Newfoundland and Labrador cracking down on impaired driving

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) congratulates the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for announcing legislation to make changes to the Highway Traffic Act. The proposed changes would crack down on impaired driving and introduce stiffer penalties for this serious crime.

“IBC fully supports the government’s proposed changes and we welcome this fantastic announcement,” said Amanda Dean, Vice President, Atlantic, IBC. “Impaired driving takes far too many lives and it’s something that can be easily avoided. Property and casualty insurers are committed to working with governments across Canada to reduce impaired driving and to keep our roads safe for everyone. This is an important step and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is to be commended for this legislation.”

According to the government, the proposed amendments would expand the province’s vehicle impoundment program. Specifically, it would make it mandatory for a police officer to order the vehicle of an impaired driver to be impounded immediately. The proposed changes would also include the introduction of a mandatory ignition interlock program as a condition for a convicted driver’s licence reinstatement. Further, drivers who are younger than 22 years of age will be required to maintain a blood alcohol content of zero per cent. This would give young drivers the opportunity to form good driving habits that separate alcohol consumption from driving.

“IBC is encouraging all MHAs to support these important changes,” added Dean. “Our industry will keep working with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to help reduce this senseless, dangerous, and completely avoidable crime.”

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 120,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $49 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau and @IBC_Atlantic or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1‑844‑2ask-IBC.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE Insurance Bureau of Canada

Thousands of customers set to #TakeTheWheel in national campaign, running March 1 – 31

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Distracted driving returns as the traffic safety spotlight for the month of March.

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B.C. kids at risk from second-hand child car seats and installation mistakes

A new BCAA survey reveals many parents take risks when transporting their kids such as using a second-hand child car seat and not checking regularly for proper installation.

The survey, by Insights West for BCAA, asks parents for their views and behaviours around driving with their kids. BCAA’s Community Impact Senior Manager, Shawn Pettipas, says everyday mistakes could put children at risk.

The survey confirms most parents install their child car seats themselves but many don’t do regular checks and some have doubts:

  • Half (51%) don’t check regularly that their child’s seat is properly installed.
  • 21% are not certain that their child is properly installed in the child car seat.
  • 17% aren’t sure if the seat is correct for their child’s age and weight.
  • 66% install seats themselves.
  • 25% have their car seat checked by a certified expert.

While the survey also indicates many parents and caregivers feel certain they’re using the correct car seat correctly, Pettipas and his team of child car seat specialists see something different first-hand.

“We were surprised with the survey results because at every one of our car seat clinics, we find so many seats improperly installed, kids in the wrong type of seat, second-hand seats, and worried parents baffled after realizing how much they don’t know,” says Pettipas who manages child car seat programs for BCAA. The bottom line is that many parents simply don’t know what they don’t know and may be making mistakes.”

The survey also revealed that second-hand child car seats are an area of much uncertainty for parents:

  • Half (50%) believe it’s safe to use a second-hand seat as long as it’s in “good condition.”
  • Almost one in five (18%) use a second-hand seat (from friends, family or bought from sites like Craigslist)
  • 29% of parents who use a second-hand seat admit to not knowing the history of the seat.

“Just because it looks good doesn’t mean it’s safe. Not knowing the full history of a second-hand car seat means parents can’t be absolutely certain of the seat’s condition and this can put their kid at risk,” Pettipas says. “From using the wrong type of car seat to improper installation, we understand mistakes can happen and BCAA wants to help by raising awareness about common mistakes and offering support to help parents do even more to protect their children.”

BCAA’s child car seat website, bcaa.com/carseats offers a wealth of car seat information including step-by-step installation instructions with images and printable checklists to help parents and caregivers use child car seats and booster seats correctly.

BCAA’s key tips for child car seat safety include:

1.     Use correct child car seat for child’s age and size. Take note of weight and height limits for car seats.

2.     Ensure proper installation. Read vehicle and child car seat manuals before using child car seat. Proper installation includes the child car seat being placed on an appropriate vehicle seat, positioned correctly and properly secured.

3.     Find a local car seat clinic. Parents and caregivers can attend workshops like ones offered by BCAA to learn more and receive hands-on installation education. If a car seat clinic is unavailable in your area or you have questions, contact BCAA’s Child Passenger Safety information line at 1-877-247-5551.

