A nightmare on B.C. roads-crashes 25 per cent higher on Halloween

A nightmare on B.C. roads-crashes 25 per cent higher on Halloween

Halloween is meant to be a fun celebration, but it can also be risky if parents, children and drivers don’t take precautions. Compared to an average day, crashes spike by 25 per cent on Halloween with 330 people injured in 920 crashes across B.C.*

With Halloween celebrations starting this weekend, here are ICBC’s tips to keep ghosts and goblins of all ages safe:

Tips for drivers

  • Stay well below the speed limit: Drive well below the speed limit in residential areas, especially between 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., the peak time for trick-or-treating. A car going 30 km/hr travels 18 metres – about the length of four cars – in order to come to a complete stop. Driving at a lower speed will give you more time to stop in case a child runs across the street unexpectedly.

  • Scan as you drive: Children may be walking in unexpected places like driveways, alleys and parking lots. Drive slowly and be prepared to stop at a moment’s notice.

  • Don’t roll through stop signs or intersections: Come to a full stop at all intersections and look all around you. Even if you think you don’t see anyone, small children can be difficult to see, especially if they’re wearing a dark costume.

  • Do not pass a slow or stopped vehicle: Have patience on Halloween night. Many drivers will be driving slowly to watch out for trick-or-treaters. If a car is slowing down or stopped in front of you, don’t try to pass the car. They may be stopping to let children cross the road, or stopping for something else you cannot see.

  • Watch out for drunk drivers: Designated drivers for adult party-goers should be on high alert for things that go bump in the night – like drunk drivers. Telltale signs include weaving, sudden braking or acceleration, drifting out of their lane, and slow responses to traffic signals. If you suspect an impaired driver, keep a safe distance, and pull over to call 9-1-1 to report to police. Note the make, model, colour and license plate and give the exact location of the vehicle.

Tips to keep kids safe

  • Make sure the costume fits: A costume that’s too big or small could cause a child to trip and fall, causing injury.

  • Be bright to be seen: Many costumes are quite dark, making your child less visible at night. Try to nudge your child toward a lighter costume. If your child insists on being a ninja this year, add reflective tape to their outfit and treat bag, and make them use a flashlight or headlamp to help them stand out in the dark.

  • Create a safe route: If your kids are trick-or-treating without you, plan a safe route for your children and their friends. The best route should be familiar, well-established, direct and away from busy main roads. Set a return time.

  • Travel in groups: Organize a group to trick-or-treat together. Walking in a group will make you and your children more visible to drivers.

  • Follow the rules of the road: Always walk on sidewalks and cross only at crosswalks when travelling with your child. If there is no sidewalk, walk as far to the edge as possible, facing traffic. For older children that are trick-or-treating with friends, review the rules and remind them to work their way up one side of the street, instead of crossing back and forth.

  • Consider other ways to celebrate: Instead of traditional trick-or-treating, consider hosting a Halloween party for your child and their friends, attending a Halloween party if offered at local community centres, or taking your child to a local shopping centre that offers trick-or-treating opportunities in a well-lit, controlled environment.

Tips for adults to celebrate safely

  • Plan for a safe ride home: If your Halloween celebrations involve alcohol, make a plan before you head out. Arrange for a designated driver or use other options to get home safely—call a taxi, take transit or call a sober friend.

  • Light fireworks safely: In areas that allow the purchase of fireworks, light your fireworks in a clear, open and safe space. Lighting fireworks on the road is not safe for you or drivers.

Regional statistics*

  • On average, 240 people are injured in 620 crashes on Halloween in the Lower Mainland.

  • On average, 33 people are injured in 130 crashes on Halloween on Vancouver Island.

  • On average, 40 people are injured in 110 crashes on Halloween in the Southern Interior.

  • On average, 16 people are injured in 65 crashes on Halloween in the North Central region.

*Crashes and injuries are from ICBC data based on a five year average (2011 to 2015) on Halloween, the 24-hour period on October 31st of each year.

