Driving Safety

Winter Tires: What You Need to Know

Winter Tires

Winter Tires: What You Need to Know

Driving in the lower mainland during winter months can be stressful for those who do not have experience driving in snowy and icy conditions. With a generally temperate climate, it is rare for drivers in the greater Vancouver area to experience heavy snowfall all winter long like in the prairies or eastern Canada. That being said, the importance of having proper tires on your vehicle to match winter conditions may help drivers feel safer on roads and help drivers have a safer driving experience during winter months.

Police Can Pull You Over If They Suspect You Do Not Have Winter Tires

winter weather drivingAccording to BC law, drivers must have winter tires with a 3-peak mountain and snowflake symbol or M+S (Mud and Snow) symbol located on the tire sidewall. Failing to have proper tires between Oct 1st – March 31st can result in a $109 fine and can alter how much you’re considered at fault if you’re in an accident according to I.C.B.C.

Did You Know:
At 0°c, snow and ice become slippery
Between +4°c to –4°c, black ice forms

Identifying Winter Tires

There are a couple of options available to you depending on your needs:

Mud & Snow (M+S) Tires

The all-season Mud and Snow (M+S) winter tires are a safe option if you seldom drive in winter conditions. ICBC recognizes Mud and Snow winter tires as legal requirements between Oct 1-March 31st as long as they have a minimum 3.5 mm tread depth. It’s important to note, however, that these tires are safe for most conditions, but are not
designed to grip ice or suitable for sub-zero weather conditions.

How to Identify Mud & Snow (M+S) Tires:

  • M+S located on the sidewall of the tire
  • Perform best in milder or slightly wet conditions

Mountain/Snowflake Tires

Considered to be the safest winter tire available, this is your best option if you are living in an area where you expect more severe snow, ice and slush on a regular basis.

Mountain/Snowflake tires offer the best traction and performance during winter months.

How to identify Mountain/Snowflake Tires:

  • The three peak Mountain/Snowflake symbol located on the sidewall of the tire

tire tracks

Tire Performance & Safety

  • Install all four winter tires at the same time to help maintain control and stability of your vehicle.
  • Do not mix tires with different construction, tread patterns and or sizes.
  • Tires with worn tread have reduced traction and less effective in snow and severe road conditions. Ensure your vehicle’s winter tires are not worn down to the tread wear indicators.
  • Keeping tires inflated with the proper tire pressure not only prolongs the life of your tires but also increases safety. Check your vehicle’s tire pressure at least once a month, as tire pressure decreases as temperature levels drop.

Storing Your Winter Tires

  • Ensure your winter tires last as long as possible by storing them in a cool, dark and dry place.

Hurt In An Accident? Tim Louis Law Can Help

Tim Louis and his compassionate and talented legal team can give you the solid, trusted advice you need and can deal with ICBC on your behalf. If you or your loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Metro Vancouver and would like to consult with our legal team who will do everything they possibly can to get you the personal
injury settlement you deserve, contact us today for a free consultation at 604-732-7678 or email timlouis@timlouislaw.com

Sources:

https://www.icbc.com/brochures/Pages/winter-tires.aspx

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/winter-tire-regs-in-effect-bc-1.5303484

Is Eating Considered Distracted Driving?

distracted driving

Distracted Driving

When you are short on time, it can often be tempting to get in that last bite while driving. However, as we have seen in recent news, eating while driving can be a significant distraction and hazard on the road.

Distracted Driving Does Not Just Include Cell Phone Use

In 2017, a BC motorist was pulled over by a police officer and fined for eating ramen noodles with chopsticks while operating a vehicle. The judge ruled that the violation was not necessarily the nibbling while driving that cost her a fine, but the fact that the driver was using chopsticks to eat her meal. The RCMP stated “a reasonable and
prudent person should have at least one hand on the wheel while the car is in motion.”

A year ago, BC RCMP posted via social media warning that motorists will be fined $368 + 6 points for driving without due care. Drivers will not only feel the financial burden if pulled over for this violation, but common sense dictates that distracted driving is also a severe hazard for pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers.

