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Distracted driving crackdown aims to reduce car accident rates

Distracted driving is a serious issue across Canada, and police across the country are taking steps to address this dangerous behaviour. In British Columbia this month, police and ICBC have announced a new campaign to accompany increased enforcement of distracted driving laws. Authorities and the provincial insurer both hope this effort will reduce car accident rates this month and in the future.

The first part of the new campaign involves advertising from ICBC. British Columbia residents should expect to see ads on social media and television, as well as hearing them through radio. These ads will focus on the role that cell phone use can play in preventing full attention on the road.

Do ICBC benefits cover accident victim of unidentified driver?

What are the rights of a British Columbia motorist to recover damages after being injured in an accident caused by a hit-and-run driver? An accident victim might find comfort in knowing that, even if an at-fault driver remains unidentified, he or she will be covered by the Vehicle Act of British Columbia. Although the insurance provider might take the role of the missing driver, compensation may be limited.

However, it is expected of the injured driver to take reasonable action to identify the hit-and-run driver or the vehicle that he or she drove. The victim must file a report with the police and gather evidence and record details of the accident scene that might assist law enforcement in finding and identifying the at-fault driver. Noting the contact details of witnesses could prove helpful.

Accident victim can seek legal guidance with ICBC claims process

The ICBC claims process is a mystery to most British Columbia drivers. This is because nobody makes a habit of getting involved in car accidents and suffering injuries. An accident victim might be wise to research the claims process before meeting with a claims adjuster. It is a process that need not be rushed -- as long as a claim is filed within the two-year time limit.

One way of learning how to maximize insurance benefits is to retain the services of a lawyer who has experience in fighting for the rights of injured motorists. This can help someone avoid entering into agreements with the insurer before understanding all applicable legal rights. A crash victim should not give in to pressure by the adjuster to sign any authorization, nor is it necessary to make an official statement about the accident.

Wrongful death lawsuit filed after inmate killed by cellmate

Anyone who is incarcerated is in the care of correctional agencies. These agencies have certain responsibilities to keep them safe. When a person dies while serving a sentence in British Columbia, his or her surviving family may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. One family has recently chosen to take these steps in reaction to the 2016 death of their son at Surrey Pretrial Center.

The lawsuit alleges that the 25-year-old was asphyxiated by a cellmate while awaiting trial for driving illegally.  The family claim that those who were responsible for protecting the individual did not protect him and allowed him to be placed in a cell with a dangerous individual. They say that the authorities should not have placed the two people in a segregation together, given their knowledge about the risk of violence in correctional institutions and the criminal background of the man's assailant.

Car accident prevention iniative reveals car rule knowledge gap

Driver training and licensing programs are designed to ensure drivers know the rules of the road before getting behind the wheel. Despite these efforts, new figures from ICBC suggest that many people in British Columbia may have less knowledge of these rules than they should. The news comes after reviewing the results of a car accident prevention initiative, where 45,000 people across the province took an online knowledge test.

The test reflected questions that would be asked to someone seeking a learner's permit. To obtain a learner's permit, one would need to answer 80 percent of questions correctly. According to ICBC, 40 percent of the people who took the test online failed. The average score across the province was 79 percent, lower than the needed score to pass the test.

Car accident victims may not be aware of new ICBC rules

Any injury claims after auto accidents in British Columbia are dealt with through the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. It is a Crown corporation of the province, which deals with optional and basic insurance for all the drivers in British Columbia. However, car accident victims might not be the primary concern of the ICBC, and they are entitled to seek legal counsel to protect their rights.

ICBC recently expressed concern about the staggering number of car accidents that were recorded in 2017. The interim Vice President of the firm reported that the 350,000 crashes represented an all-time high, translating to an average of 960 auto accidents per day, costing the insurer $4.8 billion for claims. The report also indicated that the primary contributors were distracted driving, speeding and aggressive driving.

Fatigue during summer road trips can cause a car accident

During long weekends and summer vacations, many families will take long car trips to popular tourist destinations. However, the hot weather and long hours driving can have an effect on drivers and may contribute to a car accident. According to ICBC, fatigue-related deaths tend to increase in British Columbia in August, with an average of 110 collisions reported to be fatigue related during the month.

Long weekends are a high-risk time to be on the road in general, with an average of 2,200 car accidents occurring during the B.C. Day holiday. While only a small percentage of these are reported as being fatigue related, it is estimated that tiredness, dehydration and overheating plays a role in many of these collisions. ICBC and police are warning British Columbia drivers to properly rest, drink water and take breaks from the road every two hours.

Car vs. bicycle accidents can have devastating consequences

The fact that bicyclists have none of the protection vehicle drivers have makes them extremely vulnerable on British Columbia roads. Even with wearing helmets, victims of bicycle accidents can suffer catastrophic or even fatal injuries when struck by cars. Distracted or impaired vehicle operators cause a significant percentage of recorded bike accidents every year.

Intersections are said to be particularly dangerous areas for car and bicycles. Drivers can prevent hitting cyclists by keeping a safe following and passing distance, yielding for them when necessary, and shoulder checking for bicyclists before turning right or opening the door -- the latter applies to passengers as well. Drivers must also scan for bicycle riders before turning left across bike lanes and before they enter the road from a driveway, parking lot or a side street.

Increased car accident costs and rates concerning for ICBC

According to recent statistics from ICBC, car accident rates in British Columbia are at an all time high. The numbers have prompted the release of an online tool, the Drive Smart Refresher Test, aimed at helping people refresh their knowledge of car safety and avoid a car accident themselves. This free quiz highlights the bad driving habits and potentially outdated knowledge, an issue ICBC points to when discussing the increase of collisions in British Columbia.

Currently, ICBC is facing a $1.3 billion financial loss. Some say loss is due to a surge in car accident claims with increasingly expensive price tags. In 2017, 350,000 crashes let to claims totalling $4.8 billion. Broken down, that is 960 crashes and $13 million per day in 2017.

Keeping pets loose in vehicle can increase car accident risk

Whether it's an occasional trip to the vet or a daily drive together, most people travel with their pets in the car from time to time. However, many do not take the correct precautions to avoid a car accident when traveling with an animal. According to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), a safety device is critical to secure pets can prevent distractions and save the pet in case of a collision.

According to a recent ICBC survey, only half of British Columbia pet owners own a safety device. Cat owners were more likely to own one at 85 percent, while only 45 percent of dog guardians had such a device. Of those dog owners who do own a safety restraint, only 55 percent say they always use the device.

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