‘I’m just so furious’: Mother and son both fall victim to Equifax Canada hack

By Armina Ligaya


TORONTO _ Robin Harvey thought she was being financially prudent when she urged her son to sign up to monitor their credit files at Equifax Canada in 2013.

Her son was graduating from university at the time, and the former journalist pushed him to keep a close eye on his records while reactivating her account with the credit monitoring agency as well.

Unfortunately, that move likely exposed them to the very thing she was trying to avoid both received letters this week notifying them that their personal information, as well as account passwords and security answers, were exposed in the massive Equifax cyberhack reported last month.

“I’m just so furious, and I can’t believe it,” the Toronto woman said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

“I did something that I thought was helping him be a responsible, fiscal consumer… And it’s tragic that it turned out this way. It’s exactly the opposite of what I wanted.”

Harvey and her son are among the 8,000 Canadians whose personal data, and in some cases credit card details, was stolen by hackers in the massive Equifax data breach discovered on July 29.

Equifax Canada’s website says that it has concluded its investigation of the hack and has begun mailing notification letters to Canadians whose information has been exposed.

“Potentially impacted information may include names, addresses, gender, and social insurance numbers, as well as usernames, passwords, and secret question/secret answers, which Equifax believes are several years old and were login credentials for use of its direct-to-consumer website,” it reads.

Hackers were able to access or steal the personal data of roughly 145.5 million U.S. consumers, and nearly 400,000 Britons. Equifax Canada originally said the hack may have impacted as many as 100,000 Canadians, but later downgraded that figure to 8,000.

Canada’s privacy commissioner launched an investigation of Equifax breach on Sept. 15.

Both Harvey and her son who does not want to be named because he is paranoid about exposing more of his personal information received a six-page letter, in English and French, that was reviewed by The Canadian Press.

The letter details the data that was compromised, and extends an offer of 12-months free credit monitoring and identity theft protection. Harvey’s letter also noted that she had an Equifax account, which has now been locked for her protection.

“Equifax has been a key player in the protection of privacy for decades,” reads the first line of Harvey’s letter. “Unfortunately, earlier this year, our U.S. parent company discovered that criminals exploited a vulnerability with its U.S. online dispute portal web application.”

The cyberattack occurred through a vulnerability in an open-source application framework it uses called Apache Struts. This vulnerability was detected and disclosed in March by the United States Computer Readiness Team. Equifax has said that it “took efforts to identify and to patch any vulnerable systems in the company’s IT infrastructure.”

The fact that this threat was known months before the Equifax hack was discovered strikes a nerve with Harvey.

She points out that consumers have no choice but to have a credit report and in turn share their personal data with various institutions  in order to do things like take out loans, rent apartments, or get a mortgage.

“You have to engage in this process where they get all this data,” Harvey said. “They insist on having all this data about you, and then they don’t secure it? That’s the outrage.”

She already had her credit card information compromised once before, back in 2006. A man booked himself on a return flight from Montreal to Latin America in her name and she said she was told her information was likely stolen from the online travel agency she used.

Visa caught the double-booking and cancelled her card, Harvey added.

A year’s worth of Equifax’s credit monitoring and identity theft protection is not enough to assuage her fears that someone will take her personal information and wreak havoc, and she will be worrying about this for years, Harvey said. Beyond key information such as her social insurance number, the secret security questions and answers also pose a risk as these are commonly used among many sites, she added.

Experts say that cyberattackers tend to either use illicitly obtained personal data immediately, or wait more than a year until scrutiny dies down to take action.

“I’m very much of the mindset that at some point I’m going to have to deal with some kind of identity theft and security inconvenience because of it,” said Harvey’s son, a Toronto-based artist.

Both Harvey and her son say they are wary of signing up for Equifax Canada’s identity theft protection and credit monitoring service.

“It’s very audacious for them to suggest signing up for a program,” he said.