Know the Dangers of Eating While Driving

When a driver’s eyes or hands are distracted while the vehicle is in motion, the driver is not paying 100% full attention on the road ahead or surroundings — proving to be a hazard to others and puts the driver at a higher risk of being hit by another vehicle. Authorities may use their discretion to ticket motorists in BC who are eating while driving if they deem that motorists are unable to operate their vehicles safely.

Distracted Driving Is One Of The Leading Causes Of Vehicle Collisions

In 2017, according to ICBC, distracted driving caused more deaths in BC — accounting for nearly 78 deaths on BC roads every year. Distracted driving can lead to decreased reaction times leading to an accident. A study found that in 80% of collisions, the driver was found to be distracted and looked away from the road 3 seconds prior to the
collision.

What Qualifies As Distracted Driving?

distracted drivingAny item or device that distracts a driver from paying full attention to the road including:

  • Cell phone use (hand held calls and texting)
  • Reading maps or books
  • Watching videos, movies or GPS
  • Adjusting the radio, earphone use and listening to extremely loud music
  • Smoking and personal grooming
  • Eating and Drinking

How to Prevent Eating While Driving

As we mentioned above, authorities may use their own discretion if they deem a driver is operating their vehicle with undue care. That being said, it is always best to focus on the road and avoid any distractions that will put yourself and others in danger.

  • Keep your phone out of sight to reduce the temptation of accepting calls and texting or turn off notifications. Lower (or turn off) your ringtone until you’ve reached your destination.
  • Keep music volume at a level that does not distract your focus on the road.
  • Plan your route ahead of time.
  • Often it’s tempting to eat a snack and drink while driving. If you must, wait until you are stopped at a light. The best option is to eat and drink before or after you operate your vehicle.
  • Reduce the temptation of being distracted while driving by keeping all items out of sight while driving.

If you are injured as a result of a distracted driver, you have the right to pursue legal action against the responsible party and receive monetary compensation. Contact our trusted team at Tim Louis & Company today to learn more about the options available to you at 604-732-7678 or email timlouis@timlouislaw.com.

sources:
https://www.icbc.com/about-icbc/newsroom/Pages/2017-Sept6.aspx
http://www.leavethephonealone.ca/en/facts

Most Common Airbag Injuries

airbag injuries

Airbag Injuries

Airbags have been designed to quickly deploy in a vehicle collision to protect your upper body and head from hitting the steering wheel or dashboard. Airbags can prevent injury and saves lives. However, injuries can happen – whether it is from airbag malfunction or improper positioning in a vehicle, it’s essential to recognize that personal injuries may still occur.

Where are Vehicle Airbags Located?

Front airbags are situated in the steering wheel hub of the vehicle and the passenger-side dashboard. In newer cars, airbags are located in the front and on the sides. Side airbags have been designed to protect occupants from side impact during rollover accidents. If you have airbags in your vehicle, ensure that you are familiar with airbag
locations and safety requirements by reading your vehicle owner’s manual before installing child restraint car seats.

How Do Airbags Work?

air bag warning stickerA vehicle collision results in rapid deceleration, which triggers the front airbags. Nitrogen gas is produced, resulting in inflation at speeds of roughly 300Km/hour in order to protect your head and chest in a high-speed collision. Seatbelts are usually enough to protect the driver and front passenger in a low-speed collision – protecting the occupant’s chest and head. However, it is important to note that it is uncommon for front airbags to deploy in rear-end collisions, rollovers, or side-impact accidents. During these types of crashes, the side airbags deploy, providing protection between vehicle occupants and the doors.

What Causes Airbag Injuries?

A number of injuries have resulted from faulty airbag deployment or during regular operation of the front and side airbags. There have been cases of airbag deployment without the vehicle being turned on or running at all. The intensity of airbag inflation is another cause of personal injury resulting from airbag deployment. In fact, airbags are inflated with such force that the metal casing surrounding it may produce shrapnel, causing injury.

  • Airbags may deploy at the wrong time
  • Airbag deployment in a low-impact collision
  • The crash sensor may fail to deploy the airbag when needed
  • Only one airbag deploys
  • The airbag may deploy too late (timing of airbag deployment is important. Even if the airbag deploys a fraction of a second too late, it could cause serious personal injury to the driver and occupant).

What Injuries Can Airbags Cause?

