ICBC launches online booking system for in-office driver licensing appointments

ICBC launches online booking system for in-office driver licensing appointments

Starting today, ICBC is moving to an appointment-based system for most driver licensing office transactions. As customer volume increases, ICBC is asking customers to book an appointment before visiting an ICBC office for transactions such as driver licence renewals and knowledge tests.  This ensures that ICBC continues to adhere to physical distancing guidelines set by the Provincial Health Officer.

As of today, customers can book their appointment through icbc.com. When booking a visit to a driver licensing office, customers will be able to choose a location and time that is convenient for them, allowing customers to plan their visit in advance. Customers will be asked to arrive 10 minutes prior to their appointment and to ensure they have the required documentation with them. This online booking system is not for booking road tests.

ICBC is strongly advising customers to book an appointment at least three weeks in advance of their driver licence expiring, as walk-in availability will be limited, and waits are anticipated as scheduled appointments take place. The system will offer flexibility for rescheduling and cancelling appointments if needed. Customers will receive a confirmation email as well as two reminder emails with instructions ahead of the appointment. Consistent with public health guidelines, ICBC is asking customers not to attend an office if they are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.

Customers who need to pay a ticket, obtain their driver history/abstract or update their address can continue to do so online or by phone.

For more information on ICBC’s services during the pandemic, visit icbc.com/covid-19.

CRT Assesses Damages for “Relatively Minor” Injury at Only $1,500

The guest post is written by ERIK MAGRAKEN

Reasons for judgement were published this week by BC’s Civil Resolution Tribunal (“CRT”) addressing fault and damages following a collision.  In what is one of the lowest assessments of non-pecuniary damages I have seen the CRT awarded $1,500 for injuries which lasted several months.

In today’s case (Thandi v. Uggal) the Applicant was involved in a 2019 collision.  The Respondent denied fault but was found liable for the crash.

The Applicant, who was self represented, gave evidence that he suffered various soft tissue injuries.  These required 3 physiotherapy sessions and two doctors visits.  The Applicant did not bring medico-legal evidence in support of his claim.

Tribunal Member Kristin Gardner accepted he was injured but awarded non-pecuniary damages at only $1,500.  In doing so the Member cited a BC Provincial Court authority from 14 years ago, took the lowest end of the suggested range of applicable damages and did not adjust it for inflation.  In reaching this assessment the following reasons were given:

35.   Mr. Thandi submits that he suffered injuries to his neck, shoulder and upper back as a result of the accident.

36.   Mr. Thandi claims $5,500 for pain and suffering. This figure is the applicable cap for a “minor injury” as defined in the Insurance (Vehicle) Act (IVA). The parties did not expressly agree whether Mr. Thandi’s injuries are “minor injuries” as defined in section 101 of the IVA. However, given Mr. Thandi’s claim does not exceed the applicable “minor injury cap”, I find that I do not need to determine whether the injuries are in fact “minor injuries”.

37.   Mr. Thandi says that due to the Covid-19 pandemic he was unable to obtain his doctor’s records to support his claim. However, I note that Mr. Thandi did not request an extension of these CRT proceedings so that he could obtain this evidence. It is undisputed that Mr. Thandi attended 3 physiotherapy treatments and 2 visits to his doctor, with his last treatment in November 2019. Mr. Uggal submits that there is insufficient documentation to properly evaluate Mr. Thandi’s claim for pain and suffering. However, Mr. Uggal does not dispute that Mr. Thandi sustained injuries from the accident.

38.   In Holt v. Hertzberg, 2006 BCPC 228 at paragraph 27, the court noted after reviewing the authorities, that non-pecuniary damages for relatively minor soft tissue injuries that resolve within a matter of months are often assessed in the range of $1,500 to $7,500, depending on the facts of the case. Given the limited evidence about Mr. Thandi’s injuries, on a judgment basis, I find that $1,500 is appropriate compensation for non-pecuniary (pain and suffering) damages.

minor soft tissue injury, Thandi v. Uggal, Tribunal Member Kristin Gardner

 

#DriveSmartBC – Stay Between the Lines

 

Traffic IslandOne sure sign of growing up when we were young was the ability to use our crayons and colour between the lines. An important skill for a “grown-up” driver is also the ability to stay between the lines. Judging by the e-mails that I continually receive from readers who state that this is their main pet peeve, there is a sizable number of drivers out there who need to do a bit more skill improvement.

