Important information for ICBC customers affected by B.C.’s wildfires

With the province under a state of emergency due to the hundreds of wildfires in progress throughout B.C., ICBC is advising customers to protect their vehicles and important documents and to avoid driving near impacted areas.

For customers on evacuation alert:

  • Pack all essential ID and documents in preparation for an evacuation. These documents include your B.C. driver’s licence, B.C. identification card, B.C. Services Card, passport, original birth certificate, marriage certificate and Canadian citizenship documentation. It’s also a good idea to have a copy of your vehicle registration and Autoplan insurance policy.

  • Customers may purchase a temporary operating permit to move an uninsured vehicle to safety.

  • It’s not possible to purchase comprehensive or specified perils insurance coverage once you have been put on evacuation alert. However, once out of the evacuation zone, comprehensive or specified perils may be purchased for your vehicle.

For customers with claims:

  • Customers with insurance claims related to a fire will be dealt with on a priority basis. To make a claim, you can file online at icbc.com or call ICBC’s Dial-a-Claim at 1-800-910-4222, which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

ICBC closures:

  • For updated service information, visit ICBC’s locator or call before visiting.

Vehicle coverage:

  • ICBC customers who have purchased a storage policy or comprehensive or specified perils coverage from ICBC, can be rest assured that their vehicles will be covered in the event of damage from a fire.

  • If you and your vehicle are not affected by an evacuation alert or evacuation order, you can purchase ICBC insurance without any fire-related restrictions. Comprehensive or specified perils insurance coverage is recommended.

  • Do not store valuables in your vehicle as these items are not covered by vehicle insurance.

For all other customers:

  • Autoplan brokers outside the evacuated areas remain open for business to support customers through these tough times.

  • ICBC’s customer service contact centre is available to answer questions at 1-800-663-3051.

  • Customers are reminded that if their insurance is about to expire, they can renew their policies up to a month before the expiration date.

Driving tips:

  • Avoid driving near affected regions. Forest fires can spread quickly. If a road is marked closed, do not continue. Back up and use another route.

  • For evacuation alerts and orders, check Emergency Info B.C.’s website. For road conditions, visit at DriveBC.ca

One in Five Fatal Ontario Road Crashes Involves a Transport Truck

Source: Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)

Operation Corridor Targeting Commercial Transport Trucks

Transport truck-related collisions continue to take a significant toll on human life on Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)-patrolled roads, with one in five road crashes involving large commercial vehicles.

The OPP is launching its annual Operation Corridor campaign to shed more light on the prevalence of transport trucks and their impact on other road users.

Among the 1,342 fatal motor vehicle collisions on OPP-patrolled roads between 2012 and 2016, 266 involved transport trucks. During the same five-year period, 330 people died — the majority of victims were occupants of other involved vehicles.  According to OPP data, 44 of the crash victims were drivers of the transport trucks, compared to 286 victims who were in cars and other smaller vehicles.

More recent data reveals that over the past three years, a significant number of collisions were caused by transport trucks in poor operating condition.  Between July 2014 and June 2017, 344 collisions involved defective transport trucks, 6 (six) of which were fatal and 37 of which resulted in injuries.

Damaged axles, blown tires or detached wheels, faulty brakes, defective hitches and unsecured loads are just some of the many factors in truck-related crashes. At times, unsecured loads or truck equipment flying into the path of other vehicles produced tragic consequences.

While the OPP sees many safe transport truck drivers on Ontario roads, those who are not safe have far greater potential to cause death in the event of a collision than drivers of smaller vehicles.  Serious crashes often result in hours-long highway closures and traffic delays as police carry out collision investigations and clear these large vehicles from the road.

This year’s Operation Corridor campaign runs from June 15 to June 16, 2017.

QUOTE

“A lot can go wrong when large commercial transport trucks are not driven safely or have unsecure loads and defective equipment. Our data shows that the outcome for other vehicle occupants involved in transport truck-related collisions is often fatal and catastrophic. For this reason, Operation Corridor is an important campaign to ensure transport truck drivers are safely operating and diligently maintaining their rigs at all times”.
– OPP Chief Superintendent Chuck Cox, Divisional Commander, Highway Safety Division.

