Abbotsford Personal Injury Law Blog

Legal cannabis laws aim to prevent drug-related car accidents

Driver safety has played a role in discussions about the rollout of legal cannabis in the coming year. British Columbia plans to take a firm-on-safety approach to the legalization in hopes of avoiding substance abuse and car accidents. The province will allow British Columbia residents of legal age to buy nonmedical cannabis in both private stores and online government sales.

British Columbia's Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) will be operating a standalone network of public retail stores, while private stores can seek licensing through the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCLB). The laws governing the distribution of cannabis will be similar to current liquor law, although licensed retailers must not sell liquor or tobacco if they are selling cannabis. In urban areas, retailers will not be permitted to sell anything except cannabis at their stores.

Bad crosswalk design leads to fatal motor vehicle accidents

The design of roads and pedestrian walkways can have a major impact on the rate of collisions. When pedestrians are unsafe due to the design of roadways, the risk of fatal motor vehicle accidents goes up significantly. Some residents in Richmond, British Columbia are making their concerns about this public after a recent accident killed an elderly woman at a notoriously dangerous intersection.

Fatal motor vehicle accidents involving pedestrians can happen for a number of reasons. In this case, the risk factors included a busy intersection with no pedestrian controlled light. Cars also typically don't slow down in the area. This is not the only elderly person who has been hit by a car at this same crosswalk, though it is the first road fatality of the year in Richmond, British Columbia.

Drivers can take precautions in winter to avoid car accidents

Winter weather brings with it a new set of challenges behind the wheel. British Columbia drivers should take certain precautions to avoid serious weather-related car accidents. Steps can be taken while driving as well as in preparing your vehicle to help stay safe in stormy winter weather.

The first thing all drivers should do during winter weather is to slow down. New drivers in particular can become nervous when driving in the ice and snow, so careful driving and preparations are key. Some of the things British Columbia drivers can do to prepare a car for winter include putting on winter tires, double checking windshield wipers and ensuring there is lots of washer fluid available.

New road test in British Columbia aims to prevent car accidents

Lawmakers and regulators often make adjustments to make the roads safer. In British Columbia, one of these adjustments in 2018 will be the enhancement of driver safety tests. By updating the road assessment, ICBC hopes to prevent unsafe drivers and reduce the risk of car accidents in the province.

The new enhanced road assessment, referred to as ERA, will be administered to any British Columbia drivers with questionable medical fitness to be behind the wheel. RoadSafetyBC will determine who these individuals are. Beginning in March 2018, these drivers will need to take a 90 minute re-examination, an increase from the prior 75 minute exam. The in-office, computer-based screening will also be eliminated.

Victoria police use restorative justice to prevent car accidents

Police and lawmakers often institute new initiatives to try to curb dangerous driving. Recently, British Columbia law enforcement in Victoria has piloted a program that allows distracted drivers to attend a restorative justice session in lieu of a fine. They hope that this will reduce car accidents by educating drivers about the risks of their behaviour and ensuring they are safer in the future.

This was the first time the three-hour workshop has been offered drivers in Victoria, British Columbia as an alternative to a monetary fine. Those who choose to pay the fine would be handed a ticket for $543. The program was piloted over two days in early December and the workshop option was presented to 42 drivers using their electronic devices. Of that number, 33 drivers opted for the Dec. 10 workshop.

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.

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