Airbag deployment may lead to a range of injuries. The chemicals used within the device, the rate of the airbag deployment, airbag design, and lack of seatbelt use all play a role in airbag-related injuries. While rare, airbag injuries have the potential to cause significant trauma:

  • Facial Injuries
  • Chest Injuries
  • Neck & Back Injuries
  • Burns to the chest, arms, and hands
  • Skull, rib cage, face, arm, and wrist fractures
  • Concussions, brain swelling and bruising as well as loss of consciousness
  • Asthma attacks and other throat irritations
  • Eye injuries
  • Trauma to the ear that may lead to hearing loss
  • Internal bleeding
  • Fetal injury in pregnant women

How to Minimize Airbag Injuries

seat beltYou can reduce the risk of an airbag injury in an accident by taking these precautions when you drive your vehicle:

  • Always wear a seatbelt
  • Children under 12 should always ride in the back seat
  • Ensure that seats are at least 10” back from the front dash of your vehicle (airbag deployment area)
  • Check your vehicle’s model and year for any airbag-related recalls
  • Ensure you are using the correct car seat for your child’s height and weight.
  • Children should be properly secured and in the proper-seated position at all times.
  • If possible, avoid driving if you are pregnant
  • Do not place your arms across the steering wheel
  • Tilt the steering wheel downward, toward your chest – not your neck or head
  • Place both front seats as far as possible and as comfortable for safe driving
  • Do not install rear-facing infant restraints in the passenger seat.

What Steps Should I Take if An Airbag Malfunctions?

  • Preserve the evidence related to the airbag (parts)
  • Ensure the vehicle’s computer doesn’t get wiped
  • Do not transfer the vehicle over to ICBC, mechanic or junkyard

Contact A Trusted, Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

If you are suffering injuries sustained in a vehicle accident from an airbag malfunction or deployment, contact our compassionate and experienced legal team at Tim Louis Law and Associates to book your free consultation today by calling 604-732-7678 or email Timlouis@timlouislaw.com

source:
https://www.icbc.com/about-icbc/newsroom/Documents/airbags.pdf

Top 5 Mechanical Failures that Cause Car Accidents

car accidents

Mechanical Failures that Cause Car Accidents

With car accidents a regular daily occurrence, it is not always clear what the underlying cause is until a thorough investigation has been concluded. With a number of accidents attributed to excessive speed, driving under the influence, driver error or weather conditions – it can be easy to forget that some accidents are caused simply due to the neglect of routine maintenance — leading to vehicle complications or even mechanical failure if left unchecked.

Keeping your vehicle maintained can go a long way in avoiding accidents caused by mechanical failures. Here are a few of the most common mechanical failures and what to look out for to ensure your vehicle is in tip-top shape:

Prevent Car Accidents – Check Your Brakes

brake padsBrakes are an essential safety feature we use as drivers on the road. However, brakes can also be one of the most ignored when it comes to routine checks – often being left completely worn before a proper inspection or needed replacement. If your brakes are not properly maintained, you could find yourself braking harder on the road,
throwing off drivers behind you, or prevent you from stopping – injuring other drivers, pedestrians or yourself and your passengers.

Here are some early signs of brake wear to look out for:

  • Excessive vibration when applying pressure to your brakes
  • Reduced responsiveness while braking (spongy or soft brake pedal)
  • Noticeable pulling when applying pressure to your brakes
  • Frequent or infrequent squealing or screeching noises while braking
  • Loud metallic grinding noises coming from your brakes

Tires – maintain them to prevent car accidents

Your vehicle’s tires keep you moving – gripping the road through poor road conditions, ensuring that you arrive at your destination safe and sound. This is why it is crucial to conduct routine checks on your tires daily and before taking any extended trips – ensuring your tires are in the best shape possible.

Early signs that you may need to have your tires rotated or replaced can include:

  • Bulges, gouges, or cracks in the tire or tire sidewall
  • Significant and/or uneven tread wear
  • Tires losing pressure or deflating faster than normal
  • Excessive vibration while driving

brake light

Headlights/Taillights/Brake Lights

The lights on your vehicle allow you to see – and be seen. This makes them one of the most important safety features for your vehicle in terms of accident prevention while driving. However, lights do fail — which is why you should be conducting a routine inspection of all lighting systems on your vehicle before driving.

