Wednesday, June 28th, 2017
I saw it again the other day, a driver who was stopped at the beginning of an acceleration lane patiently signalling and looking for a large gap to join in with the passing traffic. Before you make a comment about gray hair, this could just as easily have been a new driver. I couldn’t tell as I drove past at 90 km/h.
Acceleration lanes are designed to give drivers the time and space to merge smoothly with traffic on the highway without causing other drivers to alter position or speed.
Generally, you may anticipate an acceleration lane when the right turn bay is not marked with a yield sign.
The Learn to Drive Smart guide
tells us that we should scan traffic to our left as we use the entrance ramp. Match the speed of traffic on the highway as you use the portion of the acceleration lane marked with a single solid white line on the left. Once you reach the area marked with a single broken white line on the left, merge into the space that you have selected.
Be wary of cyclists! This can be a time when you have many tasks to process at once and a bicycle may be more difficult to see in the stream of vehicular traffic.
Of course, if your vehicle is equipped with signal lights, this is a good time to use them. While it may seem obvious, you will be changing lanes so it is mandatory to signal
even if there is no other traffic present.
Due to the higher speeds usually involved here, using your observation skills is key. Look as far forward and back as you are able to in order to gauge the traffic you will have to merge into.
Scan to the rear and sides frequently and carefully, being especially aware of your own and other driver’s blind spots.
Finally, check your speed as it can be easy to accelerate too much without realising.
The aim in the successful use of acceleration lanes is to give yourself the longest possible time to react if things do not go as planned. Scanning increases your awareness and that serves to increase your safety.
Let’s go back to me driving past before we finish here. The driver I observed stopped in the acceleration lane was a strong indication that they might be confused. Moving into the left lane if possible would be the smart thing to do. Maintaining your space cushion
will protect you from that driver if they make another mistake and pull into the lane in front of you.
Wednesday, June 28th, 2017
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Takata’s lethally defective air bags proved to be the company’s undoing Monday. But it could take years to get the dangerous devices off the road in the U.S. and around the world.
Crushed by lawsuits, fines and recall costs, the Japanese
auto parts supplier filed for bankruptcy in Tokyo and Delaware and will sell most of its assets for $1.6 billion to a rival company. A small part of Takata will continue to manufacture replacements for the faulty air bag inflators.
The problem, though, is that 100 million of the Takata inflators worldwide have been recalled, 69 million in the U.S. alone in the biggest automotive recall in American history. It will take the industry years to produce that many replacements.
In the meantime, millions of car owners are forced to nervously wait for someone to fix a problem blamed for at least 16 grisly deaths worldwide, 11 of them in the United States. Many owners have been put on waiting lists by their dealers until the parts arrive.
“The big problem is the air bags are still out there. They’re like bombs waiting to explode,” said Billie-Marie Morrison, the lawyer for a young Las Vegas woman grievously injured by an exploding air bag in March.
In fact, the last batch of U.S. repairs is not scheduled to begin until September 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which is overseeing the recall.
“I don’t think I have any options,” lamented Marv Muller, the owner of a 2009 Subaru Impreza. “It’s really bad.”
Muller, a recruiter in New York, received a letter in January saying his car needed to have its passenger air bag repaired. He contacted a Subaru dealer, only to be told it didn’t have the parts.
He was put on a waiting list and told he would have his car repaired in June. It hasn’t happened yet.
In the U.S., more than 16 million inflators have been repaired so far, or 38 per cent of the total. In Japan, 70 per cent have been replaced, according to Takata. That’s partly because Japan won’t renew vehicle registrations unless recalls have been completed.
Because of the type of chemical propellant used by Takata, the defective air bags can inflate with too much force and spew deadly shrapnel at drivers and passengers. Takata sold the inflators to 19 automakers, including Toyota, Subaru, BMW, Honda, Ford and Nissan.
Takata’s bankruptcy filing clears the way for most of its assets to be taken over by Key Safety Systems, a Chinese-owned company based in suburban Detroit.
Takata President Shigehisa Takada said that with the company rapidly losing value, fiing for bankruptcy was the only way it could carry on.
