DYK: Nearly half of Canadian drivers think vehicle safety technology poses a risk to road safety

DYK: Nearly half of Canadian drivers think vehicle safety technology poses a risk to road safety

Over-reliance on technology and lack of education cited as main factors

Toronto, ON, November 27, 2019 – Your vehicle brakes automatically to avoid a collision. It beeps to warn you if there is a car in your blind spot. The steering wheel vibrates if you unintentionally drift out of your lane or start crossing lanes without signalling. A light flashes to warn you of a risk of a frontal collision. These features are all designed to make driving safer, but nearly half of Canadian drivers also think they pose a risk to road safety, according to a recent survey released by Desjardins Insurance.Increasingly, vehicles on our roads are equipped with highly sophisticated safety features to prevent crashes or warn drivers of unsafe conditions. While a majority of drivers agree that these safety features are needed to make our roads safer (51%), the survey data suggests more needs to be done to ensure drivers not only understand what these features are meant to do, but also what they don’t guard against.

“While studies clearly show that crash avoidance and other safety systems in newer cars are reducing collisions and saving lives, the survey’s findings are enough to give us pause. They are an important reminder that no matter how sophisticated the safety systems, the driver’s vigilance and attention are essential to ensure safe driving, both for the people in the vehicle and those who share the road with motorists,” said Alain Hade, Vice-President, Marketing and Member Client Experience at Desjardins Insurance.

Among the survey’s highlights, it was found that:
  • 48% of drivers think vehicle safety technologies pose a risk to road safety
  • 46% of drivers think Canadian drivers are over-reliant on vehicle safety technologies
  • 80% think there should be more education on how to use safety features in vehicles
  • 63% of Canadians, drivers or not, feel advanced safety technology can contribute to distraction among drivers
However, the survey did reveal some positive points, including:
  • 52% of drivers believe vehicle safety features help reduce the number of collisions
  • 51% of drivers feel vehicle safety features are needed to keep our roads safer

“It’s important that driver knowledge of safety features and confidence in them is on the rise, particularly as they are exposed to features that are increasingly standard on new vehicles,” said Robyn Robertson, President and CEO of the Traffic Injury Research Foundation. “Caution is warranted in the promotion of safety features and their benefits to ensure Canadians understand the functionality and limitations of them, and to discourage drivers from relying on them in situations for which they were not designed.”

Are we ready for autonomous vehicles?
With most car manufacturers expected to unveil semi- or fully autonomous vehicles in the not-too-distant future, it is clear Canadians are somewhat reluctant to fully embrace the technology. According to survey results, less than a third of Canadians who expressed an opinion on that matter (28%) say they would trust being driven in a fully autonomous vehicle.

“These results lead us to believe that people experienced with the technology have confidence in vehicle safety systems, but not blindly,” added Hade. “Drivers need to be well informed about the car they’re driving before getting behind the wheel. This means knowing what the features and technology can and cannot do. Safety technologies are important to prevent injuries and fatalities, but they also have limitations.”

Impact on insurance
Half (52%) believe the safety systems help reduce the number of crashes; however, they rely on costly electronic components and sensors that also have a direct impact on the cost of repairing a vehicle. Between 2009 and 2016, the average cost of a two-vehicle collision (at-fault and not-at-fault) jumped 30%.

Non Disclosed Defence Report Thwarts Request for Second Independent Medical Examination

The guest post was written by ERIK MAGRAKEN

Reasons for judgement were recently given by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, dismissing a defence request for an independent medical examination of a Plaintiff where the Plaintiff already saw an expert of the Defendants choosing but the Defendants have yet to produce a report from that expert.

In the recent case (Khan v. Cabrera) the Plaintiff was involved in a collision and sued for damages.   In the course of the litigation the Plaintiff consented to be explained by a neurologist of the Defendant’s choosing and “that report has not yet been disclosed by the defence to the plaintiff“.

The Defendant requested that the Plaintiff also be assessed by an orthopaedic surgeon arguing that such an exam is necessary to provide an opinion about a pre-accident orthopaedic injury the plaintiff had sustained and also to address collision related injuries.