Staying centered in your lane is not difficult. Here’s a beginner’s tip from the Tuning Up Guide:

The first thing you may notice as you begin driving in moderate traffic is that you have to stay in the centre of your lane. To start with, this is no easy task. The magic rule: look the way you want to go. If you keep looking 12 seconds ahead down the centre of the lane, your peripheral vision will help you centre yourself.

If you haven’t been on the inside of a curve lately and met an oncoming driver part way over the center line into your lane, a quick look at the lines painted on the road will tell you that many tires have passed over the paint and worn it away.

It shouldn’t matter if you cross over the lines when no one is coming should it? Well, it’s both illegal in that situation and will end up in a collision the first time you fail to see the oncoming vehicle. It will be really interesting if that driver is doing the same thing!

Perhaps more common still is the encroachment onto the shoulder when drivers go around a corner. This territory is the domain of pedestrians and cyclists, your vehicle does not belong there. It’s hardly likely that you would be injured or killed in a collision here but the same cannot be said for the unprotected shoulder users.

Should vehicles have to become smarter than their drivers? Your next new vehicle may have lane keeping assist to help you stay where you are supposed to be.

One side effect of this safety feature will be enforcement of signalling lane changes. If you fail to signal your lane change, the system will see this as a drift to one side and will take action to alert you.

Here in Canada, winter snow hides the lines on the road. Unless it is unsafe to do, your guide is the tire tracks left by the vehicles that have already been driven there.

So, show a little pride in your ability to be a mature, skillful driver. Keep your vehicle inside that 3.6 meter wide space between the lines. This will also show your respect for other road users and help to keep them safe. If you cannot, it’s time to put your crayons back in the box and let someone else do the driving.

References:

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible for conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

www.drivesmartbc.ca

StatsCanada Earnings Data Ruled Admissible in Injury Trial Without Economist or Other Introductory Witness

Helpful reasons for judgement were recently shared with me finding that StatsCan evidence about wages were admissible in a personal injury trial even without them being incorporated in an economists report or otherwise being introduced by a witness.

In the recent case (Reddy v. Enokson) the Plaintiff was seeking damages following injuries in a vehicle collision.  In the course of the trial the Plaintiff sought to introduce data from StatsCan “concerning the average hourly wage rate of persons 15 years and over in Canada“.   The Defendant objected arguing “these statistics ought not to replace a proper expert’s opinion. ”

Mr. Justice Blok found the evidence admissible as a public document meeting the admissibility provisions of s. 29 of BC’s Evidence Act.

In reaching this conclusion the Court provided the following reasons:

[6] In brief, defendant’s counsel says these statistics ought not to replace a proper expert’s opinion.

[7] Both plaintiff and defendant referred to Smith v. Fremlin, 2014 BCCA 253 [Smith], a case which involved a female plaintiff intending to pursue a career in law. There evidently was an economist in that case who prepared a report using statistical income data for female lawyers in BC. Objection was taken on the basis that this was something of a broad category, as there are many different roles that lawyers have, and different locations within British Columbia where lawyers practice, as well as other differences that would make the statistics in question inaccurate.

[8] Both counsel referred to para. 25 of Smith, in which the Court of Appeal said:
[25] Evidence of the earnings of the class of workers to which the plaintiff belongs is clearly relevant to the assessment of a loss of earning capacity. At some point, the evidence may be so general or vague as to be of little assistance but, in my view, that cannot be said of the statistical evidence used in this case. Evidence of the lifetime earning capacity of female lawyers in British Columbia, according to Mr. Wickson’s testimony in cross-examination, was the most specific data available. No further breakdown of incomes of female lawyers in this province by areas of practice is available. The Wickson report therefore was the best available evidence of what has been recognized as the starting point of the assessment of the loss of income earning capacity. It was properly admitted by the judge.

