Shoppers urged to keep their vehicles free of valuables

With malls filled with holiday shoppers, parking lots and unattended vehicles become alluring targets for thieves. About 10,000 vehicle break-ins were reported across the province last year. ICBC is reminding drivers that they can help prevent auto crime from happening to them over the holidays by keeping their vehicle free of valuables – including those holiday parcels.

Tips for preventing auto crime

  • Remove valuables from your vehicle. Holiday gifts, shopping bags, electronics and even loose change can all tempt a thief. Shoppers should also try to avoid making multiple trips back to their vehicle to drop off their bags as thieves may be watching.

  • Park in secure, well-lit areas. Always lock your doors and close the windows and sunroof, even if you’re only away from your vehicle for a few minutes.

  • Treat your keys like cash. It’s easy to forget about keys in a coat pocket or gym locker, but you should never leave your keys unattended in a public place.

  • Use an immobilizer or steering wheel lock. Additional anti-theft devices can help secure your vehicle, particularly if it was manufactured before 2007.

Drivers should be aware that the contents of their vehicle aren’t covered by insurance. However, if a vehicle has been damaged as a result of theft, ICBC customers that have Comprehensive or Specified Perils coverage can file a claim. The average cost of a vehicle break-in claim is approximately $1,200*.

Statistics

In 2016, 10,000 vehicle break-ins across the province were reported to ICBC.

  • 8,600 vehicle break-ins were reported in the Lower Mainland.

  • 410 vehicle break-ins were reported on Vancouver Island.

  • 640 vehicle break-ins were reported in the Southern Interior.

  • 180 vehicle break-ins were reported in the North Central region.

*Based on average cost of vehicle break-ins reported to ICBC from 2012-2016

Upcoming drone regulations & soaring use provide opportunities & challenges

New Transport Canada rules are around the corner, but will they go far enough to protect privacy?

By David Bell, CBC News

As the popularity of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, continues to soar, two experts weigh in on what could be coming in terms of regulation, safety and privacy.

Sterling Cripps is the founder and president of Canadian Unmanned Incorporated, a Medicine Hat-based UAV training operation. He says one of the big challenges moving forward is stressing the importance of safety and regulatory compliance.

“To fly in a busy downtown area, such as Calgary, you are in Class C airspace from the ground up to 3,000 feet right out to past Springbank. In order to fly legally in this airspace, you have to have permission from Transport Canada and be on a Nav Canada operators list so that you can fly safely. In order to get that, you have to have a special flight operating certificate from Transport Canada, which also includes insurance and procedures for mitigating risks. How would you deal with a fly away or a crash or something like that? That’s the challenge that we have, is making sure the operators are educated and trained in dealing with emergencies in this realm.”

Cripps has spent the last year training about 500 users across the country. He says the applications for UAVs have expanded a lot in recent years.

“I have worked with all three levels of government — federal, provincial and civic — in terms of their environmental applications, transportation, law enforcement, forestry. But I have also worked with mining companies, individual forest companies, pulp and paper, construction, Aboriginal and Indigenous groups as well, that are looking after land management. Where I am seeing the rubber really hit the road, is the engineering and the survey groups,” he said.

“These drones make excellent tools for them to create their craft and capture the data they can get from a different type of angle using a drone.”

News rules being considered

But as Transport Canada considers new rules for drones, privacy should be a consideration alongside safety, a specialized lawyer says.

“Unfortunately, for recreational drone users there isn’t a requirement that they register their drone or the flight path,” says Laura Emmett of London, Ont.-based Lerners Lawyers.

Emmett advises clients on drone-related issues.

“It does present some difficulties in terms of identifying who is operating the drone. The rules right now for Transport Canada, for recreational drones, require that the name, address and telephone number of the drone user are marked on the drone.”

But without binoculars or a long camera lens, reading that information could be difficult. Residents who see drones flying over their property and have privacy concerns, she adds, could contact police directly.

Emmett says there is a requirement to obtain a special flight operation certificate if the drone is used commercially or if it weighs more than 35 kilograms.

“There are proposed new regulations that Transport Canada has released. They haven’t come into force yet. The consultation period ended at the end of October. So I expect we will be seeing new rules shortly.”

Could getting demerit points from speeding increase my insurance?

By JASON TCHIR

I got a speeding ticket for going 20 km/h above the limit but it doesn’t say how many demerit points I lose. Does that mean I won’t lose any? I really don’t understand how demerits work and I’m worried that my insurance will go up. – Mike, Toronto

At a loss trying to figure out how demerits work? You’ve got plenty of company.

“Every single ticket issued, the first word out of people’s mouths is, ‘How many points do I lose?’ ” said Constable Clint Stibbe of Toronto Police Traffic Services. “But you don’t lose points, you gain them.”

Demerits are strikes against your driving record. In Ontario, you start out with zero and get demerits added by the province when you get convicted of many Ontario Highway Traffic Act offences.

Penalties range from two demerits (for offences such as making an illegal turn) to seven demerits (for not stopping when police try to pull you over or for failing to remain at an accident).