“We’re in a very difficult situation, and we had to find ways to keep supplying our products,” Takada said.
Victims and their families fear the bankruptcy filing could leave little money left over to compensate them. Earlier this year, Takata pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges and agreed to pay $1 billion for concealing the defect for years. The penalties include $850 million in restitution to automakers, $125 million for victims and families and a $25 million criminal fine.
“Filing for bankruptcy is going to protect Takata financially, but it’s not going to protect drivers who have been injured or are going to be injured,” Morrison said.
Morrison’s 19-year-old client Karina Dorado was injured when the air bag in her 2002 Honda Accord deployed during an otherwise minor crash. Morrison said Dorado underwent several operations to repair neck and vocal cord injuries, but her voice will never sound the same.
Dorado’s car was found to have a defective Takata air bag that had been taken from another vehicle.
That illustrates another one of the headaches for regulators and automakers, who may never be able to trace all of the inflators that need to be repaired.
Lawmakers say the U.S. government needs to do a better job of ensuring the vehicles are fixed. Sen. Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat, pointed out that the Trump administration has yet to appoint someone to lead NHTSA.
In a statement, NHTSA said it has been assured by Takata that the bankruptcy won’t disrupt the flow of repair parts
The safety agency is also making sure older cars are fixed first, since the chemical Takata used in the air bags, ammonium nitrate, degrades over time, especially in hot, humid climates.
That worries Angela Dickie, 47, of Charleston, South Carolina, who owns a 2012 Volkswagen Passat with a Takata air bag.
While her vehicle is not as old as the 2001-03 model year vehicles that are considered a priority for repairs, it still makes Dickie nervous to drive it. She said Volkswagen also refused to provide her with a rental car while she waits for a repair.
“By the grace of God I drive the vehicle every day, just like every other person that has these vehicles, because we don’t have an option,” she said.
Wednesday, June 28th, 2017
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a collision which aggravated long-standing pre-existing health complications.
In today’s case (Cheema v. Khan
) the Plaintiff was disabled since 2003 due to arthritis and depression. She was involved in a 2012 collision that the Defendants admitted fault for. The collision aggravated her pre-existing issues. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $75,000 Chief Justice Hinkson provided the following reasons:
 There is no question that Ms. Cheema was unemployable after 2003. She had been on long-term disability from employment as a linen worker since 2004 due to rheumatoid arthritis and major depressive disorder. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in the 1990s. The pain was in her neck initially, followed by bilateral hand pain since 2000. Her rheumatoid arthritis affected her hands, wrists, feet, ankles and shoulders. In the month preceding the Collision, the plaintiff had a flare up of her rheumatoid arthritis. Since 2000, the plaintiff had also suffered from longstanding, severe and chronic major depressive disorder, chronic anxiety and panic attacks leading up to the Collision.
 I am unable to accept the plaintiff’s submission that her condition prior to the Collision was stable. She suffered from severe rheumatoid arthritis, Morton’s neuromas and a severe major depressive disorder prior to the Collision, and these conditions compromised her ability to ambulate, cook, clean and perform other household activities. I am satisfied that the plaintiff’s severe rheumatoid arthritis and severe depression waxed and waned prior to the Collision, but overall were worsening, and would have continued to worsen even if she had not been involved in the Collision.
 I find, however, that the Collision caused an aggravation of her pre-Collision neck, back and shoulder pain and headaches, and likely had a negative effect on the symptoms arising from her rheumatoid arthritis.
 I conclude that the plaintiff’s neck, back and shoulder pain and headaches were worsened by the Collision and that without the accident she would not have suffered from those difficulties as much as she has for the four years that have followed the Collision.
 I accept the evidence of Dr. Shuckett that stress has a negative effect on someone suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, and has had such an effect on the plaintiff and accelerated the progress of her disease.
 I am also persuaded that the Collision had a negative effect on the plaintiff’s psychiatric state that has resulted in a downward spiralling effect causing the plaintiff to brood about her physical condition and limit her activities, in turn worsening her depression, in turn compromising her participation in certain activities and so on…
 I assess the plaintiff’s non-pecuniary damages at $75,000.
Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
Excerpted article was written By Bernice Hillier, CBC News
You are running a risk if you drive without vehicle insurance, but it seems that’s a risk some drivers are willing to take.
Police in Newfoundland and Labrador say they nab hundreds of drivers each year for operating vehicles without insurance, and that doesn’t take into account how many more might just be not getting caught.
Doris Butt of Corner Brook says more needs to be done to crack down on uninsured drivers.
She ended up with a $1,700 repair bill in 2010 after her vehicle was in a collision with an uninsured driver.
“They do not have a right to be on the road unprotected when the rest of us are doing our utmost to drive carefully and pay our premiums to make sure that we’re protected and those around us are protected,” said Butt.
“And yet some people go out and they’re so careless about those matters. It’s just totally unfair to the rest of us.”
Doris Butt’s former vehicle was damaged in a collision with an uninsured driver in 2010. (Cherie Wheeler/CBC)
Nothing accidental about it
Butt told the Corner Brook Morning Show
that she tried to get the person responsible for that 2010 accident to pay for the damage to her car, but she didn’t get any co-operation.
So she instead went through her own insurance policy and had to pay a $300 deductible for an accident that wasn’t her fault. She says it was a long process and a hassle she shouldn’t have had.
Fortunately, in Butt’s case, no one was injured.
Amanda Dean is Atlantic vice-president of the Insurance Bureau of Canada. (Insurance Bureau of Canada )
The part of a car owner’s policy that kicks in when you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver is called Section D, and all insured vehicles in Newfoundland and Labrador must carry that coverage.
If you’re a pedestrian or cyclist hit by an uninsured driver, it’s still your own vehicle insurance that pays out.
‘There’s clearly a problem out there.’– Amanda Dean
Amanda Dean of the Insurance Bureau of Canada said there are more claims under Section D in Newfoundland and Labrador per capita than any other province in Atlantic Canada.
“That is concerning because what that tells us is there’s a higher number of uninsured drivers creating claims, whether it’s injuring other people, or running into a car and causing damage to that car, or even running into a home and causing damage.”
We all pay more
Dean said that ends up costing all drivers more as they collectively pay out claims for accidents that weren’t their fault, so all premiums go up.
In 2015, the total value of all insurance claims filed in this province was more than $266 million, which Dean said is a “pretty steep number” considering Newfoundland and Labrador’s small population.
“When you consider that some of these claims are driven by folks who have no insurance, there’s clearly a problem out there.”
RNC says it ticketed 743 uninsured drivers in St. John’s, Corner Brook and Labrador West in 2016. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)
Police agree that too many people are driving uninsured vehicles.
They pull over drivers all the time only to find that the vehicle doesn’t have insurance and, in many cases, the motorist may be driving an unregistered vehicle, and sometimes driving without a licence.
Numbers provided to CBC by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary show that, in 2016, the police force caught 743 drivers operating a vehicle without insurance in areas of its jurisdiction (St. John’s, Corner Brook and Labrador West).
In the rest of the province, the RCMP say they ticketed 296 drivers for not having their vehicles insured.
The RNC told CBC it seizes any uninsured vehicles it pulls over, and has them towed from the scene. The only way the owner is allowed to get back the vehicle is by producing a valid insurance policy and paying the tow bill and any other outstanding fines.
The Highway Traffic Act outlines fines for uninsured drivers that can range from $2,000 for a first offence up to a possible $5,000, or jail time.
Perry Trimper, minister of Service N.L., which is responsible for insurance legislation in the province, said fines for driving without insurance are hefty but not the complete solution, because someone still has to track down uninsured drivers.
Service NL Minister Perry Trimper says an upcoming review of vehicle insurance may consider ways to better track uninsured drivers. (Cal Tobin/CBC)
Trimper said one way to tackle that challenge is to have licence plates assigned to vehicle owners, instead of vehicles, so that when you sell your car, your plate goes with you, and this would allow the Motor Registration Division to better track drivers who’ve driven uninsured.
The other is to require insurance companies to alert the Motor Registration Division when someone cancels a policy, so it can follow up to make sure the person is not driving without coverage.
Trimper said a detailed review of vehicle insurance is planned, and he told CBC that will be announced very soon.
