Drivers Make Two Kinds of Mistakes

I watched a woman run a stop sign the other day while I was out for a walk. I knew that this was a route that she traveled often and she should be familiar with stopping there. I could see that she was checking around her as she approached the T intersection so I’m going to assume that she was in a hurry and made the conscious decision to slow down instead of stop.

She stopped at the community mailboxes just in front of me and got out of her vehicle. I briefly considered mentioning her decision not to stop and asking her to be more careful as this was the time of day when children could be present coming home from school.

I worried about the possibility of a confrontation instead of a friendly discussion of viewpoints and decided that I wasn’t feeling flameproof. I walked by and kept my thoughts to myself.

The SUV driven by the lady was carrying the identification of a major Canadian corporation. Communicating with them would not be difficult and I could suggest that they should take their representative to task for her action.

Given my experiences making driving complaints, I discarded this idea and did not even briefly consider reporting to the police.

I’ve returned to the situation in my mind a number of times since then and conclude that drivers make two kinds of mistakes, honest ones and deliberate decisions to disregard the rules of the road.

I try my best every time that I get behind the wheel to pay attention to what I am doing, follow the rules to the letter and drive defensively. It would be mortifying to cause problems for other road users but despite my best intentions, I make mistakes. No matter how hard I try, I will never be the perfect driver that I want to be.

When I fail in my driving duties, I might feel the sting of a traffic ticket, suffer embarassment, or need the cushion of insurance to help compensate for my error.

Hmm, that’s pretty much exactly what the drivers who deliberately disregard the laws face too.

Our system doesn’t really differentiate between the two until that behaviour becomes chronic or another road user is physically injured or killed. Even then in most cases the cushion of insurance is still there to take hurting ourselves out of the consequences of our bad decision making. The courts and RoadSafetyBC sometimes seem ill prepared to apply what the community sees as an appropriate penalty.

Perhaps I should have stopped and politely pointed out to this lady it is not acceptable to run stop signs in our neighbourhood. If she is a reasonable person maybe that is all that is required to insure that she stops next time.

At the other end of the scale, if you deliberately decide to disobey and kill someone, that should be the end of your driving career. Period. Full Stop. No do overs.

What do you think?

Allstate Canada Poll: Is FOMO Driving Distraction Behind the Wheel?

Study reveals 69 per cent of Canadian millennials think they are most distracted generation behind the wheel

MARKHAM, ONMarch 6, 2018 /CNW/ – A new poll from Allstate Insurance Company of Canada reveals 80 per cent of Canadians believe drivers under the age of 34 are most likely to drive distracted. The study, conducted by Leger, also found that Canadians from that younger cohort recognize their own tendency to drive distracted, with 69 per cent conceding that their age group is probably the most likely to do so.

“When faced with tight schedules and temptation from smartphone notifications, drivers may find it hard to resist the urge to grab a quick bite while at the wheel or to sneak a peek at their devices,” says Ryan Michel, president and CEO of Allstate Insurance Company of Canada. “The data shows younger drivers are honest in recognizing the tendencies of their own peer group – but that self-awareness isn’t necessarily leading to changes in risky behaviour. This is why we’ve partnered with Young Drivers of Canada to help shed light on the need to instill and reinforce safe driving habits with all Canadians – even those who have yet to earn their license.”

Is age a key factor?

While many younger Canadians agree that people in their age group are most likely to be distracted at the wheel, they’re also less likely to believe their behaviours can cause them to lose focus. Eating (68 per cent under age 34 vs. 76 per cent nationally), drinking (58 per cent vs. 68 per cent), playing with the sound system (59 per cent vs. 68 per cent) and looking at roadside distractions (67 per cent vs. 77 per cent) are less likely seen as distracting behaviours compared to the national average.

What do Canadians perceive as distractions while driving?

Two actions nearly all Canadians agree cause distraction behind the wheel are using a mobile device and grooming (at 94 per cent and 93 per cent, respectively). Many Canadians also feel that looking at roadside distractions, such as collisions, signs or billboards, are more distracting than using a GPS/navigation system (77 per cent vs. 69 per cent).

