#DriveSmartBC – Building Trust, Driving Confidence

ICBC’s current corporate slogan is “Building Trust, Driving Confidence.” Pair that with this week’s announcement of a $582 million loss for the first six months of the corporation’s fiscal year and one begins to wonder about the confidence part. That loss is being blamed on the rising number and cost of claims.

Laying the blame there is probably the easiest thing to do and the least likely to require a lot of explanation.

ICBC rates are set by the BC Utilities Commission, which is ultimately controlled by the provincial government. That’s the same government that took dividends out of ICBC coffers that could have been invested by the corporation and the profits used to pay insurance claims.

Our provincial government also controls many other facets of this issue. Driver licensing, policing, traffic laws, highway design and maintenance to name a few.

So, who’s in the driver’s seat and where are they taking us? Are we happy with the direction of travel?

There are three ways to reduce this deficit, take in more money, reduce costs and quit running into each other or other things.

No one wants to pay more for their vehicle insurance. This is a relatively immediate consequence and one that we feel acutely. It’s easy to complain about as it’s visible to us all regularly.

Let’s make the high risk driver pay a high risk premium. Ditto for those who actually cause a crash. They should pay more too. Good drivers should pay the smallest premium.

Recently, reducing costs has come in the form of paying less for claims. This is a little more palatable because we’re all better than average drivers and perhaps this isn’t seen as something that will directly affect us. Someone else will pay the price regardless of whether they are the culprit or the victim.

Finally we come to a very complicated problem, how to reduce or eliminate collisions. Vision Zero. The most certain way to reduce insurance rates.

People make mistakes. Despite our best intentions bad things can happen and this is why we buy insurance.

The reduction of these mistakes and the minimization of the consequences of those that do happen will be a long process. Safe highways, safe vehicles, safe speeds and safe users all combine to produce the safe systems of Vision Zero.

I can make a difference immediately if I try. I realize that driving is a team effort, not an individual one. I won’t be selfish and I’ll share the road. I will even try to put others first if there is a need to.

Will you?

Holiday CounterAttack roadchecks start this weekend

Holiday CounterAttack roadchecks start this weekend

The annual holiday CounterAttack campaign is kicking off this weekend with roadchecks set up across the province.

The B.C. government, police and ICBC are urging drivers to plan ahead and make smart decisions to get home safely this holiday season.

Impaired driving remains a leading cause of fatal car crashes, with an average of 68 lives lost every year in B.C. Police across the province will be setting up roadchecks to keep impaired drivers off our roads throughout December.

For more than 40 years, ICBC has supported impaired driving education campaigns and funded CounterAttack enhanced police enforcement. ICBC also provides free special event permit kits for businesses, sports facilities and community groups to promote the get home safe message.

ICBC is a sponsor of Operation Red Nose, a volunteer service in 19 B.C. communities that provides safe rides to drivers who feel unfit to drive, no matter the reason. This service is available November 30 until December 31 on Friday and Saturday nights, including New Year’s Eve.

Next fiscal year, ICBC will be directing additional funding to police traffic enforcement throughout the province without increasing the operating budget.  The funding will come from ICBC’s annual advertising budget. This shift in focus will help get more police officers on the road to crack down on risky driving behaviors and help prevent crashes.

Get more stats and facts from ICBC’s infographic and learn more about the CounterAttack campaign on icbc.com.

Quotes:

Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General

“Generations of B.C. drivers and passengers have grown up with CounterAttack’s deterrent messages and stepped-up seasonal enforcement. With cannabis now legal in Canada, we’re determined to preserve CounterAttack’s life-saving benefits in detecting alcohol- and drug-affected drivers and removing them from B.C.’s roads.”

Chief Constable Neil Dubord, Chair of the B.C. Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee

“Police officers across the province will be working hard to keep impaired drivers off our roads this December. Driving while impaired by alcohol or any drug, legal or otherwise, has been against the law for many years, and that hasn’t changed. Do your part this holiday season and look out for family and friends – take a stand and don’t let them get behind the wheel impaired.”

Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s vice-president responsible for road safety

“We want everyone to enjoy the holidays with family and friends so make sure you plan ahead for a safe ride home. Whether you’re attending a holiday get-together or meeting friends to watch a game, if your festivities involve alcohol, please leave your car at home or find an alternate way to get home safe – use a designated driver, call a taxi, take transit or use Operation Red Nose.”

