New Uber feature to force drivers to take a break after 12 straight hours

By Tara Deschamps

THE CANADIAN PRESS

TORONTO _ Uber drivers in Canada trying to work for more than 12 hours straight will soon be forced to take a six-hour break before they can hit the road again.

The new policy being rolled out at the beginning of next week will be enforced through the company’s ride-hailing app, which will block drivers from accepting customers after a half a day of consecutive work.

Uber Canada’s general manager Rob Khazzam said the introduction of the feature follows similar moves made by the company in other countries, as part of an effort to curb driver drowsiness and make the platform safer.

According to research conducted by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, 26 per cent of all fatal and injury crashes are attributed to driver fatigue, and in 2006, as many as 167,000 Ontario drivers were involved in at least one crash due to fatigue or drowsiness.

Similarly, an Insurance Corporation of British Columbia survey from 2014 found 30 per cent of respondents admitting to nodding off behind the wheel.

Khazzam called Uber’s new feature “common sense.”

“If you’re a rider, you don’t want to get into a car with a driver who has been driving more then 12 hours,” he said. “But positively on the drivers’ side, we continue to give them flexibility.”

The feature does constitute a notable shift for Uber, which has long touted a hands-off approach with its employees, leaving work hours and locations up to the drivers to choose.

But Khazzam said most Uber drivers won’t even encounter a block on accepting rides because the “vast majority” are behind the wheel for fewer than 15 hours a week.

The forthcoming feature will allow drivers to check how much time they have before a mandatory break and will notify them when they have two hours, one hour and 30 minutes before they’ll have to rest.

The app will not count periods when a driver is parked for more than one minute between trips and doesn’t account for drivers who may also be working for a competitor like Lyft.

Uber first experimented with stopping drivers from accepting fares after multiple consecutive hours in a handful of U.S. cities and Australia last fall. In January, it brought the feature to the U.K. and launched it nationally in the U.S. earlier this month.

It comes on top of a separate 2017 initiative from the company that gave drivers access to data about their speeding and braking habits, in hopes of boosting safety.

Though he couldn’t talk about any further safety features or policy changes that might be in the works, Khazzam said that “people should expect more from us on this front.”

TIRF: Cannabis-impaired driving has become a top road safety concern

From the President:

Cannabis-impaired driving has become a top road safety concern amidst discussion about the proposed legalization of marijuana in Canada. Data sources that provide insight into the magnitude and characteristics of this problem are essential to inform discussion and shape legislation, policy and programs to address it.

The presence of drugs among drivers killed in road crashes is one important indicator of the problem. According to TIRF’s National Fatality Database, in 2013, almost 50% of fatally injured drivers that tested positive for drugs had used cannabis, and almost two-thirds of them were aged 35 and younger. Although positive tests do not necessarily indicate impairment, the prevalence of drugs in drivers killed in road crashes certainly warrants concern.

Data regarding the attitudes and self-reported behaviours of Canadian drivers also provide an important window on the problem. The Road Safety Monitor annual public opinion poll series has explored this topic for the past several years. These data revealed an increase in self-reported driving within two hours of using marijuana from 1.6% in 2013 to 2.6% in 2015, which represents an increase of 62.5%. While data from 2016 showed a small decline to 2.3%, preliminary data for 2017 suggest this percentage has increased above 2015 levels.

Collectively, these data underscore that there is much work needed to reduce this problem. The good news is that road safety organizations across the country are working to put in place public education about the impairing effects of marijuana on driving. However, much more work is needed to ensure that education is backed up by strong enforcement and proven tools to manage drug-impaired drivers.

Learn more about drug-impaired driving at www.druggeddriving.tirf.ca and recent TIRF reports available at www.tirf.ca.

Robyn Robertson
TIRF President & CEO

Woman angry she became face of Twitter bot fraud

Global News

Meet Cheryl Montgomery.

Her Twitter profile shows her as hailing from Marlton, N.J., and she tweets a great deal about U.S. politics.

Her profile picture looks a lot like Catherine Simpson, a Vancouver-based public relations professional.

That’s because Cheryl Montgomery is a Twitter bot created by someone who stole Simpson’s photo from an online news article and used it as a profile photo.

“I said, ‘No way,’” Simpson said. “I’m typing it in and there’s my picture.”

Carr told Global News he is investigating “the use of automated social media accounts in spreading political messages in the U.S.”

He said it’s remarkably easy to create a Twitter bot.

“You can go online and Google how to make a bot and have one online in two hours,” Carr said.

This particular bot seems to be in favour of former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton and opposed to U.S. President Donald Trump.

The tweets from Cheryl Montgomery were relatively tame, but social media expert Jesse Miller said bots with more radical messaging can cause problems for the real people used in Twitter profile photos.