SOURCE Ontario Provincial Police

For further information: Contacts by Region: Highway Safety Division: Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, Phone: (416) 460-4701; Central Region: A/Sgt. Mark Kinney, Phone: (705) 330-3738; East Region: A/Sgt. Angie Atkinson, Phone: (613) 285-2750; Northwest Region: Sgt. Shelley Garr, Phone: (807) 473-2734; North East Region: Sgt. Carolle Dionne, Phone: (705) 498-1201; West Region: Sgt. Dave Rektor, Phone: (519) 652-4156

The Ultimate Selfish Driving Act

While out for a walk the other afternoon I approached a driver who had stopped in his lane, in a corner, to talk to a couple of pedestrians on the other side of the road. Normally, this is a relatively quiet street but the driver is still making a poor choice. His action was unsafe due to poor sight lines for approaching drivers.

Sure enough, another vehicle approached from behind and was prevented from passing because the pedestrians had moved into the other lane to conduct their conversation more comfortably.

At this point most drivers would conclude the conversation and move on, or at least move to the right side of the road.

Not this driver. He pulled into the oncoming lane at a forty-five degree angle and continued with the chat!

As it happened, I was also walking by a driver waiting beside his parked dump truck and watching this situation too. I shook my head and mentioned to him that there were sure a lot of inconsiderate drivers to be found on our highways these days.

I had definitely touched a raw nerve here as the driver began to tell me all about the dangerous driving situations that he is put into by the drivers of light vehicles every day.

Chief among his worries were those who changed lanes in front of his truck and failed to leave a safe margin for following distance. Worse still, some of these drivers will apply their brakes and slow down for a right turn immediately after moving over. No sense anticipating that turn and falling in behind the truck to safely prepare for it, is there?

Remember the two second rule? It not only applies to vehicles that you are following, it applies to vehicles that are behind you as well. Always leave yourself an out.

Why might this be important? A loaded heavy truck with a properly functioning braking system may have as little as half of the braking capacity of a car or light truck. These drivers may have put our trucker into a situation where he cannot slow or stop in time to avoid a collision.

I suggested that if there was nowhere safe to steer around the offending vehicle the truck driver might be faced with the decision to not to avoid the collision. No, he said, you would likely brake and finding that you could not stop in time automatically steer to avoid the crash.

Now there is little or no risk for our unthinking motorist and most or all of the risk settling onto the shoulders of our truck driver. This could be the ultimate selfish driving act performed by the driver of the light vehicle.

Before you start to complain about commercial drivers, think about the fact that in a collision between a heavy commercial vehicle and a light vehicle it is most likely that the fault lies with the light vehicle driver.

One parting piece of advice: remember the No Zone. This is the space around a heavy commercial vehicle where light vehicles are essentially invisible to the truck driver. Occupy them at your own risk!

#PracticeUp Saskatchewan – New drivers are the traffic safety spotlight for June

#PracticeUp Saskatchewan – New drivers are the traffic safety spotlight for June

May 31, 2017

SGI and Saskatchewan law enforcement will be focusing on new drivers and motorcycle riders throughout June. Police will be watching for new drivers and riders disobeying the restrictions under their respective Graduated Driver’s Licence (GDL) program.

“New drivers and riders have a lot to learn, so we encourage them to know what restrictions apply to them, take advantage of the courses offered and practice as much as possible to become a safe driver,” said Earl Cameron, Executive Vice-President of the Auto Fund. “One of the most important things for new drivers and riders to know is that there is absolutely zero tolerance for alcohol or drugs before driving. As they are still learning to drive, we want new drivers to be one hundred per cent focused on the task at hand.”

Between 2011 and 2015, drivers 19 years of age and younger represented seven per cent of Saskatchewan’s driving population, yet were involved in 11 per cent of all collisions. Young drivers also represented 10 per cent of drivers killed and 12 per cent of drivers seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision.

Here are some tips to keep in mind.