Statistics:*

  • On average, 17 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in the Lower Mainland every year.

  • On average, 10 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving on Vancouver Island every year.

  • On average, 23 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in the Southern Interior every year.

  • On average, 19 people are killed in crashes involving impaired driving in North Central B.C. every year.

Editor’s notes:

Lower Mainland media are invited to attend an evening CounterAttack roadcheck on Saturday, December 1 in Vancouver. Please contact Joanne Bergman, 604-314-3138, for location.

Several police detachments throughout B.C. will also invite media to attend CounterAttack roadchecks in their communities on December 1.

B-roll footage of a CounterAttack roadcheck is available for download.

Notes about the data:

*Fatal victim counts from police data based on five-year average from 2013 to 2017. Impaired is defined to include alcohol, illicit drugs and medicines.

That’s a bad look! 793 distracted driving offences sets another Traffic Safety Spotlight record

Read more

Committee recommends how Humboldt Broncos donations should be divided

A committee recommending how to distribute $15.2 million raised in a GoFundMe campaign after the Humboldt Broncos bus crash says more money should be given to the families of those who died than to those who were injured.

The advisory group, which is made up of five people, suggests that the court approve a total payout of $525,000 for each of the 16 families who lost a loved one in April when the junior hockey team’s bus and a semi collided in rural Saskatchewan. It is also recommending a total of $475,000 for each of the 13 surviving players.

Both payouts would include an interim payment of $50,000 already approved in August.

A committee report released Thursday, November 22, 2018 said the figures are based on discussions with the 29 families in the last few months.

“Each and every member of the advisory committee understands all too well that no amount of money will replace the loved ones lost by family members, partners and close friends,” said the report.

“They also understand that those survivors who may have been permanently disabled as a result of the accident would never choose money over their ability to live the life they once had.”

The majority of families said in their initial reports that the GoFundMe money should be divided and paid to each family in equal amounts.

“They gave different reasons for that opinion,” the committee wrote. “One reason was that it would be the easiest and simplest approach.”

Officials said two other themes emerged as they continued their discussions: that an equal amount was always intended, and that the 29 families had become friends since the crash and didn’t want the payouts to damage those relationships.

Three families said the “only choice” was splitting the money equally, but it became clear to the committee that not all of the families supported the idea.

“A number of families of those who lost their lives in the crash feel that they have been more adversely affected than the survivors and their families,” said the report.

In its analysis, the committee said it agrees that the fundraiser was intended to benefit all 29 people on the bus, but noted that dividing it equally among the families wouldn’t necessarily be fair and reasonable.

“The first most obvious difference is that 16 of the 29 passengers on the bus died, leaving their loved ones with profound grief, anguish and depression,” committee members said.

“The other 13 passengers have their life. Some of those 13 have their health. Their families can celebrate their survival and take pride in their accomplishments.

“There is a huge difference in emotional circumstances between most of the families who lost a loved one and most of the families who did not.”

The committee said the circumstances of the survivors are also far from equal, but the families of the four most severely injured players strongly believed all the survivors should be treated the same.

“They were simply not motivated by monetary concerns,” said the report. “One parent told us that what they needed was prayers, not money.”

The recommendations still need to be approved at a court appearance set for Wednesday.

Committee members included retired Saskatchewan justice Dennis Ball; Mark Chipman, chairman of the company that owns the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets; Olympic gold medallist Hayley Wickenheiser; Dr. Peter Spafford, who’s in charge of head and neck surgery at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine; and Kevin Cameron, executive director of the Canadian Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response.

All of the people involved in the crash will still be entitled to money from any insurance payouts. Some have also received help from individual fundraisers.

Mall parking lot crashes peak in December; ICBC provides Drive Smart tips for holiday shopping season

Source: ICBC:

As the holiday shopping season officially kicks off this week for Black Friday, ICBC is asking drivers to prioritize safety over finding the perfect parking spot. About 150,000 crashes happened in parking lots last year resulting in 5,400 injuries*.

