ICBC and BC Transplant partnership helps increase organ donation registrations by 15%

Source: ICBC: More than 125,000 customers registered their decision on organ donation in the year since ICBC driver licensing employees across B.C. began asking customers to register their decision on organ donation with BC Transplant.

“We’re really pleased with the overwhelming support for organ donation and that we’re able to make it easy for our customers to register their decision,” said Nicolas Jimenez, ICBC’s interim president and CEO. “These conversations at our driver licensing locations will save lives.”

You only need to register once in a lifetime but a decal on your driver’s licence is no longer enough to ensure you’re registered as an organ donor. You can register your wishes online at transplant.bc.ca or at ICBC driver licensing offices across the province.

“Our partnership with ICBC has led to more conversations about organ donation in our communities, and now more than ever, British Columbians are registering their wishes for organ donation,” said Leanne Appleton, BC Transplant’s provincial executive director. “Thanks to these decisions and the life-saving gifts of organ donors and their families, a record 479 people received a transplant in 2017.”

An earlier pilot in four ICBC locations indicated the value of having these conversations so the program was expanded to all ICBC driver licensing locations across the province. Based on the phenomenal success of the program, ICBC employees will continue asking customers to register their decision.

British Columbians and their families are increasingly making a generous decision for organ donation. In 2017, the life-saving gifts of 97 living donors and a record 121 deceased donors gave a second chance at life to 479 British Columbians suffering from organ failure.

More than 1.2 million people have registered their decision in the BC Organ Donor Registry. All British Columbians are encouraged to register their own decision about organ donation, and share their wishes with their family.

​ICBC urges drivers to be alert this Easter long weekend

Source: ICBC

Even though winter is now over, road conditions can still be challenging at this time of the year with unpredictable weather and increased traffic on our roads over the long weekendd. That’s why ICBC is asking drivers to drive smart and avoid distractions behind the wheel.

Every Easter long weekend, an average of four people are killed and 650 injured in 2,300 crashes in B.C.*

ICBC’s drive smart tips for Easter weekend:

  • Check your vehicle: If this is your first longer drive of the year, remember to check your engine oil, washer fluid, lights and inspect your vehicle tires, including the spare, to make sure they are in good condition and properly inflated.
  • Be prepared: Plan your route and visit drivebc.ca to check road and weather conditions before starting your trip. Be realistic about travel times over the long weekend and expect delays. Pack an emergency kit in your vehicle in case you get stuck or stranded.
  • Get some rest: Make sure you’re well rested before heading out on a long drive. Take breaks or switch drivers every two hours to avoid fatigue.
  • Slow down on wet roads: Allow yourself at least twice the normal braking distance on wet or slippery roads. Avoid driving through flooded or washed out roads.
  • Avoid distractions: Spring brings more cyclistspedestrians and motorcyclists on our roads. Avoid distractions behind the wheel so you are alert and see all road users. Make important calls and send texts on your cell phone before you start your trip.
  • Watch for signs of wildlife: Animals may be feeding on plants near the roadside this spring. Slow down and use caution when you see wildlife on or near a highway, so you have time to react if an animal crosses your path.

Regional statistics:*

  • On average, 490 people are injured in 1,500 crashes every year in the Lower Mainland over the Easter long weekend.

  • On average, 62 people are injured in 310 crashes every year in the Southern Interior over the Easter long weekend.

  • On average, 78 people are injured in 310 crashes every year on Vancouver Island over the Easter long weekend.

  • On average, 20 people are injured in 130 crashes every year in the North Central region over the Easter long weekend.

*Injury and crash numbers are based on ICBC data 2011 to 2015. Fatality data based on police data 2011 to 2015. Easter long weekend is calculated from 18:00 hours the Thursday prior to Good Friday until midnight Easter Monday.

Uber Self Driving Crash Calls Safety, Rules Into Question

By Melissa Daniels And Bob Christie

Video of a fatal pedestrian crash involving a self-driving Uber vehicle that some experts say exposes flaws in autonomous vehicle technology is prompting calls to slow down testing on public roads and renewing concerns about regulatory readiness.

The 22-second video shows a woman walking from a darkened area onto a street just before an Uber SUV in self-driving mode strikes her. It was released by police in Tempe, Arizona, following the crash earlier this week.