In the meantime, Amanda Dean of the Insurance Bureau of Canada advises, “If you know of somebody who doesn’t have insurance, report it. They are breaking the law and they are putting people’s lives at risk.”
Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
In today’s world of extreme weather events, $1 billion has become the new normal for yearly catastrophic losses – most of this is due to water-related damage.
Flooding and related sewer backup damage is costly for homeowners, businesses, municipalities and insurance companies. But, there are steps you can take to help mitigate risk.
From ensuring that important documents are not stored in your basement to installing a sump pump, there are many ways to be proactive such as:
- Keep a current and detailed home inventory.
- If your neighbourhood is prone to flooding, take precautions throughout your house and property.
- Assemble a disaster safety kit.
- Create a 72-hour emergency preparedness plan for your family.
Rest Easier. Know What’s Covered.
Talk to your insurance representative to make sure you have appropriate coverage. Be aware that:
- Damage to your home caused by the sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes and appliances is usually covered by all home insurance policies.
- Historically in Canada, home insurance policies haven’t covered loss or damage caused by overland flood damage, which occurs when bodies of water, such as rivers, dams overflow onto dry land. This has begun to change. Some Canadian insurers have started to offer overland flood coverage for policyholders but this type of coverage is new on the market and not all insurers are offering it. Check with yours to see if it is available and if you qualify for the coverage because if you live in a known flood plain, the coverage may not be available.
- Water damage in a basement that backs up through sewers, floor drains, toilets and showers maybe covered if your policy covers sewer back up or you may have purchased the coverage as an optional endorsement. So speak to your insurance representative to understand what coverage and limits you have.
- Damage to homes caused by hail or wind is usually covered. This includes damage caused by flying debris or falling branches or trees, or damage caused by water entering through sudden openings caused by wind or hail.
- If Comprehensive or All Perils coverage has been purchased on your auto policy, damage to vehicles from wind, hail or water is usually covered. This coverage is not mandatory, so check your policy.
- In certain circumstances, homeowners who must leave their home due to insurable damage are usually entitled to additional living expenses (ALE) speak to your insurance representative to understand the coverage you purchased.
Tips For Starting The Claim Process
- Call your insurance representative or company. Most insurers have a 24-hour claims service. Be as detailed as possible when providing information.
- List all damaged or destroyed items. If possible, assemble proofs of purchase, photos, receipts and warranties. Take photos of damage incurred and keep damaged items, unless they pose a health hazard.
- Keep all receipts related to cleanup and living expenses if you’ve been displaced. Ask your insurance representative about what expenses you may be entitled to and for what period of time.
Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
Longboard rider faces legal battle after $598 ticket for using electric board - ILSTV.com
A Vancouver man has pulled the plug on his electric skateboard after receiving a $598 ticket the first time he took it out on the street.
Daniel Dahlberg said he was riding the longboard, marketed as a Boosted Board, on Friday, June 9, 2017 down a hill in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood when he was pulled over by police.
The board can be used as a normal skateboard but also has a battery attached to the bottom, giving the wheels enough torque to push a rider up a steep hill.
Dahlberg said he hadn’t even engaged the battery yet, but his maiden voyage was also the first time he learned from a police officer that riders need insurance.
“I asked him, I had no idea, how do I get insurance, and he told me that there isn’t any to purchase, it doesn’t exist,” Dahlberg said.
“I kinda stared at him. I was trying to think of a way to respond to that because it doesn’t make any sense to me, and then he hands me a $598 ticket.
“Not once was I warned about this or did I read about this.”
Dahlberg has filed notice that he intends to dispute the ticket and said he had already received offers of support after posting about his predicament online.
“I’ve had a lot of attention from that and a lot of people reaching out to me with advice, retired B.C. lawyers who are interested in offering me advice,” he said.
The local boarding community was also rallying, Dahlberg said.
Online checks show the boards sell in shops in Vancouver for more than $2,100 and Dahlberg said the store where his board was purchased has been selling them for at least two years.
But Dahlberg said his board isn’t rolling anywhere, anymore.
