Car booster seats for kids are getting better, study says

Companies that make child booster seats for vehicles are getting better at designing them to protect kids, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said Thursday.

Of the 53 new booster seats IIHS tested, 48 received the non-profit’s highest rating. Two models of Cosco booster seats, made by Canadian company Dorel Juvenile, were not recommended. When IIHS first began rating booster seats about eight years ago, only a quarter of seats earned the highest rating.

“Parents looking for a safe option for kids who have outgrown seats with built-in harnesses have more choices than ever,” said Jessica Jermakian, a senior research engineer at IIHS.

Booster seats are made for children between 4 and 8 years old who have outgrown their car seats. The boosters help seat belts fit better on children. Kids who sit on the booster seats are 45 per cent less likely to be injured in a crash compared to just using seat belts alone, IIHS said. In 48 states and Washington, D.C., booster seats are required by law, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association.

The two models that were not recommended by IIHS are the Cosco Easy Elite and the Cosco Highback 2-in-1 DX, both of which are made by Dorel Juvenile. The IIHS said Dorel Juvenile designed seven other boosters that received its highest rating.

“It’s disappointing that they would introduce boosters that don’t do their job when they clearly know how to do it right,” Jermakian said.

Dorel Juvenile said in a statement that those two booster seats provide “excellent protection” and said it conducts about 5,000 crash tests each year on its products.


Parking Lots are Hazardous Places

backing-up-thumbnailI had a bit of a scare the other day when I tried to back out of a space in a busy parking lot. There was a large van beside me blocking my view so I scanned as completely as I could and began to let up on the clutch. No sooner had I started to roll than a woman paying more attention to her smart phone than where she was walking appeared from behind the van. We both slammed on the brakes and after looking at each other for a moment, she continued on her way.

I wondered just how dangerous parking lots were, so I asked about it and ICBC provided me with data for the five year period from 2011 to 2015. During that time there was an average of 2 deaths, 5,900 injuries and 120,000 property damage incidents each year. Parking lots do appear to be hazardous places!

Returning to my near miss with the pedestrian it occurs to me that most parking lots are designed only with vehicles in mind. Even then, the object seems to be to get as many vehicles into the lot as possible, crowding them together. The lane between lines of vehicles seem to be narrower as well.

There are usually no safe places to exclude the path of pedestrians from the path of vehicles.

Would it not be better to have a sidewalk with a row of parking on either side of it? You could park and walk safely between the rows of vehicles to and from the businesses. Vehicles would be prevented from crossing the level sidewalk area by curbs and the curbs would have gaps in them to allow you to move the shopping cart to your vehicle’s side doors.

I imagine that the biggest drawback to this design would be the difficulty with snow removal.

For my part, there were at least two things that I could have done to make this safer for the pedestrians. Backing into the parking spot would have afforded a better view when I tried to leave it and a gentle tap or two on the horn just before I moved would likely have called attention to me too.

The woman should not have been intent on her phone while walking along the edge of the corridor between vehicles. She could instead have been watching for illuminated backup lights that would tell her she needed to make eye contact with the driver before she walked behind the vehicle displaying them.

What really scares me is the possibility that the pedestrian could be a child that was a bit ahead of their parent. Since I don’t have a backup camera, it’s possible that they would not be taller than the top of my tailgate and I could drive over them without knowing anything was wrong until I felt the bump. That’s far too late.

From now on, I’m taking my own advice. If I can’t pull through the spaces to be nose out, I will be backing into my parking spot. There is a much smaller chance of colliding with something backing in than there will be when backing out.

Not walking the walk: 4 out of 10 Canadians admit to distracted walking

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Saskatchewan has the worst drunk driving rate of all the provinces.

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Making Way for Emergency Vehicles


A reader was travelling in a major municipality recently and was stopped in a large collection of vehicles waiting for a red light at the intersection of two multiple lane highways. Emergency vehicles using lights and sirens approached from the rear and tried to get through the traffic and the intersection. There was significant difficulty and the reader was curious how far forward vehicles could move into the cross flow of traffic to assist in clearing a path.

It’s a good question as I’m sure that we all want to do what we can to accommodate emergency services when someone is in need. However, does it mean that we should try to force our way through the red light and risk causing a collision to do so?

The obvious is to state that there is no exemption from having to remain stopped at the intersection when we are facing a red light.

For the average driver in a car or light truck, this should not present much difficulty if good driving practices have been followed. (Learn to Drive Smart, page 93)

Drivers in the front rank will have stopped behind the marked stop line. Generally this will leave at least a vehicle length of open space in front of them to move into without encountering cross traffic. Each subsequent vehicle, having stopped so that the driver can see pavement between the front of their hood and the back tires of the vehicle in front of them now have room to move to the side as well.

In the case of a divided street, the left lane goes left and the right lane goes right. Otherwise, everyone moves to the right. In either case, using your signal lights will tell everyone else that you have recognized the situation and warn them of what you intend to do.

Once the movement is complete, there is usually enough room for the emergency vehicles to go up the middle or use the left lane.

The most likely difficulty would occur when a long commercial vehicle is part of the group. They need more space to move into than a car does and might not be able to move enough to clear the way.

In this case we might have to do more than just move to the side. It might mean turning at the intersection instead of travelling straight through. Your inconvenience from having to do this may be miniscule compared to the need to get emergency services to the scene. This may be accomplished when the traffic lights are red before cross traffic recognizes the situation and stops.

All things considered, one solution to the issue will be waiting for the lights to change so that everyone can proceed safely. Emergency responses do not always turn out to involve a life threatening situation so waiting may be better than risking a crash.

If you decide that as a last resort, the only thing that you can do is disobey traffic rules and move into cross traffic you are taking a huge risk. If a collision were to occur, the courts and your insurance company will have to apply the laws as they stand to decide liability. Sympathy for your attempt to do the best in a bad situation will be noted but won’t affect the decision.

Reference Link:

Saskatchewan moves to fix loophole in law that bans cellphone use while driving

REGINA _ The Saskatchewan government is moving to close a loophole in its law that bans the use of hand-held cellphones while driving.

The province is changing the law to prohibit drivers from holding, viewing, using or manipulating a cellphone while driving.

The original legislation on cellphones while driving became law in Saskatchewan in 2010, but it referred to “using” a cellphone while driving.

Joe Hargrave, minister responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance, says too many people were contesting their tickets by saying they were just holding the phone.

A provincial court judge ruled in March 2015 that the legislation didn’t prohibit looking at electronic communication devices.

The decision came in a case where a driver was charged by police, but the driver argued that merely picking up his phone and looking at the screen wasn’t covered by the law.


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