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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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.

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