Distracted driving is a trend on the rise

Canada Safety Council

It’s a scene that is far too familiar on roads across Canada: a cell phone sounds an alert, the driver reaches for the phone, and in the short time it takes to read the screen, a collision has occurred.

Distracted driving is a trend on the rise, a dangerous and life-threatening behaviour that must be stopped. To mark this year’s National Safe Driving Week, the Canada Safety Council and the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC) share a crucial message: distraction behind the wheel is entirely preventable. Just don’t do it.

The Statistics

Distracted driving statistics are understated because distraction isn’t always easy to prove. In fatal accidents where distraction was a possible factor, there may not be evidence of phone usage or, sadly, a living witness to tell the story. This has resulted in a significant underreporting of the issue – still, the data currently available reveals staggering numbers.

According to Transport Canada, distraction was a contributing factor in 21 per cent of fatal collisions and 27 per cent of collisions resulting in serious injury in 2016. Comparatively, those numbers were reported at 16 and 22 per cent, respectively, in 2006.

The Canadian Council of Motor Transportation Administrators (CCMTA) provides further context to these numbers: 1.7 per cent of fatal collisions and 1.9 per cent of collisions resulting in serious injury involved electronic communication devices between 2010–14. While more recent statistics are not available, the prevalence of mobile devices in today’s society makes it a reasonable assumption that these numbers, too, are on the rise.

And if you’re fortunate enough to avoid injury or fatality, you’ll still be subject to fines and potentially demerit points depending on your province. Refer to this chart by the Canadian Automobile Association for a detailed breakdown.

To further compound the financial costs, your auto insurance premiums could sharply increase if you’re found to have been operating a vehicle while distracted.

“Insurance is all about risk, and distracted driving is an extremely risky behavior,” said Peter Braid, Chief Executive Officer of IBAC. “That’s why insurance brokers are partnering with the Canada Safety Council to raise awareness of the danger and encourage drivers to keep their eyes on the road. The stakes are high – death, injury, property damage, fines and rising insurance premiums. Whatever the distraction, it’s not worth the risk.”

 

text notification bubble with ellipsis looking like traffic light

The challenge

The challenge in addressing this issue is cognitive dissonance and, where distracted driving is concerned, willingly engaging in behaviours that are known to contribute to the likelihood of collisions. Studies in provinces across Canada have borne out the same result: a majority of drivers understand that distracted driving is dangerous and illegal; yet, the same respondents report using their devices behind the wheel anyway.

“Personal accountability is a major component of society’s role in reducing distracted driving deaths,” said Gareth Jones, president of the Canada Safety Council. “If you’re in the majority of road users who understand the risks, you owe it to your family and to fellow road users to put the phone away and otherwise minimize distractions.  It’s a choice that each of us has completely within our control.  Building a culture of safe driving happens one person and one decision at a time, so let’s choose well.”

 

Other types of distraction

While the topic of distracted driving is often discussed in the context of texting and calling behind the wheel, other forms of distraction exist and can also be harmful. Distracted driving is characterized as any action that removes your focus from the road. This can include eating, adjusting music, heat or GPS, applying makeup and interacting with passengers in the vehicle.

 

Tips to avoid distraction behind the wheel

  • Put your phone on silent or on Do Not Disturb mode. You won’t be tempted by an alert you don’t hear.
  • Even better, use an app or a built-in function that activates a Do Not Disturb feature automatically when connected to your vehicle’s Bluetooth or when increased speed is detected. See the enclosed tip sheet for examples.
  • Out of sight, out of mind – put your phone in a glove compartment, a zipped purse or knapsack, or even the back seat.
  • Make sure to leave enough time in your schedule to eat and groom before getting in the car.
  • Ensure that your temperature, music and GPS are set before you leave.
  • If it’s really that important, pull over.

Above all else, remember that driving is a potentially deadly task that requires your full attention. You wouldn’t take a call while operating a bulldozer; why do the same with a vehicle capable of going at much higher speeds?