Signs that you may need to have your headlights or taillights inspected or replaced can include:

  • Significant dimming over time
  • Flickering or random fading
  • One or multiple bulbs going dark
  • Significant time passing (better safe than sorry)

Malfunctioning Windshield Wipers can Cause Car Accidents

windshield wipersWindshield wipers can make a big difference in overall driver safety and visibility — removing dirt, rain, and snow – while running for hours at a time to keep your view of the road clear at all times.

Unfortunately, windshield wipers do wear over time – often warping, cracking or even tearing from long-term use in heavy weather — this can cause them to lose their flexibility and even fail altogether. You should always keep an eye on your wipers and check them daily to ensure they are functioning properly.

Signs that you may need to have your windshield wipers replaced can include:

  • Streaking
  • Unusual noise or squealing
  • Skidding or Irregular movement
  • Ragged or distorted blades

Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer

Drivers and passengers who are injured in accidents that are the result of mechanical failure may wish to contact a personal injury lawyer. Contact our compassionate and experienced legal team at Tim Louis Law & Associates. We will help build your claim for the compensation you deserve.
To book your free consultation, call 604-732-7678, or email timlouis@timlouislaw.com. We’re here to help.

Preventing Child Injury in an Auto Accident

Auto Accidents – Preventing Child Injury

With the start of summer less than a month away and many of you planning some long awaited warm weather fun on the road, we want to remind everyone to think ahead on one of the most important, but often overlooked safety preparations – ensuring that child safety seating in your vehicle is up to standard and ready for use.

preventing child injuryAn unfortunate fact in British Columbia is that many children are injured in motor vehicle accidents every year simply due to lack of effective seating, or because sub-par equipment has been kept long past its usefulness.

Preventing Child Injury

With ICBC reporting as many as 1,300 injuries or fatalities annually in children aged 9 years or younger related to child car seats or booster seats, further research suggests that these numbers can be reduced significantly with the risk of fatality being reduced by 71% and the risk of serious injury by 67%.

The numbers are clear, so how can you ensure your children are protected this summer? Here are some helpful tips to consider:

The Four Stages of Child Seating and Restraint Systems in British Columbia

Children will outgrow everything! This includes car seats and booster seats; which is why you must ensure you are using the correct type and size of seat – not only to avoid injury, but also to ensure you are following the law of the road in British Columbia.

The four stages of seating that you need to be aware of are:

1. Infants:

Infants are required to sit in rear-facing car seats until they are at least 12 months old and over 9kg (20 lbs.)

section stage carseat

2. Toddlers:

Toddlers are required to sit in forward-facing car seats from at least one year old and over 9 kg (20 lbs.) and should continue to be buckled into this type of seating until they are 18 kg (40 lbs.)

3. Children under 9 years old:

Children under 9 years old are required to be in booster seats with seat belts or until they have reached a height of 145 cm (4’9”) tall

4. Youth:

A properly adjusted seat belt is the last stage for anyone over 9 years of age

Is your Child’s car seat installed correctly?

One of the most common problems leading to serious injuries or fatalities of children when riding in a motor vehicle is an incorrectly installed car seat or booster seat. Prior to driving with a child for ANY period of time, you should always check:

  • Your vehicle owner’s manual for any information on installing child car seats
  • Transport Canada’s Motor Vehicle Safety Standards website (http://www.tc.gc.ca)
  • The manufacturer’s manual that came with your car seat
  • The Provincial rules or regulations regarding car seat, booster seat or seat belt use in your vehicle

Always do your research! If you are still not sure whether you have installed your child car seat correctly, there may be other resources offered online or in your community that can help you.

Prevent Child Injury

Be Aware of Safety Recalls – How to Prevent Child Injury in an Auto Accident

We all want to make sure that we buy the best equipment, especially when it comes to the safety of our children and our vehicle passengers – unfortunately, in an age of fast production and mass production, sometimes flawed equipment can make it to consumers unnoticed. This is why you should always try to be aware of any potential safety recalls and recall lists for car seats or booster seats that you own or use in your vehicle. Some sources to keep in mind and up to date on for safety recall information include:

  • Transport Canada
  • The Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada
  • The Manufacturer Website for your specific car seat or booster seat
  • Local Media Announcements
  • Social Media Groups

If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a traffic accident, contact our compassionate and experienced legal team at Tim Louis Law & Associates. We will help build your claim for the compensation you deserve. To book your free consultation, call 604-732-7678 or email timlouis@timlouislaw.com We’re here to help.