“Luckily the manufacturer of the board has a 30-day return policy. So I have already been in touch with them and I’ll be sending back my board for the time being because I don’t really see a reason to use it if I’ll get another fine like this,” he said.
“And then I’ll contest the ticket in court.”
The court process is just beginning and Dahlberg said he didn’t know when the matter might be heard.
Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
Economical simplifies its business with changes to legal entities - ILSTV.com
As Economical Insurance
continues its journey to become a public company, it is migrating to a simpler legal entity structure while continuing to offer a wide range of products and excellent service to broker partners and customers.
Currently, Assurance Economical
in Quebec is underwritten by The Missisquoi Insurance Company; Economical Select
group car and home insurance is underwritten by Waterloo Insurance Company; and Perth special risk insurance is underwritten by Perth Insurance Company.
Going forward, Assurance Economical, Economical Select, Perth, and Western General will be underwritten by a single legal entity — Economical Mutual Insurance Company.
“We’re streamlining our legal entities for improved efficiency and better alignment with our distribution channels,” said Tom Reikman, Chief Distribution Officer at Economical. “A simpler structure lets us focus on customers first and deliver the most value to our broker partners.”
The operational and regulatory steps to process this change are now under way and will be effective sometime in 2018.
Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
While out for a walk the other afternoon I approached a driver who had stopped in his lane, in a corner, to talk to a couple of pedestrians on the other side of the road. Normally, this is a relatively quiet street but the driver is still making a poor choice. His action was unsafe due to poor sight lines for approaching drivers.
Sure enough, another vehicle approached from behind and was prevented from passing because the pedestrians had moved into the other lane to conduct their conversation more comfortably.
At this point most drivers would conclude the conversation and move on, or at least move to the right side of the road.
Not this driver. He pulled into the oncoming lane at a forty-five degree angle and continued with the chat!
As it happened, I was also walking by a driver waiting beside his parked dump truck and watching this situation too. I shook my head and mentioned to him that there were sure a lot of inconsiderate drivers to be found on our highways these days.
I had definitely touched a raw nerve here as the driver began to tell me all about the dangerous driving situations that he is put into by the drivers of light vehicles every day.
Chief among his worries were those who changed lanes in front of his truck and failed to leave a safe margin for following distance
. Worse still, some of these drivers will apply their brakes and slow down for a right turn immediately after moving over. No sense anticipating that turn and falling in behind the truck to safely prepare for it, is there?
Remember the two second rule
? It not only applies to vehicles that you are following, it applies to vehicles that are behind you as well. Always leave yourself an out
Why might this be important? A loaded heavy truck with a properly functioning braking system may have as little as half of the braking capacity of a car or light truck. These drivers may have put our trucker into a situation where he cannot slow or stop in time to avoid a collision.
I suggested that if there was nowhere safe to steer around the offending vehicle the truck driver might be faced with the decision to not to avoid the collision. No, he said, you would likely brake and finding that you could not stop in time automatically steer to avoid the crash.
Now there is little or no risk for our unthinking motorist and most or all of the risk settling onto the shoulders of our truck driver. This could be the ultimate selfish driving act performed by the driver of the light vehicle.
Before you start to complain about commercial drivers, think about the fact that in a collision between a heavy commercial vehicle and a light vehicle it is most likely that the fault lies with the light vehicle driver
One parting piece of advice: remember the No Zone
. This is the space around a heavy commercial vehicle where light vehicles are essentially invisible to the truck driver. Occupy them at your own risk!
Monday, June 12th, 2017
Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for injuries sustained in two collisions.
In today’s case (Wiebe v. Weibe
) the Plaintiff was involved in two crashes, the first in 2012 the second in 2013. The first collision caused a fracture at the L1 level of the Plaintiff’s spine along with a concussion. The second aggravated some of her symptoms. By the time of trial she was left with some residual barriers due to her injuries as well as lingering pain. In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $85,000 Mr. Justice Tindale provided the following reasons:
 I accept that the plaintiff suffered an L-1 fracture as well as an injury to her mid back. I also accept Dr. Reddy’s diagnosis that the plaintiff suffered a concussion which is in keeping with the plaintiff’s description of her injuries after the First Accident….