Some activities Canadians perform when driving might seem commonplace but can cause them to lose focus. Seventy-six per cent of Canadians believe eating while driving is more distracting then drinking (68 per cent), while 73 per cent of Canadians believe that thinking about personal stressors like work or family issues take their minds off the task at-hand.

“It’s inevitable to face distractions when driving – and it may seem impossible not to give into these distractions,” says Michel. “Our aim is to make Canadians more aware of their behaviours and actions on the road. This is an important step to help keep our focus in the right place and our streets safe.”

Parents believe they are less distracted when on the road

The poll found that caregivers with children under the age of 18 were less likely to believe activities such as using a mobile device (92 per cent of parents vs. 96 per cent nationally), changing the music (62 per cent vs. 70 per cent) and eating (70 per cent vs. 78 per cent) are distractions when driving.

“Parents will always be a catalyst for how newly licensed drivers behave behind the wheel,” says Angelo DiCicco, director of operations for the Advanced Driving Centre for Young Drivers of Canada. “It’s important that we as adults lead by example and teach the next generation of drivers how to behave and focus when it’s their turn to be in the driver’s seat.”

Canadians’ perceptions differ nationally

The poll found some key differences of opinion between regions across the country. When compared to the rest of Canada, Ontarians were more likely to agree that talking on the phone using a Bluetooth is more distracting (77 per cent vs. 69 per cent), while conversely, two-thirds of New Brunswickers (66 per cent) feel that talking to passengers in the car is not distracting compared to the national average of 55 per cent.

In Nova Scotia, 89 per cent of residents ranked eating as a key distractor, which is significantly higher than the national average of 76 per cent. In Alberta, respondents highlighted personal stressors, such as work or family problems, as more distracting than eating while driving (79 per cent vs. 76 per cent). Albertans almost universally agreed that using a mobile device while driving was a distraction at 98 per cent, slightly higher than the rest of Canada.

Staying focused, even during busy times with family

“We all want new drivers to learn safe driving habits and practicing what we preach when we’re in the driver’s seat is crucial to instilling those lessons,” says Michel. “As we head into the March Break, a peak travel period, we encourage all drivers to be aware of their driving habits, to help keep our roads – and our families – safe and secure.”

To help avoid distractions while on the road, Allstate and Young Drivers of Canada have the following tips for Canadians: No Excuses – Distracted Driving Affects Us All.

About the Leger Study:
A survey of 1,982 Canadians was completed online between February 5-8, 2018, using Leger’s online panel, LegerWeb. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.2%, 19 times out of 20.

About Allstate Insurance Company of Canada:
Allstate Insurance Company of Canada is one of the country’s leading producers and distributors of home and auto insurance products, serving Canadians since 1953. The company strives to keep its customers in “Good Hands®” as well as its employees, and is proud to be named a Best Employer in Canada for the sixth consecutive year. Allstate Canada is committed to making a positive difference in the communities in which it operates and has partnered with organizations such as MADD Canada, United Way and Junior Achievement. To learn more about Allstate Canada, visit www.allstate.ca. For safety tips and advice, visit www.goodhandsadvice.ca.

About Young Drivers of Canada
Young Drivers of Canada is Canada’s largest driver training organization. Established in 1970, the organization is home to over 140 classrooms and provides training programs for new drivers, fleet drivers and driver improvement. Young Driversis committed to being Canada’s leading provider of driver training, teaching new drivers Collision free! techniques that will reduce the number of road deaths and injuries.

SOURCE Allstate Insurance Company of Canada

ICBC and police introduce new measures to combat distracted driving this month

Tougher penalties for distracted drivers take effect this month, alongside the piloting of new technologies, in support of B.C.’s latest enforcement and awareness campaign against this high-risk driving behaviour. Enhanced police enforcement on distracted driving will also take place across B.C., including a province-wide blitz today.

ICBC, the provincial government and police are working together in a commitment of doing more to combat this dangerous driving behaviour that claims 78 lives each year.* Distracted driving is any activity that impacts a driver’s ability to focus on the road and is one of the top contributing factors in police-reported injury crashes in B.C. Research shows that electronic device use is the most common distraction that drivers engage in behind the wheel.**

Starting March 1, 2018, ICBC’s Driver Risk Premium (DRP) program will include convictions for distracted drivers who continue to put road users at risk by using electronic devices while driving. As previously announced, drivers with two convictions for the use of electronic devices while driving over a three year period will now face added and higher premiums. They could pay as much as $2,000 in penalties – an increase of $740 over the previous penalties –in addition to their regular vehicle insurance premium.