Why not file auto claims right at collision facility?

A system where auto body shops filed claims on behalf of their customers could improve life for the repairer, consumer and insurer, Bodyshop Booster CEO Ryan Taylor proposed recently.

It was no different than what already occurred in the dental field, Taylor argued at the Nov. 8, 2019, SCRS IDEAS Collide event at SEMA.

Taylor said shops were in a race to the customer with parties like dealers, OEMs and insurers, calling such parties “influencers.”

The trick was to get repairers “as far upstream as possible,” he said.

Taylor said Bodyshop Booster started noticing that customers “more and more” were contacting body shops before filing a claim. He listed potential reasons like rising deductibles, fear of premiums increasing with a claim or a collision appearing on CARFAX.

The company had a call center in Toronto, Canada, contact a few thousand shops pretending to be a customer seeking an estimate, Taylor said.

For 94 percent of repairers, the first question was “‘Is this going through insurance?’” he said.

When told it was, 83 percent told the customer to call their insurer first, according to Taylor.

“We just relinquished the race,” he said.

READ MORE HERE:

Bodyshop Booster: Why not file auto claims right at collision facility?

 

Choosing an Auto Insurance Carrier in Canada

(Newswire.net — January 8, 2020) — Owning a vehicle can provides you with a wealth of freedom and autonomy, but it also comes with its fair share of responsibility. Indeed, after signing on the dotted line, car owners still have some work to do. Specifically, they must obtain auto insurance.

While car owners may naturally ask, “What is the cheapest car insurance?” a better approach would be to ask which car insurance company provides the best value for your money. This strategy is more likely to result in you obtaining car insurance that covers all your needs while remaining budget friendly.

Mandatory Insurance Coverage

Every Canadian province requires car owners to carry basic auto insurance. Now, specific requirements vary by province, but all policies must include liability coverage and coverage for bodily injury from accidents. Additionally, lending a car to someone who isn’t on your policy could adversely affect your insurance or premium if that person is involved in an accident.

Liability coverage covers losses, injury or death caused to other passengers in an owner’s vehicle or in other vehicles, as well injuries or death suffered by pedestrians. If the amount of a car owner’s liability insurance doesn’t completely cover all injuries, the balance must be paid out of pocket by the car owner.

Benefits for bodily injury cover the cost of a car owner’s own medical expenses and loss of income resulting from a car accident. This coverage is automatic for drivers in Quebec, with premiums included in the cost of their driver’s license registration.

Optional Insurance Coverage

Optional collision insurance covers the repair or replacement costs for an owner’s car that collides with another car or something else. Comprehensive insurance is also optional and covers repair costs to an owner’s car from damage, theft or vandalism.

Additional optional insurance covers costs like rental car allowance, emergency roadside assistance and replacement value coverage for a totaled car. Drivers with good records may be eligible for first-time accident forgiveness, which prevents premium increases after an at-fault accident.

Insurance Coverage for Rideshare Drivers

Did you know motorists who drive for rideshare companies may have difficulty obtaining insurance? Many carriers will raise premiums or cancel insurance policies if they discover policyholders are driving for rideshare companies. To compensate, rideshare companies often provide their own insurance for drivers

Rideshare services were previously outlawed in British Columbia. But under regulations that took effect in September 2019, rideshare drivers in the province must obtain blanket, per-kilometer auto insurance through the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. This insurance, which includes mandatory third-party liability and accident benefits, is only effective while the policyholder is driving for a rideshare service.

Money-Saving Tips for Auto Insurance

Even bare-bones mandatory auto insurance can represent a major expense. Some strategies to save money include dropping collision insurance for an older vehicle, accepting a higher deductible, and bundling multiple insurance policies with the same company. Choosing a car with a good safety rating can also translate to lower premiums, and good drivers can often save significant costs by installing telematic devices to monitor their driving habits.

