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Abbotsford Personal Injury Law Blog

Proper maintenance can help avoid winter car accidents

Driving in the winter can be dangerous, especially in dark, icy or stormy conditions. There are a few simple steps British Columbia drivers can take to avoid car accidents in the colder months. In fact, much of this prevention can take place before even getting behind the wheel.

In snowy conditions, British Columbia drivers should take the time to ensure that windows, lights and mirrors are all clean and free of obstructions. Tires should also be inspected for alignment. The older a car is, the more important it is to have regular maintenance done to ensure it is safe to operate throughout the year. Anything fuel injected should be able to start in cold temperatures, provided everything is in working order.

Police efforts in Delta do not stop increase in car accidents

Officials work hard to keep roads safe, but challenges such as distracted driving make it difficult to prevent tragedies. In Delta, British Columbia, injury-related car accidents have increased 12 percent despite strong road safety efforts by law enforcement. The Delta police are focusing on community awareness and education programs while they urge local drivers to be safe and avoid collisions.

According to the most recent meeting of the police board in Delta, there were 296 injury-related car accidents in the first nine months of 2017. In 2016, the number was 265. Fatal accidents are also a concern, as the area has seen five in the first nine months of 2017 compared to four the year prior.

Province reviews doctors assessing victims of car accidents

Recent headlines have caused a nation-wide outcry about how accident and injury victims are assessed in Canada. British Columbia is the second province to review its system following an investigative report from the Globe and Mail in early December. They aim to review the list of doctors who may offer independent medical evaluations, or IMEs, for victims of car accidents or other accident claims. So far, one doctor has already been removed from the roster.

British Columbia residents must purchase basic coverage from the province's insurer, the ICBC. The ICBC released a statement confirming that its review of doctors following the report from the Globe and Mail will be completed within 90 days. Currently, there are approximately 700 doctors on the roster who may currently offer an IME.

New drive test for seniors hopes to prevent future car accidents

Having the ability to drive safely is important for people of every age. To ensure that seniors and people with health problems are able to see, think and react as needed behind the wheel, British Columbia is introducing a new system to determine their eligibility as drivers. They hope to prevent car accidents in the province by ensuring that everyone on the roads is able to practice safe driving, as well as making the assessment easier for seniors. 

As part of British Columbia's new system, an extended road test will be replacing the current DriveABLE computer used to assess seniors' ability to drive. The touch-screen computer test was considered complicated and stressful by many seniors. The 90-minute road test will be conducted in the driver's own vehicle, and a driver examiner from ICBC will direct a series of tasks with varying complexity to test the driver's abilities.

New Surrey plan hopes to reduce fatal motor vehicle accidents

Lawmakers and enforcement officers use all sorts of data to decide which issues to tackle in different areas. In Surrey, British Columbia, worrying figures about fatal motor vehicle accidents has caused lawmakers to create a road safety plan. The change is in light of statistics showing that an average of 20 people die and 11,000 suffer from injuries due to car accidents on Surrey roads each year.

According to data from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, Surrey saw car accidents increase 13 percent between 2010 and 2015. During the same time, severe collisions, including fatal motor vehicle accidents, increased by 17 per cent. Concerns about these statistics are behind the the Surrey Safe Mobility Plan, also known as Vision Zero, which is set to launch next spring.

Immediate penalties for drunk driving may prevent car accidents

For many people across the province, holidays involve parties, presents, eating and drinking. British Columbia drivers must also remain aware of the dangers of consuming alcohol and driving as they make plans to attend these gatherings. The RCMP's Immediate Roadside Prohibition (IRP) program is designed to encourage safe behaviour and reduce car accidents from impaired driving. The program will be set up across the province to catch people who are driving under the influence.

British Columbia has designed laws that provide for the ability to penalize drinking and driving offenders quickly and effectively. Previously, those who drove under the influence could not be punished until the matter was settled in criminal court. However, the new IRP program authorizes police to immediately take a driver off the road if they either blow over the limit or refuse to provide a breath sample. The officer can also issue a pre-determined punishment on the scene based on the blood alcohol content.

Children's artwork may help prevent school zone car accidents

When people drive recklessly through communities and in school zones, it can put children at a serious risk. This is the message of a new British Columbia campaign using children's art, which seeks to protect schoolchildren from car accidents using their own artwork. School zones have a speed limit of 30 kilometers an hour, and the ICBC is putting efforts forth to promote the importance of following this rule to drivers across the province.

The project is entitled "Think of Me" and was initiated by a collaboration between the RCMP and the ICBC. It has now been adopted by local police departments across British Columbia who are concerned about the risk of car accidents in school zones. Police say the campaign is effective in curbing speeding near these areas.

Distracted driving fines may increase to reduce car accidents

With the rise of mobile phones, distracted driving is becoming an increasingly serious risk to people on the roads. British Columbia lawmakers are considering additional ways to discourage this behaviour in order to prevent car accidents in the province. One method to curb this behaviour, according to the provincial government, is to designate distracted driving "high risk" and increase fines for those caught.

Fines for distracted driving have already seen recent increases in British Columbia. Currently, two tickets in one year costs a person around $1,256. Under an additional proposed increase, this would be raised an additional $740 for two tickets within a three year span. These fines, which would total up to $2,000, would be additional to any premium increases from the ICBC.

How can winter tires help to avoid car accidents?

When it comes to driving in winter, tires are one of the most important things to consider. British Columbia drivers should consider the state of their tires and whether they need to invest in winter tires for the colder months. Once temperatures drop below 7 degrees Celsius, winter tires can help drivers avoid car accidents and handle stormy or slippery weather. In some parts of the province, these tires are required by law.

British Columbia has winter tire and chain-up rules that require winter tires to be used in certain areas during cold weather. Under these laws, tires with either an M+S symbol (mud and snow) or the three-peaked mountain and snowflake symbol are acceptable. Both of these symbols signify that the tires are optimized for winter with at least a 3.5 mm tread. For even more protection against car accidents, drivers can purchase true winter tires, which sport the mountain and snowflake symbol.

Halloween car accidents remind locals of driver safety

It is important for drivers to watch for children and drive carefully in school zones or residential areas. But on occasions such as Halloween, these warnings are especially important to heed. The increase of car accidents in British Columbia on Halloween is an example of how weather and sunlight can contribute to the risk of an accident, as well as how children are particularly susceptible to being hit by a driver who may not be paying attention.

Prior to Halloween, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia warned drivers to stay below speed limits in residential areas between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. The reason for this warning was that car accidents spike by 25 per cent on Halloween. This spike results in an average 920 crashes that injured 330 people across the province.

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