 The plaintiff was virtually couch bound for a number of weeks after the First Accident.
 The plaintiff suffered a considerable weight gain after the First Accident though she has ultimately lost that weight. The plaintiff is currently physically active, able to run on a regular basis as well as attend a gym.
 The plaintiff still suffers from mid back pain though there has been significant improvement in her condition…
 The plaintiff in the case at bar suffered a serious injury to her low back as well as injuries to her mid back. She also suffered a concussion and developed anxiety which had an impact on her daily life for a number of months after the First Accident.
 Considering the inexhaustive list of common factors in Stapley and the fact that the plaintiff continues to suffer pain I conclude that damages of $85,000 are appropriate for this head of damage.
Monday, June 12th, 2017
There’s a family I know who have a story they’d like to share. Eric, Ben and Emma are siblings who inherited their father’s cottage four years ago when he passed away. They all love spending time at the cottage, and love one another – most of the time. Still, they can drive one another crazy. “Tim, I love my sister,” Eric said, “but when we’re at the cottage together, she plays the bagpipes all day long. Supposedly it’s good for her asthma. It drives me nuts.”
If you own a cottage and are thinking of leaving the property to your heirs one day, there’s no guarantee that they’ll be able to share the place successfully. But you can stack the odds in favour of a happy co-ownership through use of one terrific tool: A Cottage Agreement.
A Cottage Agreement is a document signed by you, and each of your heirs who will one day inherit your cottage. The agreement should be finalized after an open discussion with your heirs so that they provide input into its creation. What’s the purpose of a Cottage Agreement? To provide a clear understanding of how the finances, usage, upkeep and decisions around the cottage will work when you’re gone. The agreement will also spell out how disputes will be resolved, when (not if) they arise.
As the current owner of the cottage, you might want to pass ownership to the kids during your lifetime, but retain certain rights related to the property – such as the right to continue using the cottage. A Cottage Agreement should spell out these rights.
Sure, a little moral suasion may be enough to keep harmony in the family while you’re around, but even the most loving families can face stresses related to a shared property if there’s no clear understanding around key issues.
When heirs are going to share the cottage, the following issues should be discussed, with answers baked into your Cottage Agreement.
- Use of the cottage. Will all the kids be allowed to use the cottage all the time? This will require that they be willing to stay with one another (and may require Eric to be respectful of Emma’s bagpipe asthma treatments). Or will each have exclusive use at certain times? How do you allocate these times?
- Guests at the cottage. Are heirs allowed to bring guests to the cottage, or will it be family only? Further, can an heir rent the cottage during his or her exclusive time, or is renting prohibited?
- Sharing the costs. How will your heirs split the costs of upkeep? Should the costs simply be split evenly? Should it be based on who can afford to pay? Should it be in proportion to use of the cottage? Will you leave a “cottage fund” in trust for the heirs to help cover some of the costs? Perhaps your heirs should set aside money annually to create a “reserve fund” to pay for larger repairs when they become necessary.
- Managing the money. Once everyone agrees on how to pay for things, who will make sure suppliers are paid? Someone has to collect the money, pay the utility bills, property taxes and insurance premiums, among other things.
- Labour at the cottage. There’s plenty of work to do at the cottage. Who is going to open and close the cottage if required? Who will cut the grass, rake the beachfront, put the dock in the water, prune the trees and hedges, clean out the shed, and more?
- Rules at the cottage. I’ve seen many cottage heirs squabble over the mess left behind by a sibling, leaving the boat without gas, leaving rotting food in the fridge and other minor inconveniences. Preparing some “Rules of Use” to accompany a Cottage Agreement is a good idea.
- Succession of the cottage. Will each have the right to leave his or her share to a spouse (who may remarry later), or should the share go to the kids of a deceased owner? Heirs may need a way out of cottage ownership if necessary. Should each have a right to sell his or her share, perhaps giving the others a right of first refusal to buy?
- Decisions about the cottage. How will your heirs arrive at agreement on matters related to the cottage? Should a majority rule on minor issues? Will certain decisions (such as selling, or making major improvements) require unanimity? How about mediation if they can’t agree?