Choosing the Right Auto Insurance Carrier

Choosing an auto insurance carrier depends on multiple factors, including car model, who’s driving the car, whether the car will be used for ridesharing and where the vehicle owner lives. However, savvy drivers know Kanetix offers fast quotes and great rates for the coverage they need. And because Kanetix has years of experience in the industry, car owners can be confident that their coverage will be there when they need it.

ICBC: a crash occurs every three minutes over the holidays

ICBC: a crash occurs every three minutes over the holidays

The holidays are here and many drivers will be traveling to visit family and friends to celebrate. With increased traffic and unpredictable road conditions, it’s important for everyone to be prepared and drive smart.

Over the Christmas holidays and New Year’s, 530 people are injured and two people are killed in 2,000 crashes every year in B.C.* That’s one crash every three minutes.

Here are ICBC’s tips to get home safe this holiday season:

  • Check your vehicle. Many B.C. highways require winter tires, labelled with either the mountain/snowflake symbol or the mud and snow (M+S) designation. Top up wiper fluid for clearer visibility and pack an emergency kit including blanket, food and water.

  • Slow down. Posted speed limits are for ideal conditions only. It takes more time and distance to come to a complete stop on wet, icy or snowy roads. Adjust your speed to the conditions and always maintain a safe travelling distance between vehicles.

  • Avoid distraction. Make important calls and program your GPS before you begin driving and let your family and friends know you’re not available while driving. If you’re on a longer drive, use highway rest stops to take a break and check your messages.

  • Take a break. Pull over as soon as you start to feel drowsy. Get out and walk around to get some fresh air. If that’s not enough, pull over to a safe area, turn off your car and take a nap.

  • Plan for a safe ride home. If your holiday festivities involve alcohol, plan ahead for a safe ride home: arrange a designated driver, call a taxi, take transit or use Operation Red Nose where available. There’s no excuse to drink and drive.

Christmas holiday statistics:*

  • During the Christmas holidays, on average, one person is killed and 350 people are injured in 1,300 crashes in B.C. every year.

  • During the Christmas holidays, on average, 260 people are injured in 810 crashes in the Lower Mainland every year.

  • During the Christmas holidays, on average, 69 people are injured in 340 crashes on Vancouver Island every year.

  • During the Christmas holidays, on average, 45 people are injured in 180 crashes in the Southern Interior every year.

  • During the Christmas holidays, on average, 15 people are injured in 87 crashes in the North Central region every year.

New Year’s statistics:*

  • Every year during New Year’s, on average, one person is killed and 180 people are injured in 700 crashes in B.C.

  • Every year during New Year’s, on average, 130 people are injured in 470 crashes in the Lower Mainland.

  • Every year during New Year’s, on average, 17 people are injured in 78 crashes on Vancouver Island.

  • Every year during New Year’s, on average, 15 people are injured in 95 crashes in the Southern Interior.

  • Every year during New Year’s, on average, nine people are injured in 48 crashes in the North Central region.

*Christmas is defined as 18:00 hours December 24 to midnight December 26. New Year’s is defined as 18:00 hours December 31st of the previous year to midnight January 1 of the New Year. ICBC data for injury and crashes based on five year average (2014 to 2018); police data for fatalities based on five year average (2013 to 2017).

Alberta strikes panel to review auto insurance, won’t bring back rate cap

By Dean Bennett | Canadian Press

Alberta is reviewing auto insurance in the province to ensure that the industry can remain viable and drivers can get affordable coverage.

Finance Minister Travis Toews says Albertans are paying some of the highest rates in Canada but are having trouble getting critical protection such as comprehensive and collision coverage.

But a five per cent annual cap on rate increases, introduced by the former NDP government and abandoned by his United Conservatives, is not coming back, he says.

“In the intermediate and long term it was no solution, and even in the short term it made a bad situation worse.”

Auto insurance rates in Alberta have been rising sharply in the last five years. It trend prompted the NDP government to cap global rate increases at five per cent annually for each insurer starting in 2017.