The Court dismissed the application in large part because it was unclear what opinion the Defendants would already have the benefit of from the first appointment.  In short the litigation ‘playing field’ may already be even.  In dismissing the application Master Keighley provided the following reasons:

[14] Now, as I have indicated, the report of the neurologist prepared at the behest of the defence has not yet been disclosed. I am of course aware of the decision of the Court of Appeal in Tran v. Abbott, 2018 BCCA 365, and that case is helpful in emphasizing the central purpose of the rule, which is to place the parties as close as possible to an equal position with respect to medical evidence to be produced at trial. The case is important, to my mind, in making it clear that there is no longer a requirement to show special circumstances to justify the commissioning of a second report.

[15] The Court has to be satisfied, however, that there is evidence to suggest that the preparation of a further report is necessary to achieve that equality. There are a number of ways in which that evidence might be adduced. Sometimes the applicant may refer to a medical report produced by, in these circumstances, the plaintiff indicating that the party, for example, preparing the report lacked the expertise to deal with a particular issue and suggests that a reference be made to another specialist to resolve that aspect of the plaintiff’s condition.

[16] Sometimes the court has before it an affidavit from a specialist with whom the appointment is sought indicating that an examination is necessary to deal with issues within that expert’s expertise. I do not have either of those here. As was the case with my colleague Master Muir in Gray-Verboonen v. Mandurah, 2019 BCSC 1697, this is, as she noted in the case before her, one of those cases where the defence has the benefit of a recent assessment of the plaintiff but neither the plaintiff nor the Court has the benefit of such.

[17] I am simply not satisfied in this case on the basis of the evidence before me that a referral to an orthopedic surgeon is necessary to achieve the desired equality between the parties. It may well be that (although I appreciate the timeline is now somewhat shortened, not only with respect to the 84-day deadline but also the January trial), if the defence instructions change and the neurologist’s report is produced before the deadline, it may indicates that perhaps with other evidence that a referral should be made. But I am not satisfied on the basis of the evidence before me today that the applications should succeed. The relief sought in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Notice of Application is, accordingly, dismissed.

To my knowledge, this judgement is not reported but as always I am happy to share a copy with anyone that contacts me and requests the reasons.

bc injury law, Defence Medical Exam, independent medical exam, Khan v. Cabrera, Master Keighley, multiple defence medical exams

Insurance offered in Elliot Lake for water-sewer problems

The excerpted article was written by Brent Sleightholm | Elliot Lake Today

For the second year running, the City of Elliot Lake has offered residents a way to be insured against water and sewer issues.

“The City of Elliot Lake has partnered with Service Line Warranties of Canada (SLWC) to offer protection to city homeowners with Service Line Warranties of Canada to offer protection to city homeowners for the water and sewer service lines that connect their homes to the city’s systems,” Elliot Lake CAO Daniel Gagnon, explained in an email.

“The coverage is voluntary and available at affordable monthly prices. Since 2015, SLWC has partnered with over 50 leading cities in Ontario to provide repair service plans that offer homeowners peace of mind and convenience,” said Gagnon.

“Many homeowners do not know that damage to the service lines on their property is their responsibility to repair. In the event of a service line repair emergency, the homeowner is responsible for scheduling the repair and covering the associated cost. The SLWC Service Line Warranty Program protects against repairs needed to pipes on homeowners’ property,” Gagnon added. “Repairs to these pipes are not often covered by basic homeowners insurance. If a customer’s service line is in need of repair, a simple call to the SLWC 24-hour hotline will dispatch a local, licensed contractor familiar with local code. There are no service fees or deductibles.”

“A recent mail-out was done by SLWC to homeowners in Elliot Lake and is completely voluntary. The city is not delivering the service but is simply facilitating the offer,” Gagnon concluded.

Workplace Safety and Insurance Board

MARSHA MOWERS | Travel Pulse Canada

Manulife held their annual partner appreciation event in Toronto last week, where attendees gathered to hear from Millennial expert and marketing research leader Dave Coletto, CEO of research firm Abacus who delivered strategic advice to many of Canada’s top companies.

“Tonight is a reflection of getting our great partners into the room to celebrate the year, but it’s also an educational opportunity where we bring in a guest speaker that really addresses the issues and trends in the market place that everyone as a business owner wants to be made aware of,” Rob Lafrate VP, Client Relationships and Business Development told TravelPulse Canada.

