spots in the truck bed—from the exhaust pipe, for example. This can damage the tree’s needles, so put something under it, such as an old blanket.

Before you leave the lot, make sure to give the tree a firm tug to ensure that it’s not going anywhere. If it budges, you probably need to pull the ropes tighter.

9. Take it slow and easy

Once you get on road, take it slow and put on your hazard lights. Avoid the highway, especially if you’re not used to hauling heavy objects on your car’s roof. Highways are not your friend when you have a potential six foot flying, green missile on top of your vehicle.

Remember, roof cargo affects your vehicle’s center of gravity and emergency handling.

Photo Credit: AAA

Allstate Canada Safe Driving Study finds collisions continue to rise

Press Release:

The latest Allstate Insurance Company of Canada Safe Driving Study, released today, reveals that collisions continue to rise in a number of provinces across Canada. Despite improvements in Alberta and New Brunswick, the national collision frequency rate has risen from 5.60 per cent to 5.70 per cent since the previous period, representing a 1.7 per cent increase in claims across the country.

Now in its eighth year, the Safe Driving Study examines collision data of Allstate Canada customers in Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Ontario — which is then used to rank cities across the country according to collision frequency. Of the 86 communities included in the 2016 study, Spruce Grove, AB ranked as the safest, with a collision frequency rate of 3.60 per cent, while the community with the highest regularity of collisions was Halifax, NS, at 7.77 per cent.

“Last year’s Safe Driving Study identified a trend towards rising collisions, and the latest study demonstrates that this has not changed,” says Dave MacInnis, Vice President, Product Operations at Allstate Insurance Company of Canada. “Each year, we investigate our claims data to identify important developments in driving. We feel it’s essential to share our findings with Canadians, to encourage conversation about what it means to be a safe driver.”

Attention Editors: Please see below for a collection of safe driving tips for drivers.

Highlights of the 2016 Safe Driving Study
Despite an overall hike in the frequency of collisions across Canada, two provinces experienced particularly significant increases. For the second consecutive study, Nova Scotia was the province with the highest collision frequency rate, ballooning from 5.42 per cent to 6.39 per cent, representing an increase of 17.8 per cent since the previous period. Ontario followed suit, jumping from 5.59 per cent to 5.79 per cent. Conversely, New Brunswick was found to be the province with the lowest collision frequency rate at 5.13 per cent.

Allstate data shows that the three most common types of collisions are: vehicles being rear-ended (26 per cent); accidents that occur while passing through an intersection or turning (24 per cent); and collisions involving parked vehicles (13 per cent).

Exercise increased caution on Fridays
The latest Safe Driving Study also shed light on which days of the week saw the highest frequency of specific types of collision claims over the past decade. At 17 per cent, Friday is the day with the highest number of collision claims across the country. In fact, Fridays see the highest frequency of collisions spanning nearly all categories, including: multi-vehicle accidents involving a chain reaction (19 per cent of all claims of this type occur on Fridays); lane changes (18 per cent); vehicles being rear-ended (18 per cent); collisions resulting from turning or passing through an intersection (17 per cent); and head-on collisions (17 per cent), amongst others.

“Our latest findings reinforce that Friday continues to be a treacherous day on the road, spanning minor and major collisions – many of which could be avoided,” says MacInnis. “While our data is not able to identify specific reasons as to why collisions are up, or why more take place on Fridays, we suspect that various factors, such as increased traffic, inclement weather, and distracted driving may contribute to the heightened rate of claims.”

Pedestrians and cyclists— be weary of Wednesdays
While the highest frequency of overall collision claims take place on Fridays, the study found that accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists were most likely to occur on Wednesdays, when 17 per cent of these types of collisions have taken place.  The second-highest day of the week for collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists was Friday (16 per cent).

“Regardless of the day of the week, it’s always concerning to hear about collisions involving cyclists and pedestrians – and our data shows that there’s work to be done to reduce the frequency of these sorts of accidents,” says MacInnis. “As more cities across Canadaare working towards becoming more walkable and bike-friendly, this serves as a reminder to remain alert and take steps to be safer behind the wheel throughout the work week.”

Tips for drivers to stay safe behind the wheel
Allstate Canada offers the below safety advice for drivers across the country:

  • Be aware of others on the road. Remember to always safely share the road with cyclists and keep a close eye out for pedestrians. Exercise additional caution when in high-traffic areas and at intersections.
  • Mind your speed. One of the key contributors to collisions is a high rate of speed. One of the main steps drivers can take to reduce their chances of being involved in a collision is to reduce their speed.
  • Always use your signals. Be vigilant about signaling to indicate a lane change. The second most-common type of collision in this study involved lane changes.
  • Don’t follow too closely. Accidents involving cars being rear-ended were the most common type of accident in the study. Leaving enough space to brake safely makes it less likely you’ll bump into the car ahead of you.
  • Put down your phone. Distracted driving is a significant contributor to avoidable accidents. Refrain from distractions such as eating or grooming, and consider storing your phone out of arms’ reach so you’re not tempted to look at it while operating your vehicle.
  • Never drive impaired. If you’re planning to consume alcohol, plan ahead for your ride home. Options include public transit, a designated driver, or a taxi. If you suspect another driver to be impaired, call 911 and report it to the police.