[9] Defence counsel has seized upon the phrase in that quote which reads “at some point, the evidence may be so general or vague as to be of little assistance”, saying that this case has crossed that line. The plaintiff argues that the statistical information, by necessity, has to be general because this plaintiff is young and was uncertain about what she wanted to do. He says that it may have limited weight, but it still meets the test for admissibility.

[10] Additional context on this application is the fact that there is statistical information being admitted without objection about the hourly rates of clinical counsellors in Canada broken down by various provinces. It is the evidence of the plaintiff that she is currently pursuing some training as a clinical counsellor. The plaintiff, nonetheless, says that the contested statistics may still be important to know in terms of alternative careers should this one not pan out.

[11] To be very frank, I suspect that the information in question will achieve at most a very limited usefulness or weight. It is very broad, and given that these are national figures, not even British Columbia figures, there are many reasons to question the weight that could be put on them. However, I am not able to say at this stage, at least, that these figures might not be of some assistance and have at least some weight, so as to surmount the relatively low bar of relevance.

[12] Accordingly, I conclude that this document ought to be admitted.

bc injury law, Mr. Justice Blok, Reddy v. Enokson, Section 29 Evidence Act, Statistics, Statistics Canada, StatsCan

Road tests to expand July 8 with phased approach

Road tests to expand July 8 with phased approach

ICBC is continuing to expand its road testing by opening it up to all customers through a phased approach. This builds upon the successful reopening of commercial vehicle road tests in June, in line with B.C.’s Restart Plan.

ICBC’s road test plan helps British Columbians get the services they need while ensuring important health and safety protocols can be implemented, monitored and maintained as testing increases.

Timeline

The following plan is contingent on the state of the pandemic in the province and may be adjusted based on the need to ensure the ongoing health and safety of both customers and staff. Specifically, the ongoing availability of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is a key factor that ICBC is monitoring at this time.

  • Motorcycle road tests: available as of July 8; customers may book online.

  • Recreational Trailer (Class 4 and 5 endorsement) road tests: available as of July 8; customers may call ICBC (1-800-950-1498) to book an appointment.

  • Priority testing for essential health care workers and first responders who require a licence for work; workers may call ICBC today (1-800-950-1498) to book. Information will be requested to establish eligibility.

  • Private Passenger Vehicle (Class 5 and 7) road tests:

    • Priority testing for customers with tests cancelled between March 17 and March 30; ICBC will start calling customers this week to rebook; road tests to begin July 20.

    • Following this first grouping, ICBC will then be prioritizing the re-booking of customers who had road tests cancelled after March 30. It is expected that these customers will be able to re-book through the month of August.

    • More details on the timing for new road test bookings will be provided in the following weeks.

  • Enhanced Road Assessments: ICBC will call to rebook customers whose assessments were cancelled between March 17 and March 30. All other customers requiring a medical fitness assessment will receive a letter from RoadSafetyBC.

  • Commercial road tests (Class 1 – 4), motorcycle skills tests, and knowledge tests are available for booking.

  • Other services: ICBC’s offices have remained open during the pandemic while also offering customers the option to renew a 90-day temporary driver’s licence by phone. To manage the demand and volume of customers in an office at any given time, ICBC is also looking to move to an appointment system for in-office visits, including driver licence renewals. More information will be provided when plans are finalized.

What to Expect

  • Making an appointment: Due to the expected high volume of calls, we ask for customers’ patience during this time. Customers whose appointment was cancelled between March 17 and March 30 will not need to call – ICBC will call affected customers. For all other customers, they are strongly encouraged to book online if the option is available for their test type.

  • Before the appointment: Customers are asked to review the vehicle safety checklist and ensure that the interior of their vehicle is clean.

  • Upon arrival: Customers are asked to arrive on-time with the required identification. They will be asked a series of health screening questions and provided a mask that must be worn for the duration of the road test.