Harvey wants to ensure that accepting Equifax’s offer does not preclude her from taking legal action, such as a joining one of the class action lawsuits that have been started on behalf of Canadians who may have been affected by the hack.

“The only way to make large corporations that are lax pay attention is to do something like that and cost them money.”

I Want My Car Simple Again

Today’s high tech cars have centre console mounted displays that allow anyone (including the driver) to play around with while in motion; should be against the law. Some cars even need to have the driver touch a screen to change the radio volume or station; a dangerous practice. Older car radios you can FEEL the knobs without taking your eyes off the road. I think vehicles are going the wrong direction these days with their gadgetry.

This opinion was delivered to the DriveSmartBC Inbox last week along with a wish that I would write about it so that other drivers might learn the risks. Even though in car systems are legal, they do present a significant risk for distracted driving. Manufacturers are quite happy to provide the things that we want in our vehicles even when they have not evaluated risk, or worse yet, know of the risk but choose to provide them anyway.

Probably the worst outcome from distracted driving that I was called on to investigate was a fatality where a driver was parked on the side of the highway, well to the right of the single solid white line. I’m guessing that he had stopped to have a bite to eat and enjoy the view from what I discovered inside the passenger compartment. An passing vehicle’s front seat passenger had been having difficulty inserting a CD into the stereo, so the driver intervened to help. The vehicle drifted to the right, which was the direction the driver was looking in, and collided with the parked car.

The driver in the parked car did not survive the collision.

Inserting a CD into a slot in the dash is not a complicated task, but as the e-mail writer observes, using a touch screen or finding the controls on some modern vehicles can tie up your attention for a significant period of time. At 120 km/h on our freeways, one second translates into just over 33 meters of travel. A lot can happen in a couple of seconds.

As part of its Center for Driving Safety and Technology, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety commissioned the University of Utah to carry out research to address three important questions:

  1. Which task is the most demanding to complete while driving: calling/dialing, sending a text message, tuning the radio or programming navigation?
  2. What level of demand is associated with completing these tasks using voice commands, touchscreens or other interactive technologies (e.g., buttons, rotary dial, writing pad)?
  3. How does demand from these interactions vary across the infotainment systems found in different vehicle makes and models?

The findings are probably not a surprise for you:

  1. Overall, navigation was found to be the most demanding task.
  2. All tasks were associated with higher levels of cognitive demand.
  3. Of 30 vehicles tested 23 vehicles generated high or very high levels of overall demand on drivers. None of them yielded low overall demand.

The most important piece of information to take away from this is that motorists should remember that just because technologies come installed in a vehicle does not mean automaker testing has proven they are safe to use while driving.


What investors should look for to spot fraudsters before it’s too late

By David Paddon


TORONTO _ When former financial planner Daniel P. Reeve was convicted this month of defrauding 41 investors out of about $10 million, it was a bitter lesson.

As with many financial frauds, the victims didn’t see it coming, and there’s little to no chance they will recover their money.

At the outset, Reeve sold legitimate products such as mutual funds and insurance. However, unbeknownst to clients, in 2007 he lost his insurance license and by 2008 he was no longer presenting himself as a financial planner, although people at his offices did have official designations.

Impressed by past performance, clients stuck by him.

In the meantime, Reeve begain directing investors to other investments, such as restaurants and hotels that he was developing, often promising little or no risk, despite the shakiness of his failing ventures.

“Yet, Daniel (Reeve) continued to flog his investments in the summer and fall of 2008 either knowing that the investors would never get their money, or not caring whether they would,” Justice Toni Skarica wrote in an Oct. 13 ruling.

Reeve pleaded not guilty to the charges of fraud and theft against him, but the judge did not believe his testimony and convicted him.

“This had a devastating impact on the victims,” says Crown prosecutor Fraser McCracken, who presented the case against Reeve through a trial in Kitchener, Ont., that spanned 18 months.

