#PracticeUp Saskatchewan: SGI and police focus on new drivers in June

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New drivers are the province-wide focus of June’s traffic safety spotlight.

Police will be watching for new drivers not following restrictions outlined in the Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) and Motorcycle Graduated Driver’s Licensing (MGDL) programs.

While new drivers include inexperienced drivers of any age, they are most commonly young drivers. Compared to all other age groups, young drivers account for a disproportionate amount of collisions, injuries and fatalities on Saskatchewan roads. Between 2010 and 2014, drivers 19 years of age and younger represented 7.1 per cent of Saskatchewan’s driving population, yet accounted for 11.1 per cent of all collisions. Young drivers also represented 12.1 percent of drivers killed and 13.3 per cent of drivers seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision.

“Practice is key as a new driver as it helps reinforce safe driving skills and habits,” said Earl Cameron, Vice President of the Auto Fund. “The requirements and restrictions under the GDL and MGDL program are in place for a reason – to ensure new drivers and riders develop the appropriate level of driving skill and road experience before they progress into higher risk driving situations.”

SGI recommends new drivers keep the following tips in mind:

  • Know the restrictions for new drivers and riders and how they affect you.
  • Practice driving in different weather conditions and at different times of day.
  • Gradually expose yourself to more complex and higher-risk traffic situations.
  • Avoid distractions (cellphones, radio, passengers, etc.) and concentrate on the road.
  • Practice complicated driving manoeuvres and traffic situations with a qualified instructor or supervising driver until you master them.
  • Before driving, familiarize yourself with vehicle controls and functions.

View more information about the GDL program and MGDL program. Whether you’re a new or experienced driver, #AskAnExaminer via Facebook, Twitter, email or text to prepare for your road test or brush up on general rules of the road.

SGI quick facts June 2016

About SGI

Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) is the province’s self-sustaining auto insurance fund. SGI operates 21 claims centres and five salvage centres across Saskatchewan with a head office in Regina. SGI also works with a network of nearly 400 motor licence issuers across the province. Customers can now do some transactions online. Look for the MySGI link underOnline Services on your motor licence issuer’s website or SGI’s website.

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Ride-sharing is very much in the news these days

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Detroit muscle cars aren’t so strong in crash tests

Source: Canadian Press

The Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger didn’t get the highest ratings in new tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The institute, which is funded by2016-Camaro insurers, tested 2016 models.

The Mustang earned the highest rating on four of the five tests, but didn’t do as well on the small overlap test, which simulates what happens when a small portion of the car’s front end hits a pole at 40 miles per hour.

The Camaro did well on that test but had a lower rating for roof strength. The Challenger was the worst performer, with lower ratings for roof strength, seat and headrest strength and the small overlap test.

 

Ontario considers highway signs promoting safe texting zones for drivers

Ontario is considering the idea of putting signs on highways to alert drivers about upcoming areas where they can safely pull over to text or check their emails.

All three parties voted in favour on second reading of a private member’s bill from Progressive Conservative Vic Fedeli to create so-called safe texting zones.

Fedeli says signs on highways would inform drivers of about 185 existing areas such as commuter parking lots, transit stations and rest stops where they can safely pull off to use their smart phones or tablets.

He got the idea while driving through Pennsylvania and New York, and saw signs in both states promoting safe texting zones, and says it would not require any new infrastructure.

Fedeli says increased fines are not enough to curb distracted driving habits, and believes safe texting zones will save lives and help educate motorists about the dangers of texting behind the wheel.

The Ontario Provincial Police reported in March that distracted driving was the cause of more deaths on provincial highways than any other factor for the third consecutive year, contributing to 69 deaths in 2015.

Fedeli says he’s had widespread support from police, insurance companies, the Canadian Automobile Association and the Ontario Safety League for his Safe Texting Zones Act.

“It sends a clear message to distracted drivers that there is no longer any excuse to endanger themselves and those they share the road with,” said Fedeli.  “Their text can wait until the next texting zone.”

Ontario stiffened penalties for distracted driving last fall, with a set fine of $490 that a judge could increase to $1,000, plus three demerit points on conviction.

Safe texting zone signs will be especially important in helping educate younger drivers about the dangers of distracted driving, added Fedeli.

“Texting is so popular with young people who are new drivers as well, and this has surpassed drunk driving (as a cause of accidents) and has become so very, very serious that it needs that extra little nudge, that extra reminder that says: ‘It can wait,”’ he said.

New Democrat transport critic Wayne Gates told the legislature that it’s not just the younger drivers who text.

“Older people, seniors are doing it, and young people are doing it, and it’s putting people at risk,” said Gates.

Private member’s bills rarely become law in Ontario, but Fedeli is confident his will either be passed or be adopted by the Liberal government after members from all sides of the legislature spoke in favour of it.

“It really is a bill that I expect will come into law in Ontario one day,” he said.