Looking at speeding specifically: going 30-49 km/h over the limit is four demerits; 16-29 km/h over is three and there are no demerits if you’re 15 km/h or less over the limit.

And, with a few exceptions, you’ll still get demerits from tickets you got in other provinces.

Demerits not on the ticket

When you’re pulled over, the officer doesn’t decide how many demerit points you’ll get, he just gives you a ticket for breaking a particular section. The ticket itself doesn’t show the demerits.

“The only time you would see any reference to demerits would be if we issue a warning for the offence,” Stibbe said. “If you get a warning, it will indicate what the fine and the demerits would have been. It’s like a safety brochure.”

If you do get a ticket and you pay it, or you fight it and the court finds you guilty, you’ll automatically get the demerit points associated with it.

There are a couple of exceptions. You won’t get demerit points if you got the ticket on a bicycle. And while running a red light normally comes with three demerits, there are no demerits if it’s a ticket from a red light camera. That’s because they get sent to the owner of the vehicle, who may not have been the one driving.

Gain demerits, lose your licence?

The specifics vary by province, but generally, if you rack up enough demerit points, your driver’s licence will get suspended.

If you have a full licence in Ontario, the ministry can decide to suspend your licence once you have nine demerits. But if you get to 15 or more, your licence is automatically suspended for 30 days.

For new drivers with G1 or G2 restricted licences, six demerits could be enough to get a licence suspension; nine demerits is an automatic 60-day suspension.

The demerits stay on your licence for two years. But the conviction stays on your driving record for three years, Stibbe said. Suspensions stay on your record for six years.

Convictions matter for insurance

It’s that conviction, rather than the demerits themselves, that your insurance company is looking at when deciding whether to raise your rates.

“The more tickets and infractions you have on your driving record the larger the risk you become to insure and your rate will reflect that,” said John Bordignon, spokesman for State Farm Canada, in an e-mail.

Companies can use any convictions on your record, even if they didn’t come with demerits. Generally, they break convictions into three categories: minor, major and serious.

Minor includes following too closely and speeding. Major includes improper passing of a school bus or failing to report an accident. Serious includes speeding 50 km/h over the posted limit and impaired driving.

So, something like speeding could affect your rates – even if it’s only for 10 km/h over the limit and didn’t come with demerits.

“If you have two or three within a three-year window, even those could add up,” said Pete Karageorgos, director of consumer and industry relations with the Insurance Bureau of Canada. “The company will think, ‘Wait a minute, the trend here is that this is not a good driver.’ “

Rates soar, even without demerits

We looked at online insurance calculators and compared rates for a 30-year-old, male, married driver with a 2015 Honda Civic and no previous accidents.

With no tickets in the past three years, the lowest available rate was $1,878 a year. With two minor tickets, it rose to $2,017, with three to $4,987 and with four or more to $5,325.

The government doesn’t notify your insurance company when you get a ticket, but the company can still find out.

“Insurance companies on a semi-regular basis will check people’s driving records – if you’ve been with the same company, they may not look for two or three years,” Karageorgos said. “But if you’re shopping around for a new policy, that new insurance company will actively look at your driving record.”

And if you apply for a new policy without telling them about your ample collection of speeding tickets, your policy could be cancelled.

globedrive@globeandmail.com

Saskatchewan pot survey suggests legal weed be regulated similar to alcohol

REGINA _ A Saskatchewan government survey suggests most respondents want legal recreational marijuana to be regulated in much the same way as alcohol.

The results of the online survey indicate most people 46 per cent want 19 to be the legal age to use cannabis, the same as for alcohol consumption.

Two-thirds of people either agree or strongly agree that the same penalties for drunk driving should apply to people who use pot and get behind the wheel.

When it comes to retail sales, 45 per cent believe marijuana should be sold in government-run outlets similar to those run by the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority.

The next most popular choice 37 per cent was for small businesses to sell weed.

Justice Minister Don Morgan says the results will be used to develop the government’s legal marijuana strategy, but gave no indication when the plan will be rolled out.

Morgan said more than 34,000 people took part, the largest response ever to a Saskatchewan government survey.

Joe Hargrave, minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance, said lawmakers share the public’s concerns about impaired driving.

“Marijuana impairs a driver’s judgment, reaction time, motor co-ordination, and ability to make decisions,” Hargrave said Thursday.

“Respondents made it clear they felt drug use and driving should not mix. The information provided through the survey is valuable to assist us in developing a plan to meet public safety expectations.”

The survey says the government’s top priority should be keeping marijuana away from children and youth, including ensuring that pot retail stores are well away from schools or where young people frequent.

Almost 60 per cent of respondents believe there should be one set of rules for the province instead of allowing municipalities to pass more restrictive bylaws.

Two-thirds of respondents want to be able to buy pot either in a walk-in retail store or online.

Of the people who filled out the survey, 63 per cent were between the ages of 18 and 40.

NDP Opposition Leader Nicole Sarauer said the government should have more public consultations before releasing Saskatchewan’s marijuana strategy.

The federal government plans to legalize recreational marijuana in July.