New Drivers

  • Take training – New drivers must take one of two training courses before attempting a Class 5 road test. High school students age 15 and up can take an SGI-sponsored program for free through their school division. Alternatively, those 16 and over can pay for a course offered by a certified driving educator.
  • Earn your privileges – The GDL program is designed to improve road safety by exposing new drivers of any age to incremental levels of risk as they gain more experience. There are three stages in the program: Learner (9 months), Novice 1 (6 months) and Novice 2 (12 months).
  • Know your restrictions – There are requirements for a supervising driver, limits on how many passengers you can have, hours you can drive, and other considerations. These restrictions are loosened as drivers advance through the stages of the GDL program.

New Riders

  • Take training – Motorcycle training is highly recommended and makes financial sense. New riders entering the Motorcycle GDL program who do not pass a certified motorcycle safety course pay a $500 surcharge on their licence as they enter each stage. But if they pass a course, that surcharge is waived – plus, if they graduate incident-free, they receive a $450 rebate, which is roughly the cost of the course.
  • Earn your privileges – The Motorcycle GDL program for new motorcyclists has the same Learner, Novice and Novice 2 stages.
  • Know your restrictions –There are restrictions when it comes to passengers and time of day when riding is allowed. There are also specific requirements for wearing protective gear and displaying an ‘L’ or ‘N’ placard on the licence plate indicating learner or novice rider.

Tough Consequences

  • For both GDL programs, depending on the incident, the result could be a ticket, loss of licence and/or loss of points under the Safe Driver Recognition (SDR) program. Generally speaking, the consequences of failing to comply with a licence endorsement/restrictions result in a fine of $150 and three demerits.
  • For both GDL programs, there is a zero alcohol/drug tolerance level for new drivers, as well as any driver/rider (new or experienced) age 21 and under. First-time offenders will lose their licence for 60 days, lose four points under SDR and have the vehicle seized and impounded for three days, plus pay for towing, storage, and a DWI course.
  • New drivers and riders are not allowed to use any type of cellphone while driving – neither hand-held nor hands-free. The fine is $280 and four demerit points. New drivers/riders caught using their cellphone while driving (distracted driving) for the second time within one year will have the vehicle they are driving seized for seven days.

Rules to live by

  • Practice, practice, practice! And practice exactly the way you were taught by your certified instructor.
  • If you’re going to drink, don’t drive. If you’re going to drive, don’t drink.
  • Know and follow all restrictions outlined on your licence.
  • Gradually expose yourself to different weather conditions and times of day.
  • If you have questions about the road test or the rules of the road, #AskAnExaminer on social media or email askanexaminer@sgi.sk.ca.
  • Supervising drivers should visit the SGI website and review the latest editions of the Saskatchewan Driver Handbook and read A Guide to Supervising New Drivers. Some things may have changed since they got their licence.

View more information on new impaired driving laws and consequences. Follow SGI on Facebook and Twitter for safety tips to #TakeCareOutThere.

Top 10 Worst Roads in Ontario. Did your road make it to the list? #ONWorstRoads

The votes are in and Ontario’s Worst Road for 2017 is Burlington Street East in Hamilton.

Taking the second and third place spots on CAA’s annual list are Dufferin Street in Toronto and Lorne Street in Sudbury. Burlington Street East has risen progressively higher up the top 10 list since it first appeared on the CAA Worst Roads list in 2009. Dufferin Street has made nine appearances on the provincial top ten list since the campaign’s inception.

“With Burlington Street East attaining the top spot on this year’s CAA Worst Roads list, it is a clear message by voters that this road isn’t meeting the needs of residents,” said Raymond Chan, government relations specialist, CAA South Central Ontario (CAA SCO). “We look forward to discussing the results of this year’s list with elected officials and municipal staff from across the province in the coming months.”

“I hope that CAA’s spotlight will spur some much-needed improvement on Burlington Street East and the many other Hamilton roads that require immediate attention,” said Paul Miller, MPP (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek). “We must invest in the repair and maintenance of our existing infrastructure as well as in building new transport connections. People depend on this road to be safe.”

Over 3000 roads were nominated from across the province this year, the highest number since the campaign’s inception.

“Once again this year, we see evidence that regular maintenance required to extend road life, in many cases isn’t being done,” said Geoff Wilkinson, chief operating officer, Ontario Road Builders’ Association (ORBA). “In other instances, roads are simply at the end of their life-cycle. While many municipalities see the importance of investing in maintenance and reconstruction of roads and bridges, CAA’s Worst Roads campaign reminds us that many municipalities still have a long way to go in addressing their infrastructure deficit.”