 

ICBC calls on drivers and motorcycle riders to share the road

ICBC calls on drivers and motorcycle riders to share the road

While motorcycles only make up only about three per cent of insured vehicles in B.C., they’re involved in almost one-in-10 road fatalities. With motorcycle awareness month underway, ICBC is calling on drivers to share the road with motorcycles now and throughout summer.

Crashes involving motorcycles peak at this time of year. In May and June, approximately four riders are injured in B.C. every day. In July and August, that number rises to six riders injured every day.*

“This year the warmer weather arrived early so all drivers need to already be thinking about sharing the road responsibly to reduce crashes involving vulnerable road users like motorcyclists,” said Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “Most car crashes involving motorcycles happen in intersections. Drivers need to always look out for motorcyclists ― especially when turning left. And riders should never assume a driver has seen them.”

“Motorcycles are inherently smaller and riders aren’t protected by a frame, seatbelts, airbag and bumpers,” said Mark Blucher, ICBC’s president and CEO. “As a result, motorcycle crashes also tend to lead to more severe injury claims compared to those involving vehicle drivers.”

ICBC’s message for riders is to wear all the gear, all the time. The right motorcycle riding gear, including a helmet that meets approved safety standards, is the best protection against severe injuries in a crash. Check out the Gear it or Shear it videos on icbc.com to see a graphic illustration of the difference between wearing riding gear and street clothes.

“Too often police officers see the devastating results of motorcycle crashes,” said Superintendent Derek Cooke, Vice-Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee. “We’re asking motorcycle riders and their passengers to be visible, dress appropriately, pay attention and focus on driving because we don’t want you to be a statistic. And to other drivers, please be alert to motorcycles – give them their space and remember that there are no minor incidents involving motorcycles.”

Tips for drivers:

  • Always scan intersections and look carefully for motorcycles.
  • When turning left — look for oncoming motorcycles. Motorcycles can be hard to see, especially at night, at dusk, in bad weather or in heavy traffic. The safest choice is to yield the right of way to an oncoming rider as it can be hard to tell how fast they’re travelling.
  • Make eye contact — whenever possible, let motorcyclists know that you’ve seen them.
  • Don’t assume that a rider in the left part of the lane is planning to turn left. Some riders do this to be more visible.
  • Watch the rider for clues — sometimes a motorcycle’s turn signals are hard to see. If the rider shoulder checks or the motorcycle leans, the rider is probably planning to change lanes, adjust lane position or turn.

Tips for riders:

  • All the gear, all the time ― Choose a jacket and pants made for motorcycle riding; sturdy gloves that cover your wrists and protect your knuckles; and boots that protect your ankles. Street clothes offer little or no protection from the weather or in a crash.
  • Wear bright or reflective clothing that comes with ventilation to help prevent over-heating. Use a safety vest or clothing that features fluorescent material or reflective striping to help make you more visible, day and night.
  • Passengers should also wear motorcycle gear for the best protection.
  • According to the law in B.C., you must wear a motorcycle helmet that meets DOT, Snell or ECE standards. Be sure it displays the proper label and meets safety-helmet labelling requirements.
  • When approaching an intersection, adjust your lane position and reduce your speed so you’ll have time to stop if you need to.

Get more driver and rider tips on icbc.com.

*All statistics are based on a five-year average using 2009 to 2013 police (fatality) and ICBC data. Includes low-speed motorcycles (scooters and mopeds).

Media contact:
Sam Corea
604-982-2480

 

As car insurance costs drop, benefits being cut

As of June 1, a new car insurance policy in Ontario will provide less coverage as a result of an accident. It you want more, you’ll have to pay.

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Car insurance premiums have come down in Ontario this year, but less welcome is that you’re going to have less coverage in a standard policy if you get into an accident.

It’s the tradeoff of the Ontario Liberal’s have made as part of their unfulfilled promise to push auto insurance rates down. Yes, rates are slowly coming down, but to pay for it, insurers are being allowed to reduce the amount they pay you for accident benefits.

It’s another piece of the Liberal pledge made two years ago when they were a minority government and picked up as a campaign promise in the election that gave them a majority. They said they would reduce the cost of insuring a car in Ontario by 15 per cent by August, 2015.

We’re still waiting. Nine months after that deadline has passed we’re two-thirds of the way there at the 10 per cent mark.

The Liberals get credit for legislation in the past two years that may help eventually reach the goal. They’ve cracked down on insurance fraud and accelerated the process to settle disputed accident claims. There is more oversight of clinics that offer rehab services.

The latest push takes effect on June 1 and affects any policy renewed thereafter. It reduces the maximum benefit insurers must pay for accidents, including medical treatments, rehab services and attendant care. Insurers have long argued that Ontario’s payment schedule is the most generous in Canada and contributes to our higher insurance costs.

How high are our car insurance costs? The average GTA driver pays $2,203 a year to insure a car, according to the latest figures from the Insurance Bureau of Canada. The average in the Maritimes is $773 and in Quebec $693.

The June 1 changes mean your insurer is on the hook for less in accident benefits so policy costs can drop a bit. If you want to keep the current coverage, you can do so by paying for optional coverage.

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