Two pilot projects exploring how technology can help combat distracted driving in our province are also underway, as announced in the fall. ICBC is working with 139 volunteer drivers from across the province on a three-month pilot. Drivers will share feedback about their experiences with a small telematics device installed in their vehicle which blocks the use of their handheld phone when the participant is driving.

Starting this month, police will also begin to test new distracted driving scopes with further abilities to capture dangerous driving behaviours. Police will be testing the units for usability and effectiveness in all weather and traffic conditions.

The recent changes to the DRP program and the technology pilots are just some of the many actions that government, police and ICBC are taking to make roads safer for all road users in British Columbia. The results of the pilot projects will be reviewed to determine next steps in a thoughtful examination of the role technology can play in preventing distracted driving.

Drivers can do their part by avoiding distractions while driving and encouraging others to do the same. Activate Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving feature or what’s similarly available on other devices or third-party apps. Free ‘not while driving’ decals are available at ICBC driver licensing offices and participating Autoplan broker offices for drivers to support the campaign and encourage other road users to leave their phones alone.

Quotes:

David Eby, Attorney General

“Distracted driving endangers the lives of British Columbians with devastating effects for families and communities. It also puts significant pressure on insurance rates. Improving road safety is key to creating a sustainable auto insurance system with more affordable rates for B.C. families. We must see cultural shift that sees distracted drivers put down their cell phones and drive.”

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General

“Distracted driving is a preventable behaviour that has caused too many people and their families to suffer. We’re taking action to make some of the toughest distracted driving penalties in Canada even tougher. The changes to the Driver Risk Premium program mean distracted drivers with multiple distracted driving offences will now face added and higher penalties, over and above their regular vehicle insurance premium.”

Superintendent Davis Wendell, OIC E Division Traffic Services and Vice-Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee

“Since 2010, police have issued more than 300,000 tickets for electronic device use, which tells us that distracted and inattentive driving continues to be an ongoing issue on B.C. roads. In fact, police report that driver distraction and inattention is the leading contributing factor in injury crashes in B.C. And those are all preventable incidents. While driving, there’s no task more important than the one right in front of you – leave all distractions out of driving.”

Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety

“These distracted driving technology pilots will enable us to better understand the role that technology can play in preventing distracted driving and reduce overall crashes in B.C. But safer roads start with every driver making a conscious decision to drive smart and distraction-free. We can all do simple things like letting calls go to voicemail or programming your GPS before your journey.”

Regional statistics*:

  • Every year, on average, 27 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Lower Mainland.

  • Every year, on average, 9 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes on Vancouver Island.

  • Every year, on average, 30 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Southern Interior.

  • Every year, on average, 13 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the North Central region.

Close Call at the Crosswalk

A pedestrian pushing a child in a stroller and the driver of a van approach an intersection controlled by a traffic light with a pedestrian signal. Both the traffic light and the pedestrian signal are red. The driver is in the lane next to the pedestrian who arrives at the cross street and stops seconds before the driver arrives at the stop line.

The traffic signal turns green and the pedestrian signal turns white. No longer needing to stop, the driver turns right as the pedestrian starts to move ahead. Were it not for the crosswalk obstruction caused by incomplete snow removal making it difficult to push the stroller ahead, it’s entirely possible that I would have watched a collision occur.

Link to a video of the incident.

Section 132 of the Motor Vehicle Act sets out the rules for pedestrian signals. It says in part that:

When the word “walk” or an outline of a walking person is exhibited at an intersection by a pedestrian traffic control signal, a pedestrian may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal in a marked or unmarked crosswalk and has the right of way over all vehicles in the intersection or any adjacent crosswalk.

It looks fairly promising for the pedestrian at first glance, doesn’t it? Right of way over all vehicles in the intersection should mean pedestrians first, shouldn’t it?