While most parking lot crashes happen at low speeds and only result in vehicle damage, dealing with the aftermath of a crash is the quickest way to turn anyone into a Grinch. ICBC receives hundreds of thousands of vehicle damage claims every year, with costs exceeding $1.5 billion.

Based on a sample of mall parking lots in B.C.***:

  • An average of 200 crashes occurred at mall parking lots in 2017.
  • Most crashes occur in December.
  • Most crashes occur between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Most crashes occur on a Friday or Saturday.

Although some mistakenly believe that driving in parking lots is ‘safer’ due to lower travel speeds, drivers need to continue practicing their safe driving habits, even while travelling in parking lots. Parking lots present drivers with unique challenges such as increased congestion and heavy pedestrian activity. The holiday season could add a layer of distraction with people more apt to be preoccupied with their shopping list or finding a parking spot.

Drivers are encouraged to apply a bit of holiday cheer, be courteous and have a bit more patience during this time of year with these Drive Smart tips from ICBC:

The rules of the road still apply, even on private property: Drivers should know that the law still applies, even in mall parking lots. Avoid cutting diagonally through a lot – travel only in the appropriate lanes. Don’t use your phone while driving, instead, program your navigation or holiday tunes before you start your car.
Have your car facing out in your parking spot: This position is safest for drivers because it helps you avoid the risk of reversing into a lane with potential blind spots when leaving.
Park further away, if you can: Instead of circling endlessly to get a spot that’s closest to the mall entrance, pick a spot that’s further away. You’ll avoid a high-traffic area where you’re more likely to crash with another vehicle or hit a pedestrian.
Slow down and be on alert: Drivers should drive slowly in parking lots to have enough time to react to an unexpected vehicle backing out of their parking spot or an unanticipated pedestrian, especially young children, who may be harder to see.
Pay attention to the arrows and stop signs: Many parking lots are quite narrow, restricting certain lanes to a single direction. Pay attention to the signs and markings on the road to avoid getting into a crash.
Don’t block traffic: Deciding to follow a shopper, then waiting for them to load their car, buckle up and leave, jams up traffic behind you and likely takes you much longer than if you had just found a spot further away. Sitting idle in a lane can leave you vulnerable to a collision, and you could be blocking other drivers who are trying to leave.

Let it go: No sense in having a showdown with another driver for a parking spot. Move along, and maybe that good karma will net you something really nice this season.

The number of crashes in B.C. peaked in 2017, with 350,000 crashes happening in the year, or 960 a day. The total cost of claims in 2017 was $4.8 billion, or $13 million a day.

IBC Issues Position Paper on Automated Vehicles

Source: IBC

During its annual Regulatory Affairs Symposium this month (November 2018), Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) released a position paper, Auto Insurance for Automated Vehicles: Preparing for the Future of Mobility.

The recommendations in the paper were developed over the past two years by auto insurance experts, who in turn, received input from a panel of legal advisors. IBC would like to thank the insurer representatives who worked on developing the recommendations in this paper, as well as the panel of legal experts who advised them.

The paper contains three recommendations that update both provincial insurance laws and federal vehicle safety standards:

  1. Establish a single insurance policy that covers driver negligence and automated technology malfunctions to facilitate liability claims;
  2. Establish a legislated data-sharing arrangement between vehicle manufacturers and vehicle owners and/or insurers to help determine the cause of a collision; and
  3. Update the federal vehicle safety standards to address new technology and cyber security standards.

“Automated vehicles are coming to Canada’s roads, and the laws that govern insurance and vehicle safety need to be updated to reflect this reality,” said Don Forgeron, President and CEO, IBC. “We need changes to the provincial insurance laws across the country to ensure that collision victims continue to be compensated in a timely manner.”

Each province has a prescribed auto insurance policy and supporting laws that are not yet designed for automated vehicles. Currently, they are built on the notion that human error is the primary cause of collisions. As humans cede control of driving to automated technology, the collisions that do occur will be caused increasingly by product malfunction. The current laws will create uncertainty and confusion for some people injured in collisions that involve automated vehicles, possibly delaying treatment for their injuries and claims payouts.

Several major auto manufacturers expect to have automated vehicles available for purchase in the early 2020s. IBC is asking governments across the country to update relevant laws, to ensure we are ready when automated vehicles hit the roads.

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