Sources:
https://www.icbc.com/road-safety/safer-drivers/Documents/Seatbelt-fact-sheet.pdf
https://www.icbc.com/brochures/Pages/child-car-seats.aspx
https://www.bcaa.com/community/child-car-seat-safety
https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/road/child-car-seat-safety/installing-child-car-seatbooster-seat.html
https://www.cpsac.org/recall-list/

Motorcycle Safety Tips in Metro Vancouver

Motorcycle Safety Tips

Motorcycle Safety Tips

Motorcycle enthusiasts are looking forward to the freedom that comes with riding on the open road and beginners may be shopping around for their dream bike to take on the road this spring and summer. However, the facts cannot be ignored: according to ICBC, in 2016, 940 motorcyclists were injured in 1500 crashes. On average, 12 motorcyclists are killed each year in the lower mainland.

We’ve gathered some safety tips to ensure motorcyclists are as safe as possible while riding.

Prepare Your Motorcycle for Safety

You can have years of motorcycle riding experience, but if your bike has mechanical issues, nothing will prevent you from getting into an accident resulting in a severe injury.

  • Always inspect your bike before every ride
  • Ensure tires don’t have bulges or cracks
  • Tire pressure should be at the proper level
  • Check to make sure your horn and turn signals are working
  • Ensure mirrors are in the appropriate position for blind spots
  • Check fluid levels weekly
  • Make sure your brakes, throttle, and clutch are working properly
  • Check for leaks

Always Wear Proper Riding Gear

motorcycle safetyYou may be tempted to wear your casual wear before jumping on your motorcycle, but think about the injuries you could prevent by wearing adequate riding gear that was designed for sudden impact. If you are in an accident, the friction from your body against the pavement alone can cause serious damage if you don’t take the necessary precautions.

Even if you are driving a short distance it’s integral that you wear the proper riding gear to protect your entire body in the event of an accident:

  • Wear adequate riding gloves, not standard work gloves. Riding gloves are made to protect your hands from trauma; while work gloves are made from thinner, weaker materials and will not protect you.
  • Always protect your head! Wear a full-face helmet to cover your face and head from possible injury.
  • Wear proper riding pants designed for motorcycle riding – you may see a lot of riders out there wearing regular jeans, but if you are in a motorcycle accident, regular pants will not protect your legs from injury.
  • Wear riding boots designed for motorcycle riding, not regular boots or shoes

Follow Traffic Rules & Ride Defensively

Of course, years of riding experience and motorcycle training can make all the difference in road safety, but be sure always to follow these driving tips whether you are a beginner or experienced motorcycle rider:

  • Always let drivers know your intentions by using your turn signals
  • Do your best to stay out of driver’s blind spots
  • Ride at a safe speed at all times
  • Never assume a driver has seen you or will give you the right-of-way

Don’t Ride When Impaired or Sleepy

Driving requires an alert mind, and a steady hand, which is why driving impaired is known to be one of the most dangerous decisions you can make as a driver – but what many people, especially new drivers may not realize, is that driving while tired can be just as dangerous, even fatal in some circumstances.

Know the Common Signs of Drowsiness:

  • Frequent yawning
  • Inability to keep your eyes open
  • Trouble holding your head up
  • Wandering thoughts
  • Drifting into another lane
  • Missing road signs or driving past turns

Motorcycle Safety: Follow these steps to prevent driver’s fatigue from setting in:

  • Get a full night’s sleep before a planned trip
  • Take short naps throughout the day whenever possible if you need them, especially on long trips
  • Avoid consuming caffeine or other stimulants before bed
  • Call for a ride or take a taxi if you’re too tired to drive

In addition, do your best to avoid these common driver’s mistakes:

  • Driving when on medication that causes drowsiness
  • Driving late at night, at times when you are usually sleeping
  • Driving alone if you are going a longer than usual distance

Tim Louis and his compassionate and talented legal team can give you the reliable, trusted advice you need and can deal with ICBC on your behalf. If you or your loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in Metro Vancouver and would like to consult with our legal team who will do everything they possibly can to get you the personal injury settlement you deserve, contact us today for a free consultation at 604-732-7678.

source:
https://www.icbc.com/about-icbc/newsroom/Pages/2017-May1.aspx
https://www.icbc.com/road-safety/sharing/motorcycle-safety/Pages/Default.aspx

Spring Road Safety in Metro Vancouver

Spring has officially arrived and it’s time to consider road safety. With longer days ahead, it’s time to give that car a wash, remove your vehicle’s winter tires and enjoy the milder spring weather.