Ontario’s Top 10 Worst Roads for 2017

1. Burlington Street East (Hamilton)

2. Dufferin Street (Toronto)

3. Lorne Street (Sudbury)

4. Maley Drive (Sudbury)

5. Queenston Street (St. Catharines)

6. Algonquin Boulevard West (Timmins)

7. Hunt Club Road (Ottawa)

8. TIE – Carling Avenue (Ottawa) AND Duckworth Street (Barrie)

9. TIE – Algonquin Boulevard East (Timmins) AND Yonge Street (Toronto)

10. County Road 49 (Prince Edward County)

Worst Roads by Region

  • Central – Duckworth (Barrie)
  • Eastern – County Road 49 (Prince Edward County)
  • Halton-Peel-YorkDurham – Highway 7 (Markham)
  • Niagara – Queenston Street (St. Catharines)
  • North – Lorne Street (Sudbury)
  • South West – Plank Road (Sarnia)
  • Western – Northfield Drive West (Waterloo)

The top five roads in Toronto are: Dufferin Street at number one followed by Yonge Street, Bathurst Street, Eglinton Avenue West and Finch Avenue West.

“We have seen a significant shift this year in the top five Worst Roads in Toronto,” continued Mr. Chan. “Bayview Avenue received more votes than any other Toronto road in 2016 but did not return this year, while Finch Avenue West and Bathurst Street appear for the first time. This year’s list also features Eglinton Avenue West which is undergoing significant construction in preparation for the Crosstown LRT.”

The CAA Worst Roads campaign is a platform for Ontarians to make roads safer by helping municipal and provincial governments understand what roadway improvements are important to citizens, and where they need to be made.

For the full list of 2017 Worst Roads please visit caaworstroads.com.

About CAA South Central Ontario
As a leader and advocate for road safety and mobility, CAA South Central Ontario is a not-for-profit auto club which represents the interests of over 2 million members. For over a century, CAA has collaborated with communities, police services and governments to help keep drivers and their families safe while travelling on our roads.

SOURCE CAA South Central Ontario

Operation of Unlicensed Motor Vehicles

If it has a motor, gasoline or electric, and you operate it on a highway, chances are you need a driver’s licence and the vehicle will need licence and insurance. There are very few exceptions to this rule.

While it may be convenient to take your quad to the community mailboxes instead of walking or driving your lawn tractor around the block because you cannot easily drive between the upper and lower parts of your yard it could be an expensive trip in the wrong circumstances.

The same applies to your favourite off road vehicle. It may be convenient to ride to the nearest off road area rather than loading it onto a trailer or into the back of a pickup truck for the trip, but again, no licence and insurance probably means trouble eventually.

Turning a blind eye while you child does this will not help you escape liabilityeither.

You may think that because police vehicles cannot easily go off road, the smart thing to do is to put the pedal to the metal and disappear. If you can’t be caught, you can’t be charged, right? Perhaps, but if you are eventually tracked down, you add more serious Criminal Code or Motor Vehicle Act charges to the mix and significantly reduce the chances of being dealt with lightly.

Do you have a healthy bank account? What are your financial plans for your future? Cause a collision without insurance coverage and you may be paying that price for the rest of your life. Empty that bank account and scrap those future plans as the bills can be big ones.

Can’t or won’t pay? ICBC may refuse to issue or renew a driver’s licence or licence plates. You may also be prohibited from driving until the judgment is satisfied.

What happens if you do the right thing and pull over after being caught in these circumstances? There are a variety of offences that an officer may choose to write a ticket for. No vehicle licence, no driver’s licence and no insurance are the most likely to be chosen.

Currently, the ticketed amounts are $109, $276 and $598 respectively.

There is a small risk of being arrested on the spot for operating an uninsured vehicle.

Unattended, unlicenced vehicles on a highway are also subject to being towed away. However, if there is no other reason to tow your vehicle and you are willing to wait with it until family or friends show up with a pickup or suitable trailer you can use that to move the vehicle off the highway instead of being towed.

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