“That’s why we remind people to take steps to avoid fraud in the first place,” says Tyler Fleming, director of the Ontario Securities Commission’s Investor Office.

Fraud which depends on deceiving the victim comes in many forms and can be difficult to detect.

“The unfortunate reality is that the bad guys are always thinking up new ways to separate you and your money,” Fleming says.

But he says there are several warning signs that should raise red flags for investors:

_ Promises of big returns for little or no risk. (Generally low-risk investments have low potential returns.)

_ Advice based on “hot tips” and “insider
information.”(They’re usually false and potentially against the law
to act upon.)

_ Pressure to buy or decide quickly. (Haste is usually not in the investor’s best interest.)

_ Lack of registration with a provincial securities commission or other financial service regulator.

McCracken says the victims represented a cross-section of people with varying levels of education, investor sophistication and occupation.

Among the dozens of people who trusted Reeve’s record as a money-maker were:

_ A retired teacher who attended one of his investment presentations in early 2007. She and her husband wanted safe investments but lost at least $250,000.

_ The owner of an international trucking firm, who had been advised by Reeve since 1993 with good results until things began to unravel. He lost $683,000 in principal plus unpaid interest.

_ A nurse who asked in 2007 for safe investments, shortly before her husband died of pancreatic cancer. She lost $775,000.

Andrew Kriegler, CEO of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada, stresses investors should always ask advisors who they are regulated by , and what their disciplinary history is.

He acknowledges that it’s not always clear where to look, but insists it’s always worth the time and effort..

“If it’s under our jurisdiction, then we can look into it. If it’s under somebody else’s jurisdiction, we will send that person to the right place,” Kriegler says.

IIROC operates two call centres in Toronto and Vancouver that take questions from the public.

The provincial commissions have a national registration search
for individual advisers and investment firms at

Lisa Okill managed Sears Canada locations in Ontario for more than 2 decades

Read more

NHL’s Evander Kane wins case in Victoria for insurance payout


Evander Kane, who plays for the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres, has won a court case in Victoria requiring his insurance company to pay the cost of his defence against a claim of battery in New York state.

At issue was whether Kane’s insurer, Co-operators General Insurance Company, was obliged to defend the lawsuit filed against Kane on July 1, 2016, in New York State, said B.C. Supreme Court Justice Shelley Fitzpatrick.

Co-operators is obliged to pay defence costs, Fitzpatrick ruled in a Sept. 27 decision.

As well, “Mr. Kane is permitted to conduct the defence of the action with legal counsel of his choosing; Co-operators is responsible for paying all fees of such counsel to date and in the future…”

The insurance company is required to pay the hourly rate normally charged by Kane’s lawyer, the decision said.

Leonard Sharman, Co-operators spokesman, said in a Saturday email: “ At this point, we are considering our options and are not in a position to comment further.”

The insurance-coverage hearing took place in August in the Supreme Court of B.C. at the Victoria courthouse. It was not clear why the matter was dealt with in Victoria.

Co-operators insured Kane under a standard printed home insurance policy form. It included the usual dwelling and personal property coverage. It also includes liability coverage, which was the focus of the dispute about coverage, the decision stated.

Evander Kane is listed as the owner of two properties in Vancouver, according to B.C. government records.

Rachel Kuechle filed a complaint in July 2016 against Kane in New York State Supreme Court in the county of Erie, the decision said. Kuechle alleged that in late December 201,5 Kane invited her to his hotel room for what he called a party.

Kuechle alleges Kane inflicted physical battery, the document states.

In a 2016 Associated Press story, Kane’s lawyer in New York, Paul Cambria, was quoted as saying the allegations were “extremely exaggerated” and his client “denies strenuously any wrongdoing.”

Cambria said in a Monday email: “We have nothing to offer.” A Vancouver lawyer represented Kane in the insurance matter.

Cambria’s website states he is one of the nation’s pre-eminent attorneys. His focus includes criminal trials, constitutional law, and First Amendment law.

Source: Victoria Times Colonist

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