The new UCP government did not renew the cap in August, and some drivers have since reported getting notices of steep rises in rates of 12 per cent or more.

Insurers have said that under the cap they were losing money in Alberta, given more payouts for car theft, injury claims, repairs and catastrophes such as the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire.

Toews said the cap forced insurers to seek savings at the expense of drivers by, in some cases, refusing to offer critical protections.

In other cases, individual clients were still hit with steep increases as long as the overall hike by the insurer to all Alberta clients remained at five per cent.

“Under the cap, we had insurers getting squeezed … so Albertans were finding themselves with fewer and fewer insurance options,” said Toews.

A three-member committee headed by Chris Daniels has been asked to research and recommend solutions that work for all parties within the existing privately delivered system.

The committee is to report back in the spring. Toews said the government will take action as soon as possible after that.

Daniels, consumer representative on the Automobile Insurance Rate Board, said there is no single reason for rising costs, although technology has made what used to be minor damage no longer minor.

“A lot of the sensors of those new technologies are located in the windshield, so you have a windshield replacement that used to cost maybe $300 is now costing $1,500.”

The Insurance Bureau of Canada said it welcomes the review, particularly as it relates to injury claims.

“Increases in payouts for minor injuries have led the average claim size to increase by nearly 10 per cent per year,” bureau vice-president Celyeste Power said in a statement.

“Alberta’s three million drivers have said they want more affordable premiums, more choice, and care they can count on when they need it.”

Canadian insurance group snags second U.S. F&I company

The excerpted article was written by JACKIE CHARNIGA

Canadian insurance company iA Financial Group will acquire IAS Parent Holdings, a leading provider of finance and insurance products, for $720 million, both companies said last week. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2020.

The acquisition will further ingrain iA Financial Group in the U.S., as the Quebec City company seeks to capture a larger share of the nation’s $39 billion service contract market. This is iA’s second acquisition of a U.S. F&I product company. It closed on Ohio-based Dealers Assurance Co. in January 2018.

The market for service contracts — sometimes referred to as extended warranty products — is “highly-fragmented,” according to a statement from iA Financial Group CEO Denis Ricard. Opportunities for growth and consolidation are significant, he added.

IAS, of Austin, Texas, is the parent company of F&I vendor Innovative Aftermarket Systems, which sells vehicle warranties and other F&I products and related software to a network of more than 4,300 dealers nationwide. The company employs more than 600 people.

IAS CEO Patrick Brown told Automotive News that the company will continue expanding its dealer network and product offerings under new ownership.

“Over the years, we’ve gone from being just an ancillary provider to a really full-blown, very broad set of products and services that we provide to dealers,” Brown said, noting that the company recently acquired an equity-mining platform. Equity-mining software, also referred to as data-mining software, allows dealerships to sort through proprietary and consumer data to make business decisions.

“We’re really a technology company that just happens to be in the F&I space. A lot of the work that we’re doing is using technology to try to improve either the experience or the throughput at dealership locations and be able to help consumers have a better experience,” he said.

U.S. FOOTPRINT

Publicly traded iA Financial Group reported net income of $183.7 million Canadian in the third quarter, an increase of 11 percent year over year.

Dealers Assurance Co.is roughly half the size of IAS but boasts more dealership partners. It sold half a million F&I products last year, compared with 1.6 million sold by IAS, through more than 5,300 dealership partners, according to a report on the acquisition for iA investors. DAC collected $375 million in F&I product insurance premiums last year, while IAS took in $540 million.

DAC, of Dallas and Albuquerque, N.M., has 152 employees.

iA Financial Group purchased IAS from Genstar Capital, a San Francisco private equity group that has owned a majority share in IAS since 2011.

The acquisition of IAS is subject to obtaining the usual regulatory approvals in Canada and the United States and other conditions. Founded in 1892, iA Financial Group is one of the largest life and health insurance companies in Canada as well as one of the largest F&I providers for auto dealerships in Canada.

Source: https://canada.autonews.com

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