Three experts who study the emerging technology concluded the video, which includes dashcam footage of the driver’s reaction, indicates the vehicle’s sensors should have spotted the pedestrian and that it should have initiated braking to avoid the crash that killed 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg on Sunday night.

It was the first fatality of a self-driving vehicle, and Uber has suspended its testing as the investigation proceeds.

Raj Rajkumar, who heads the autonomous vehicle program at Carnegie Mellon University, said the video was revealing in multiple ways, including that the driver appeared distracted and that Herzberg appeared to have been in the roadway and moving for several seconds and still her presence wasn’t sensed.

Laser systems used in the vehicles, called Lidar, can carry a blind spot, he said.

“All of this should be looked at in excruciating detail,” he said.

Herzberg’s death occurs at time when eagerness to put autonomous vehicles on public roads is accelerating in Silicon Valley, the auto industry and state and federal governments. More than 100 auto manufacturers and industry associations in early March sent a letter urging Congress to expedite passage of a proposal from Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, that aims to provide regulatory oversight and make it easier to deploy the technology.

After the crash, groups like Vision Zero, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and other safety-minded organizations urged the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to pause consideration of Thune’s proposal until the Tempe crash investigation is completed.

“The stage is now set for what will essentially be beta-testing on public roads with families as unwitting crash test dummies,” the letter said.

Thune, who chairs the science committee, said in a statement Thursday that the crash underscores the need to adopt laws and policies tailored to self-driving vehicles.

“Congress should act to update rules, direct manufacturers to address safety requirements, and enhance the technical expertise of regulators,” Thune said.

Scott Hall, spokesman for the Coalition of Future Mobility, which represents a variety of auto, consumer and taxpayer interest groups, said Thursday it supports the bill because a national framework of rules governing testing and deployment of technology is needed to avoid a 50-state patchwork of laws.

Data from the National Conference of State Legislatures shows that states are increasingly introducing legislation over autonomous vehicles — 33 in 2017. More than 20 states have already enacted autonomous vehicle legislation.

Uber, Intel, Waymo and GM are testing autonomous cars in Arizona, which does not require them to get a permit. After the Tempe crash, Gov. Doug Ducey, who lured the companies to the state with a promise of minimal regulation, warned against jumping to conclusions.

He noted both the Tempe police and the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

“So let’s see what happened.”

Earlier this month, Ducey issued an executive order that will allow companies to operate autonomous vehicles without a person on board. The only regulation is to send an advisory letter to the state Department of Transportation.

John Simpson of the California-based advocacy group Consumer Watchdog said Ducey was turning Arizona into “the wild West of automobile testing.”

“There’s no regulations, and if there’s not a sheriff in town somebody gets killed,” Simpson said.

His group is calling for a national moratorium on the testing of all autonomous vehicles until the cause of the fatal crash is determined. He said other states and Congress should look to California for a blueprint, where even minor crashes must be reported.

In Arizona, companies such as Uber only need to carry minimum liability insurance to operate self-driving cars. They are not required to track crashes or report any information to the state.

California requires a $5 million insurance policy, and companies must report accidents to the state within 10 days and release an annual tally documenting how many times test drivers had to take over.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, who also has embraced limited regulations for autonomous vehicles, said the crash wasn’t causing him to rethink his state’s laws.

“What I would say is we need to find out all the issues associated with that (crash),” he said. “It’s terrible to have someone get in an accident and be killed in an event like that. Unfortunately we have traffic deaths going on far too often in our country. Let’s all work harder on having safe roads.”

Making Bad Drivers Pay

Last week we looked at how we might define a bad driver. Views were varied, but there were two well thought out responses that did more than just express an opinion. This week, let’s look at how bad drivers pay for the risk that they present to others using our highways.

At the top of the list is the Criminal Code of Canada. Part 8 deals with offences against the person and reputation. Here we find homicidecriminal negligence and motor vehicles, vessels & aircraft. These are reserved for the worst of the worst offenders and convictions may result in significant fines and / or time in jail.

Our Motor Vehicle Act and it’s associated Regulations create the framework of rules that we are supposed to follow when we drive. Disobey one of these and you might receive a violation ticket with a prescribed fine. The fine amount should reflect the seriousness of the offence, the more dangerous the act, the higher the fine.