    Due to the nature of the motorcycle road test, riders will not be provided a mask, but will be required to wear a safety vest provided by ICBC, which will be sanitized before each use.

  • Testing: Driver examiners will continue to conduct road tests from inside the customer’s vehicle to ensure the examiner is able to fully assess the customer’s driving skills and to take control of the vehicle in the event of an emergency. Driver examiners will wear appropriate PPE during the test.

    For motorcycle road tests, the testing environment remains unchanged. The examiner rides behind the rider in a car, speaking to the rider by two-way radio.

For more information on ICBC’s services during the pandemic, visit: https://www.icbc.com/about-icbc/contact-us/Pages/covid-19.aspx

IBC – ICBC No-Fault Design will Further Limit Consumer Choice

VANCOUVER, BC, July 7, 2020 /CNW/ – Today, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) published an open letter to British Columbia Premier John Horgan, outlining the auto insurance industry’s concern with Bill 11 – Attorney General Statues (Vehicle Insurance) Amendment Act, 2020. IBC also provided a list of legislative amendments to the government that, if implemented, would give consumers more choice and help to lower auto insurance rates in the province.

As currently designed, Bill 11 will further limit consumer choice, create new barriers to stifle the limited competition that currently exists in BC’s optional auto insurance market, and risks driving other insurers out of BC’s optional auto insurance market entirely.

As part of the move to a no-fault system, Bill 11 creates a new mandatory Basic Vehicle Damage coverage that is only available through the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). This product will provide coverage for vehicle replacement and repair when a driver is not responsible for an accident. Today, these repairs can be covered by the third-party liability insurance of the driver responsible for an accident, which is open to choice and competition above ICBC’s basic limits.

“Bill 11 will reduce what little choice drivers have in BC’s optional auto insurance market,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific, IBC. “There is no rationale for this expansion of ICBC’s monopoly over vehicle damage insurance. 

A better, more affordable auto insurance system would allow drivers to purchase this coverage from any insurer they choose.”

IBC has suggested a number of amendments to Bill 11 that would provide consumers with choice in vehicle damage coverage – whether that coverage is mandatory or optional. This would make BC similar to the no-fault system in Quebec, where injury coverages are provided by the government insurer and vehicle damage coverages are provided by private insurers. Total premiums in Quebec (including the government’s no-fault coverage) are $717 on average1, less than half the $1,500 that ICBC projects its no-fault insurance will cost.

If enacted, IBC’s suggested amendments would create a more competitive market for vehicle damage coverage and, most importantly, would improve the affordability of this coverage over the long term. This would be particularly true if the government were to also remove the existing barriers to choice and competition in BC and provide all insurers with equal access to driver abstracts and provincial claims information.

“Under ICBC’s monopoly, British Columbians pay more for auto insurance than anyone else in Canada,” noted Sutherland. “Canada’s private insurers want to help lower premiums in the province and are committed to working with the government to create a system that works for everyone.”

QUICK FACTS:

  • ICBC basic insurance currently provides coverage for $200,000 in third-party liability, accident benefits and uninsured motorist protection. Optional insurance provides excess third-party liability (above $200,000), as well as comprehensive and collision insurance.
  • Today, vehicle damage claims are paid from the third-party liability coverage of the driver responsible for the crash. Bill 11’s Basic Vehicle Damage Coverage will move this coverage under ICBC’s basic policy and cover repairs when the driver is not at fault.
  • Removing excess third-party liability coverage under no-fault will shrink the optional insurance market by up to 30%.
  • Last year, BC drivers spent $2.9 billion on optional insurance, with $300 million of that being spent on policies with private insurers.
  • In Quebec (a no-fault insurance province), drivers have full choice in who they purchase their vehicle damage coverage from – both mandatory and optional. Total annual auto insurance premiums (including the government’s no-fault coverage) in that province are $717 on average, less than half the projected cost of ICBC’s no-fault insurance ($1,500).

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 128,000 Canadians, pays $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow us on Twitter @IBC_Pacific or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

__________________________________

1 2018, the most recent full-year available

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

www.ibc.ca

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