We’re here to recognize our top customers, to thank them it’s our client appreciation day,” said AVP & GM Travel Insurance Jacques Gilbert.

“It’s a way for us to thank them for business over the year, timing before holidays, it’s always a lot of fun. It’s to make it more than just about having a cocktail with us.”

Manulife is launching a number of programs this coming year, include the re-launch of their popular protection plan.

WSIB Rate Framework: Gearing Up For 2020

Article by Jerry Cukier

Effective January 1, 2020, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (the “WSIB”) is changing the way premium rates are set for over 300,000 Ontario businesses covered by its workplace injury and illness insurance.

The new model will change the way businesses are classified, boosting fairness and increasing transparency as to how premium rates are set and adjusted.

The WSIB’s new model will use a two-step approach to set and adjust premium rates for businesses:

  1. Set an average rate for each industry class based on their risk profile and share of responsibility to maintain the insurance fund.
  2. Examine how a company’s individual claim history compares to the rest of the businesses in its class. This means that businesses’ overall rates under the new model will reflect their individual claims experience and risk.

The WSIB will be using insurable earnings, claims costs and the number of allowed claims, over a six-year period to set premium rates. For new businesses with less than one year of experience, premium rate will be the class rate.

The WSIB is offering monthly webinars to ensure Ontario businesses are prepared for the New Rate Framework. More detailed information on these changes can be found on the WSIB website.

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.

Planning a holiday party? Here are some simple tips to protect yourself from liability this season

Planning a holiday party? Here are some simple tips to protect yourself from liability this season

Guelph Today

Whether you’re entertaining guests at home or at an off-site venue, make sure safety is part of your planning process.

The holiday season is synonymous with socializing and celebrations. If you’re hosting a party of any size, taking the right steps to ensure your safety and the safety of your guests is an important step in the planning process.

Here are some simple tips to protect yourself from liability at your next holiday party.

Prevent slip and falls

When you throw a party at your home, you’re responsible for the safety and well-being of your guests. This means providing a standard of care in keeping your property free from hazards.

During your event, ensure that all sidewalks, walkways and steps are clear of ice and snow and that there is adequate lighting to allow guests to safely enter and exit your home. Indoors, keep hard floor surfaces free from any moisture that could potentially cause a slip and fall.

Think of the children

Family-friendly parties or events present a set of hazards for children that can often be overlooked. As a host, eliminate any child-specific dangers like choking hazards, access to medications or toxic cleaning products, and sources of open flames like fireplaces or candles.

Keep the drinking in check

Many of us enjoy a holiday cocktail or two, but safety and moderation are key. As host, you are responsible for making sure your guests enjoy responsibly. If someone leaves your party, drives drunk and causes injury or death, you could be found liable. Limiting guest’s alcohol consumption, providing a place to stay, and actively preventing drinking and driving are all good practices as host.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada offers several tips for managing liquor liability risks including hiring professionals who are trained in the proper service of alcohol, making sure there are food options and a variety of non-alcoholic beverages available, and having cash or vouchers on hand for cabs.

Understand your existing insurance policy

Before hosting an event, make sure to contact your insurance provider and ask them to review your homeowner’s insurance policy with you. will be able to confirm what you’re currently covered for, such as slip and fall, and advise you on what other extra, short-term policies you may want to add for your holiday event.

Hosting a party at an off-site venue? Consider this.

Anytime you rent a venue, you are responsible for the premises being left undamaged. This is especially important for business owners as they are responsible for their employees’ safety and actions during their event. While there is always a risk of some damage occurring, especially when there are a large number of guests and alcohol is present, there are things you can do to ensure you do not incur the liability.

A smart option is to bring your rental contract to your insurance provider and figure out what additional short-term policies you need that will offer the best protection. They may ask you to consider event insurance, holiday party liability insurance or injury liability insurance. You need to be clear on what coverage you have and what you need ahead of time to prevent being involved in a potential lawsuit.

Certain liabilities can be avoided with the right preparation. To speak to someone about the best ways to protect yourself and your guests at your next holiday party, click here.

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