There are some problems with this system. First among them is that the fine may be a life altering penalty for those with no financial means and the bite of a gnat for those with significant resources.

Yes, the court system exists to reduce the penalties to be more fair in the circumstances, but my experience there is that those of limited means seldom take advantage of it. Also, there is no provision to increase the fine beyond the prescribed fine in traffic court.

Some countries use a Day Fine system where the penalty is based on the offenders daily income level to make the penalty more appropriate.

If the circumstances are out of the ordinary but do not call for criminal sanctions, the offending driver may be served with an appearance notice instead of a violation ticket. A provincial court judge will hear the case and may apply a variety of penalties on conviction. These may range from probation orders to fines, prohibitions from driving and jail sentences.

The second problem that comes to mind is the high threshold for sanction of experienced bad drivers in the Driver Improvement Program.

Additions to the penalty system include the Immediate Roadside Prohibition program (IRP) for alcohol and drug impaired drivers and the Vehicle Impoundment program for the IRP, excessive speeding, driving while unlicensed, prohibited or suspended, stunting and not being seated properly on a motorcycle.

The Driver Penalty Point Premium is based on driving convictions and paid to ICBC each year. The more penalty points you are assigned, the more you pay. This part of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations is overdue for revision. A red light conviction is 2 points, as is parking next to a yellow curb if you are ticketed for disobeying a traffic control device.

The Driver Risk Premium is meant to penalize drivers who have shown that they present a significant danger others through a driving related Criminal Code conviction, a 10 penalty point violation, excessive speeding or a distracted driving conviction.

If you are an at fault driver in a collision, you will either lose your safe driving insurance discount or the possibility of forgiveness should you experience another at fault collision.

Finally, the courts, RoadSafetyBC in Part 2 or the roadside prohibition requirements of Part 4 of the Motor Vehicle Act serve to remove driving priviliges entirely as a penalty.

This is quite an array of possibilities, isn’t it? With all of this in place, one wonders why there are still so much bad driving behaviour on our roads.

Recycling child car seats just got easier

Every year, an estimated quarter of a million child car seats end up in landfills in Ontario alone. The Co-operators is pleased to announce that its advisors are helping provide an alternative for environmentally-minded local residents. Through a partnership with Green Propeller Recycling, the only not-for-profit child car seat recycling facility in Ontario, old child car seats can now be dropped off at local Co-operators advisors’ offices in many Ontario communities to be recycled.

“For decades, the only choice people had to dispose of child car seats that were damaged, expired or which children had outgrown, was to throw it away,” said Graham Lewis, founder and executive director of Green Propeller Recycling. “We are working to change that, and by partnering with local Co-operators offices, it is now easier than ever to be part of the solution and keep your child car seats out of landfills.”

Green Propeller Recycling is a not-for-profit social enterprise that employs people with barriers to employment to manually deconstruct the used child car seats. This allows the materials to be repurposed to make items such as tote bags, backpacks and reusable steel. The additional drop-off locations announced today represent a very significant expansion of its network in Ontario.

“As an organization committed to making a positive social and environmental impact, we’re pleased to support Green Propeller’s dual mission of recycling child car seats while providing job opportunities to people who face barriers to employment,” said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators. “People want to do the right thing and recycle their child car seats, and our local advisors are now making it more convenient for them to do that.”

In addition to serving as drop-off locations, The Co-operators has made a financial contribution to Green Propeller Recycling. Participating Co-operators advisors’ offices are located in the following southern Ontario communities:

Ancaster

Georgetown

Orangeville

Bolton

Guelph

Paris

Brampton

Hamilton

Scarborough

Brantford

Kitchener 

Shelburne

Burlington

Listowel

Stoney Creek

Cambridge

Markdale 

Stratford

Dundalk

Milton  

Toronto

Dundas

Mitchell   

Waterdown

Elmira

Mount Forest

Waterloo

Fergus

North York 

Wingham

Those with child car seats to be recycled are asked to register online at www.greenpropellerrecycling.com, which will then direct them to nearby drop-off locations. For all Co-operators clients, the fee of $15 plus tax to offset the cost of labour will be waived.