The driver was not in the intersection yet, but section 127 covers this situation:

A pedestrian facing the green light may proceed across the roadway in a marked or unmarked crosswalk, subject to special pedestrian traffic control signals directing him or her otherwise, and has the right of way for that purpose over all vehicles.

Finally, section 181 puts a further onus on the driver:

A driver of a vehicle must exercise due care to avoid colliding with a pedestrian who is on the highway

The sidewalk is part of the highway.

Clearly, this driver was required to yield to the pedestrian, but should she have moved to cross? Having the right of way is not a physical protection from harm. The painted lines of the crosswalk don’t help either as they are not a barrier.

She has a duty of care to both herself and the child to insure that it is safe before she proceeds. Had a collision occurred and a hearing to decide liability held, the justice would have reminded her of this and apportioned some of the blame to her for relying solely on right of way rules.

Let’s take a look at crosswalks that don’t involve any traffic lights while we’re on the subject.

If you take ICBC’s on line practice test for drivers, one of the questions shows two pedestrians standing on the sidewalk, mid block, each facing the other across a marked crosswalk and asks what the driver must do. According to the test, the driver must stop and let the pedestrians proceed.

Our rulebook takes a slightly different view in section 179:

The driver of a vehicle must yield the right of way to a pedestrian where traffic control signals are not in place or not in operation when the pedestrian is crossing the highway in a crosswalk and the pedestrian is on the half of the highway on which the vehicle is travelling, or is approaching so closely from the other half of the highway that he or she is in danger.

As I learned to my chagrin in court one day, the driver does not have to yield unless the pedestrian is actually in the crosswalk. Standing on the sidewalk looking across does not qualify.

A pedestrian must carefully step into the crosswalk and wait for a driver to yield before crossing in this instance.

Keep section 179 in mind though, as you must wait until it is safe to do so:

A pedestrian must not leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle that is so close it is impracticable for the driver to yield the right of way.

Slow Down, Move Over, Not!

On June 1, 2009 the Slow Down, Move Over law came into effect in British Columbia. Just in case you’ve never heard of it, when you approach an official vehicle stopped on the side of the road that is displaying flashing red, blue, white or yellow lights you must slow down and, if possible, move over before you pass it.

An official vehicle is any vehicle authorised under division 4.28 of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations to use flashing lights of those colours. This includes police, fire, paramedic, towing and public utility vehicles.

Think of it as the 70/40 rule: If the speed limit is 80 km/h or more, you slow down to 70 km/h. If it is lower than 80 km/h you slow down to 40 km/h.

After you have passed by, you may resume speed.

The whole idea of this law is to give the people who work on the side of the road a relatively safe place to conduct their business.

How difficult can it be? You see the flashing lights and check around you to see if it is safe to move over. If it is, you change lanes and begin to slow down. If it isn’t, you simply begin to slow down. In either case, you need to be at the correct speed before you pass by.

Don’t confuse the rule as permission to pass by at either 70 or 40 km/h as the case may be. Circumstances may require that you slow down more than this or even stop if necessary.

I know that the message has not gotten through to some drivers. The last time I passed a tow truck picking up a broken down vehicle on the right shoulder of a divided highway I moved over to the left and slowed down. The driver behind me caught up, changed to the curb lane and blew right on through.

A genuinely stupid move like this could qualify as driving without reasonable consideration for others using the highway instead of a slow down, move over violation.

The fault is not always the passing driver’s however. I have come across situations where there was insufficient time to see the stopped official vehicle and safely carry out the slow down, move over requirement.

Section 138 of the Motor Vehicle Act requires that warning signs be put in place when work is being carried out on a highway. In fact, signs with a pink background are meant to advise of a temporary emergency situation.

Further, section 139 requires that temporary signs be set up limiting speed and how vehicles are to proceed in these situations as well. It is not uncommon to find work being done at the roadside with no warning signs in place.

I have also found an official vehicle parked well off the highway with yellow lights flashing while the worker’s task was being conducted even further off the highway. There should be guidelines for when it is appropriate to use flashing lights and when it is not.

If you read case law, the justice will often mention that is your responsibility as a driver to be able to respond safely to situations that may reasonably be encountered on the highway. A slow down, move over situation is one of them.

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.”

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