Distracted driving technology pilots for British Columbians

Distracted driving technology pilots for British Columbians

With insurance rates in B.C. under escalating pressure, in part from the rapidly increasing number of crashes occurring on our roads, the provincial government, ICBC and police are launching two pilots to explore how technology can help combat distracted driving in our province.

Phone apps paired with telematics on B.C. roads

The first pilot – a partnership between government and ICBC – will include up to 200 customers using phone apps paired with telematics. Telematic technology involves fitting a vehicle with a small device that communicates with an app installed on the driver’s cellphone. The app works to block the use of a handheld device when the in-vehicle technology senses that the vehicle is being driven.

The combination of telematics with phone apps typically has allowed insurers to collect driving behaviour data, such as kilometres travelled and average speed. However for this pilot ICBC is interested in the user’s experience with telematics in their vehicle.  Findings from the pilots will be used to inform future decisions around distracted driving prevention and enforcement, as well as changes to improve the fairness of how insurance rates are set.

In the coming weeks ICBC will confirm two to three vendors whose technology will be used during the pilot, which is set to launch in January with results prepared in the spring of 2018. The technology to be used in the pilot was determined to be the most promising based on a review of submissions from a Request for Information ICBC issued in the spring.

For the pilot, ICBC will recruit volunteers from its customer advisory panel. Customers are encouraged to join ICBC’s customer advisory panel through icbc.com for an opportunity to participate in this pilot and future e-surveys to share opinions about ICBC products, services and policies. ICBC is looking for participants ages 19 years and up, from all across B.C.

Police test Bluetooth-enabled distracted driving scope

Government and ICBC will also be working in partnership with police to conduct an additional pilot to test a new distracted driving enforcement technology beginning in the spring of 2018. A Bluetooth-enabled scope will be the latest tool police will have on-hand to capture distracted driving. Units will be tested by police in varying weather and traffic conditions for usability and effectiveness. The scope will capture an image that can be instantly shared with other officers in the immediate area. That officer will then have the ability to show the image to the distracted driver.

These pilots are some of the many actions that government, ICBC and B.C. police are taking to reduce crashes caused by distracted driving.

Quotes:

David Eby, Minister responsible for ICBC and Attorney General

“Distracted driving is a high-risk behavior that jeopardizes the safety of drivers and pedestrians alike. These pilots are the first step in a thoughtful examination of the role technology can play in preventing distracted driving. I look forward to the results to help us better understand their potential to influence driver behaviour and inform changes so insurance rates are set fairly.”

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General

“Distracted driving is a serious high-risk behaviour, which is now responsible for more than 25 per cent of all car crash fatalities in our province. If new technology can help police and drivers alike put an end to distracted driving, then we’ll have helped to make roads safer in B.C.”

Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee

Distracted driving is the second leading cause of car crash fatalities in B.C. The safety of our communities is the highest priority for police and it is for this reason that we are taking the initiative to explore these new technologies. We will continue to work with our partners to look for ideas to assist in changing behaviours involving distracted driving.

Mark Blucher, ICBC’s president and CEO

“While we’re eager to find ways to reduce distracted driving through this pilot with our panel, you don’t have to be part of the pilot to make a difference now. You can do that every day by simply taking a break from your phone. Apps are already available, including the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature, on iPhones and some Android devices. ICBC’s rates are under considerable pressure and one of those reasons is a significant increase in crashes, many of which are the result of distracted driving.”

IBC congratulates Gov’t of Ontario for commitment to climate change adaptation & smart infrastructure planning

Today, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) welcomed the climate change provisions in the Government of Ontario’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan (LTIP). The Plan was presented by the Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Infrastructure.

“Climate change is already having a real and lasting impact on communities across the province,” said Kim Donaldson, Vice President, Ontario, IBC. “Severe weather events, like floods, wildfires and storms are happening with more frequency and with greater intensity. They damage homes, businesses and wreak havoc on critical infrastructure. Canada’s property and casualty insurers congratulate the Government of Ontario for including climate change mitigation, adaptation and life-cycle assessments as part of the province’s Long-Term Infrastructure Plan.”

The LTIP seeks to improve the planning processes associated with major capital infrastructure projects in Ontario. In addition to mitigation and adaptation, the LTIP will integrate life-cycle assessments as part of the planning, procurement, development and decision-making phases of infrastructure projects. The government highlighted the need for a provincial climate change risk assessment to help build a better understanding of the vulnerabilities facing communities, infrastructure and the economy. Canada’s property and casualty insurers have long called on governments to introduce mechanisms for better land-use planning and more resilient infrastructure investments to help mitigate the devastating effect that climate change can have on communities across the country.

“IBC has been advocating for a ‘whole of society’ approach to address the realities of our changing climate,” added Donaldson. “The LTIP climate provisions are a great example of how governments can take a lead role in helping to make our communities safer, stronger and more resilient. IBC supports these provisions and remains committed to continuing to work with governments, stakeholders, and industry partners to face the challenges posed by climate change.”

For more information on how to protect property against floods and other severe weather events, please visit IBC’s website.

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 120,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $52 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau 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.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

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