4.     Ensure your child is properly placed and secured in the car seat.

  • Adjust harness straps to the correct height: Rear-facing (below child’s shoulders) or forward-facing (above the shoulders)
  • Both harness strap latches should be fastened (both have been clicked into the buckle).
  • Harness straps are snug (only room for one finger or less between harness and child’s collar bone).
  • Chest clip positioned at the child’s armpit level.

5.     Regularly check car seat position and condition.

  • Wiggle test: Hold car seat at the belt path and give it a side-to-side wiggle. Car seat should not move sideways more than 2.5 cm (1 inch).
  • Look for signs of wear and tear such as frayed harnesses, torn padding, cracks in the shell. Clean out every day crumbs and dirt from around the straps and buckle.

6.     If a second-hand car seat must be used, be absolutely certain of its full history. Ensure the seat hasn’t been involved in any collision or dropped. Check for recalls and ensure it is within its expiry date.

BCAA is dedicated to the safe transportation of children. For the past four years BCAA, has donated more than 7,000 new child car seats to families in need across B.C. through the Community Child Car Seat Program, in partnership with United Way of the Lower Mainland. This June, BCAA will provide another thousand seats, bringing the total donation to 8,000 car seats.

Applications for the Community Child Car Seat Program are now being accepted from February 16 until March 6, 2017. Community programs offered by registered non-profit agencies throughout B.C. are eligible to apply and encouraged to visit bcaa.com/carseatprogram for program details and to apply online.

About the Survey
Results of the survey are based on an online study conducted from January 30 to February 2, 2017, among a representative sample of 401 British Columbian adults who drive a car and have a child car seat. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error – which measures sample variability is +/-4.9 percentage points.

About BCAA
The most trusted organization in British Columbia by its Members, BCAA serves 1 in 3 B.C. households with industry-leading products including home, auto and travel insurance, roadside assistance, Evo Car Share and full auto service at BCAA’s Auto Service Centres. BCAA has a long history focused on keeping kids safe on the road and at play through safety programs such as its School Safety Patrol, Community Child Car Seat Program and most recently, BCAA Play Here which, in its first year, provided $260,000 to revitalize kids’ play spaces in B.C. Please visit bcaa.com.

SOURCE British Columbia Automobile Association

#RoadSafety: Know Before You Go

The beginning of this month was not a good one for many road users in the province with the weather related closure of 3 major east – west highway routes. Road maintenance contractors generally maintain our roads in good condition for safe driving, but when weather overwhelms their resources it should not be a surprise when road closures are the result. If you choose to travel during major weather events your mantra should be Know Before You Go or perhaps even simply Don’t Go.

One news report that I saw found a television reporter interviewing eastbound motorists who were stuck in a closure waiting for the Coquihalla Highway to reopen. The reporter asked one person if they had sufficient notice of the situation. There was a short pause and then a shake of the head. No, “they” could have done a better job was the response. Another related that they were keeping hunger at bay by eating chips and cookies.

This significant weather event should not have been a surprise to anyone. It was not the first storm in recent days and was warned about by every weather report I saw in the days prior to it. DriveBC had a travel warning posted on their web site. Social media was full of stories.

I wonder what the overhead variable message sign had to say for points east of Hope, but I’m guessing that it was not encouraging everyone with a report of good winter driving conditions.

Having chosen to continue the voyage after some consideration, the first responsibility for your health and safety falls to you. Proper winter clothing, food, water, sleeping bags or blankets, flashlights, candles and matches are a few personal supplies to have along. True winter tires, a shovel, tow rope, triangles, flares and some spares would be good choices to add to your vehicle.

Stopping in Hope to top up the fuel tank would have been a good choice to make too, especially if you don’t follow the precautionary habit of operating on the top half of the tank.

Regardless of your state of preparation, continued assessment of conditions is mandatory. If you anticipate problems then that is the time to either turn around and head for home or at least find the nearest motel to wait for improvement. Being warm and dry with a full stomach beats sitting on the highway idling your fuel away wondering what will happen.

In a major weather event like this one, “they” are overwhelmed trying to do their jobs to keep you moving or get you moving again. “They” don’t have the time or the resources to hold your hand and make sure that you are all right. If you need it, rescue could be a long time coming. First and foremost, it’s all up to you.

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