“People have believed the individual was the one behind the keyboard and they’ve actively looked to find the person and unfortunately that internet vigilante justice piece kind of rears its ugly head,” he said.

Simpson noted that if the bot “was retweeting on Canadian politics or local politics I would’ve been much more concerned.”

She said she has contacted Twitter in the hopes of having the account suspended.

Twitter said it recently suspended 1,062 automated accounts linked to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a Russian “troll farm” that systematically disseminated content designed to influence public opinion during the U.S. presidential election.

A recent New York Times report exposed how some public figures have paid for bots to follow them on social media.

“I sent them my drivers licence,” Simpson said. “I’ve sent them all sorts of information but I’m not really having any luck with them.”

Experts say it’s important to flag such bots to Twitter, even if the process is frustrating. It’s also important to be selective about who can see your pictures online.

If not, your favourite shot might be the new face for a Twitter bot.

Alaska quake shows complexity of tsunami warnings

By John Antczak

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES _ The powerful earthquake that struck beneath the Gulf of Alaska early Tuesday generated a tsunami, but before gauges could show that it was very small, warnings went out to a vast swath of the state and British Columbia, while a lower-level alert targeted the rest of the West Coast.

The magnitude-7.9 earthquake set in motion complex analysis that eventually downgraded and called off all alerts in less than four hours, but the protocol for the initial warnings only considered magnitude and location, said David Hale, a lead decision maker at the National Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska.

“We don’t have the luxury of time to be able to gather the data necessary to determine whether there is or is not a wave,” Hale said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

In deep water, a tsunami can travel at speeds in excess of 500 mph (805 kph), meaning residents of nearby coasts need to move immediately toward high ground or tall buildings.

The quake struck at 12:32 a.m. and was centred about 175 miles (280 kilometres) southeast of the city of Kodiak. It was given a preliminary magnitude of 8.0, upgraded briefly to 8.2 and then lowered to 7.9.

In the meantime, protocol tied to the initial magnitude and its location relatively near the coast required a  ‘local” tsunami warning, encompassing the vast span from Attu Island in the westernmost Aleutian Islands to the border between British Columbia and Washington state.

The rest of the U.S. West Coast south to the California-Mexico border was put on a watch, indicating  “something has occurred in the area that could have impacts at some point” and the need to pay attention to announcements, Hale said.

An earthquake generates a tsunami by forcing ocean water upward as one side of a fault rupture goes up and the other side goes down. But how the quake happens makes a difference. An undersea quake on a so-called thrust fault lifts a great deal of land and therefore more water. Another kind of fault, called a strike-slip, moves horizontally to the sea floor and pushes up less water.

After the initial alerts went out, the National Tsunami Warning Center turned to using models and looking at tide gauges in the area, Hale said.

Within 20 or 30 minutes, it was almost certain the quake occurred on a strike-slip fault that moves less water. After about 40 minutes, gauges showed that a tsunami had been generated, and officials compared data about the extent of the wave with the models.

Three tsunami-detection buoys in the area also detected the wave and showed it was small.

“At that point, we began whittling down the areas that are actually placed in alerts,” Hale said.

At 3:12 a.m., the centre issued its fifth message, confirming a tsunami, cancelling warnings and watches but leaving south Alaska and the Alaska peninsula under a low-level advisory to expect some effects.

The centrecancelled that advisory an hour later and reported the maximum tsunami height was 0.7 of a foot (0.21 of a meter) at Old Harbor, Alaska.

Stop the presses! Icy roads don’t cause crashes; shitty drivers do

HERGOTT LAW – Icy Roads Don’t Cause Crashes

Hergott Law logoPaul Hergott is a personal injury lawyer that practices in Kelowna are regularly writes on road safety. One of his latest articles compares the newspaper headline “Dangerously icy roads lead to crashes” with “Deep water leads to drowning.” His position is that we need to grumble and complain about drivers who fail to use good winter tires and who overdrive the conditions. Not about the naturally occurring ice and snow.

I cringe every time I see these “fake news” headlines which all news media seem to be guilty of:

  • “Dangerously icy roads lead to crashes” (CBC – Nov. 15, 2017);
  • “Icy conditions causing havoc on Kelowna area roads” (Capital News – Dec. 3, 2017);
  •  “Icy road leads to crash” (Castanet – Nov. 4, 2017)

Do you ever see these analogous headlines:

  • “Deep water leads to drowning”;
  • “Watery depths cause havoc on the beach”; or
  • “Sunny weather leads to drowning death”?

Don’t they sound nonsensical!

Read Full Article Here: 

Source: DriveSmartBC

 

Stay clear and stay safe while celebrating the holidays

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