For more safe driving tips, visit goodhandsadvice.ca/2016-Safe-Driving-Study.

Regional Findings

ALBERTA

  • Ten Albertan communities were included in the 2016 study, with four landing on the list of the top 10 safest cities, including the leader, Spruce Grove, AB (#1, 3.60 per cent).
  • Three Albertan communities ranked among the top-five that saw the greatest decrease in their collision frequency rate, with Leduc(#11, 4.36 per cent) experiencing the most significant decrease with a reduction of 30 per cent and St. Albert (#8, 4.22 per cent) seeing a reduction of 23 per cent.

NOVA SCOTIA

  • For the second consecutive study, Nova Scotia was the province with the highest frequency of collisions, with a 17.8 per cent increase in its collision frequency rate.
  • Five communities in Nova Scotia were included in the study: Bedford (#45, 5.67 per cent); Dartmouth (#64, 6.28 per cent); Hammonds Plains (#67, 6.31 per cent); Lower Sackville (#74, 6.74 per cent); and Halifax (#86, 7.77 per cent)
  • Of the top-five communities that experienced the most significant increase in their collision frequency rates, three of these communities are located in Nova Scotia, with Hammonds Plains seeing the greatest increase at 43 per cent, followed by Lower Sackville at 40 per cent.

NEW BRUNSWICK

  • Of the six New Brunswick communities ranked in the study, Rothesay featured the lowest collision frequency rate (#24, 4.97 per cent).
  • Other communities featured in the study include: Riverview (#32, 5.21 per cent); Saint John (#37, 5.37 per cent); Dieppe (#40, 5.52 per cent); Fredericton (#51, 5.88 per cent); and Moncton (#58, 6.09 per cent).

ONTARIO

  • Six of the ten safest communities in this study are in Ontario, with Val Therese (#3, 3.69 per cent) ranking as the safest community in the province.
  • Other Ontarian communities included in the top 10 are: LaSalle (#4, 3.80 per cent); Chelmsford (#5, 3.86 per cent); Sarnia (#7, 4.09 per cent); Belle River (#9, 4.25 per cent); and St. Thomas (#10, 4.31 per cent).

Visit here for more detailed results, as well as our “Safest City” ranking by community and region.

Visit here for an infographic that illustrates key findings from the Safe Driving Study.

About the Study:
Allstate Canada conducted an in-depth analysis of company collision claims data to determine the safest communities in Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario based on the frequency of collisions. The study spans a 24-month period beginning July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2016. It also offers a comparison to the data from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2014. Collision frequency refers to a percentage of vehicles insured by Allstate Canada involved in a collision that resulted in a claim.

To ensure the data provides a realistic outlook for what is happening on roadways, only communities with at least 1,500 cars insured by Allstate Canada during the 24-month period were included in the study. The Allstate Safe Driving Study began in Ontario in 2007 and has since expanded to include communities in Alberta, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. For this study, a total of 107 communities were included (86 in Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and 21 in Quebec).

Attention Editors: The Quebec Safe Driving Study from Allstate Canada can be found here.

Claims data is limited to collisions for which there was a payout. Claims for incidents such as break-ins or vandalism are not included in this analysis. Two-year periods were chosen to provide a larger sample for more meaningful analysis. Survey data ranks frequency of collisions, not severity of accident. Collision data can be traced back to the registered car address. The study does not include personally identifying information of Allstate customers.

About Allstate Insurance Company of Canada:
Allstate Insurance Company of Canada is one of the country’s leading producers and distributors of home and auto insurance products, including usage-based insurance, serving Canadians since 1953. The company strives to keep its customers in “Good Hands®” as well as its employees, and has been listed as a Best Employer in Canada for five years in a row. Allstate Canada is committed to making a positive difference in the communities in which it operates and has partnered with organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada), United Way, and Junior Achievement. To learn more about Allstate Canada, visit www.allstate.ca. For more safety tips and advice, visit goodhandsadvice.ca.

SOURCE Allstate Insurance Company of Canada

Automated licence plate readers added to more police vehicles in Saskatchewan

REGINA _ Police in Saskatchewan are getting another tool to help them nab speeders, distracted drivers and impaired drivers

Some 32 automated licence plate readers are being installed in RCMP patrol vehicles starting this week.

The automated readers are also able to alert police when a plate is linked to a stolen or unregistered vehicle, a suspended driver or someone wanted by authorities.

Saskatchewan Government Insurance has funded a total of 47 automated licence readers in the province so far.

The new readers are to be used in a pilot project focused on problem roadways and intersections in central and southeastern Saskatchewan.

Police say the automated system, which uses infrared technology, allows officers to check more plates and identify high-risk drivers quickly.

CP3

Automatic emergency braking is quickly becoming a key feature in preventing collisions and reducing their severity

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Project Cyclone has led to the arrest of 24 individuals.

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