About The Co-operators:

The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $48 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt and Corporate Knights’ Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. For more information, visit www.cooperators.ca.

About Green Propeller Recycling:

Green Propeller Recycling incorporated as a not-for-profit / social enterprise in March 2017, quickly establishing itself as the first not-for-profit in Canada to recycle child car safety seats. The need to create an experienced board of directors, who could guide the not-for-profit into a sustainable organization, with a solid vision, mission and value statement over the next three years was crucial.

Green Propeller Recycling used the guiding vision, mission and value statement to align its hiring practices into an operation that values individuals from all aspects of our community. Hiring persons who identify as having a barrier to employment is a key element of the operational structure. Recycling consumer products not currently being recycled is only part of the circular economy, individuals whom have struggled to find sustainable employment, are often overlooked for employment. Green Propeller Recycling refers to this as the value of human capital.

Protecting the environment whilst creating sustainable long-term employment is written into the core of Green Propeller Recycling. Child car seat recycling is a registered program of “1 Less Seat 1 World 2 Keep”. For more information, visit www.greenpropellerrecycling.com.

SOURCE The Co-operators

The Not-So-Professional Driver

I’m one of those odd drivers who tries their best to drive at or below the posted speed limit. I include the word below here as sometimes there is a need to slow down to less than the posted speed limit for safety reasons. This often has consequences for me when I have to share the road with other drivers who do not subscribe to my philosophy on road safety. A good example of this is looking in my rear view mirror and finding the Volvo logo on the grille of a heavy transport truck following me closely enough that I could count the bugs stuck to it.

This incident occurred on the Trans Canada Highway westbound between the Alberta border and Golden on a relatively long and steep downgrade while I was returning home from a family wedding in Banff. Road conditions were not the greatest as the winter damage had been done and road maintenance had not yet caught up. The shoulders were gravel covered, the lane markings were poor or non-existent and the road surface itself was uneven in places.

My preferred solution to this is to simply pull over and let the offender by. Better to inconvenience myself than to become involved in a collision. In this case, I had to wait to find a good place to do this and sweat out having that Volvo logo looming large behind me. The truck passed me before I was able to do so, but I was able to read the company name off the door of the truck cab.

If you are not content to just shrug your shoulders and mutter something about the driver’s ancestry under your breath, what can be done about incidents like this one?

Google is your friend. Most trucking firms today have a web site with contact information on it that you can use to telephone or send e-mail. A company that cares will listen to your side of the story, speak to their driver about it and take action that is fair and in their best interest. Repeated complaints about the same driver could result in dismissal.

Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) will accept complaints about commercial vehicle driving. Your complaint will be directed to the regional CVSE manager where the incident occurred. The manager has two options open to them, contacting the company and advising CVSE personnel in the region to keep the company in mind. This may have more weight than your personal complaint to the company as a clean National Safety Code record is important to a reputable trucking firm.

The police can take enforcement action based solely on your complaint if it is a credible one and likely to result in a conviction in traffic court. Take a look at the article on how to make an effective driving complaint to the police for more information. Like CVSE, the police are going to need either the licence plate information or company name on the truck itself. The licence plate information from the trailer is helpful, but much less useful for follow up.

The biggest hurdle with enforcement action is that you will be required to travel back to the jurisdiction of the incident to supply witness testimony if the ticket is disputed. The courts will not cover your travel expenses so it will be up to you to foot the bill.

Changes are on the horizon. When traffic court is replaced with adjudication by RoadSafetyBC witness information could be supplied in writing or by teleconference. Phase one of the two stage change process is currently under way and that is the implementation of electronic ticketing and fine payment. When that is completed, the shift to adjudication will occur, but there is no time line information available for that change. Enabling provisions for the system were added to the Motor Vehicle Act in 2012.

Cst. Tim Schewe (Ret.) runs DriveSmartBC, a community web site about traffic safety in British Columbia. For 25 years he was an officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including five years on general duty, 20 in traffic and 10 as a collision analyst responsible of conducting technical investigations of collisions. He retired from policing in 2006 but continues to be active in traffic safety through the DriveSmartBC web site, teaching seminars and contributing content to newspapers and web sites.

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