We’re not entirely out of the woods quite yet though – considering British Columbia’s temperate rainforest climate, heavy rain can always creep up on us in the spring. Keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape for unforeseen weather is essential along with practicing safe driving habits.

Road Safety: Prepare Your Vehicle

With snow, ice and slush on the roads this past winter, you may have put extensive wear on your brake pads, wheels and or clutch. Take your vehicle in to your local trusted mechanic for a spring tune-up, where your vehicle’s essential fluids will be topped up, wheels changed/rotated, and any other replacements you may need for safe driving:

  • Brake pads, fluids topped up and/or rotors replaced
  • Tire rotation, change and or inflation
  • Anti-freeze fluid replaced with coolant
  • Battery check
  • Oil filter change
  • Clean windows and replace wiper blades
  • Check all lights including headlights, taillights and brake lights, turn signal blinkers and parking lights.

Be Patient While Driving

road safetyDrivers must follow the posted speed limits on BC roads. However, with the warmer weather, drivers may become less cautious. Remember, just because the roads are clear of rain and ice does not mean roads are without potential hazards. Plan your route to prevent speeding, drop your speed when necessary and be aware of other drivers around you. Leaving a safe distance around your vehicle is the best way to keep safe while driving and ensure you plan your route ahead of time to prevent the urge to speed to your destination.

Watch Out for Pedestrians

With warmer weather, come more pedestrians, cyclists, and animals on the road. Remember what you learned in driving school: follow posted speed limits on highways, residential streets and in school zones. Always scan the intersection before passing through and stop at crosswalks — giving pedestrians the right of way. Blind spots are a significant hazard – cyclists and pedestrians may be out of view through your mirrors, so always make sure you shoulder check.

Road Safety and Cyclists

Share the Road – Road Safety Tips

As BC weather continues to improve, more cyclists will be commuting to work or for recreation. Keep in mind that cyclists in BC share the same rights and responsibilities as motorized vehicles.

  • Keep a safe distance. Stay at least 1 meter away from a cyclist when passing and maintain at least 3 seconds behind a cyclist on the road.
  • Don’t get distracted. Make eye contact with cyclists if you can and always keep a lookout – especially in densely populated areas
  • Dooring can be deadly. According to ICBC, 1 in 14 vehicle collisions involving cyclists are the result of dooring. Always shoulder check — keeping an eye out for oncoming cyclists before opening vehicle doors.
  • Yield to Cyclists Always signal in advance if you need to pull over or cross a bike lane, and of course, always yield to cyclists.
  • Look Ahead You should always make a habit of shoulder checking for cyclists before turning right and keep an eye out for oncoming cyclists when turning left. Scan for cyclists before you enter a street from an alley or out of a spot where it’s difficult to see clearly. Stay cautious.

Watch Out for Wild Life – Road Safety

road safety and wildlifeSpring is the time of year when wild animals begin foraging for food and may need to cross a busy roadway. Keep an eye out for any animal crossing signs, scan highways and roads for wildlife and reduce your speed if necessary. It’s important to note that animals are active all day and if you are about to hit an animal while behind the wheel, try to strike wildlife on an angle to prevent the animal from passing through your windshield.

Hurt In An Accident? Tim Louis Law Can Help

Tim Louis and his compassionate and talented legal team can give you the solid, trusted advice you need and can deal with ICBC on your behalf. If you or your loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Metro Vancouver and would like to consult with our legal team who will do everything they possibly can to get you the personal injury settlement you deserve, contact us today for a free consultation at 604-732-7678 or email timlouis@timlouislaw.com

source:
https://www.icbc.com/about-icbc/newsroom/Pages/2016May25.aspx

What Does Cannabis Legalization Mean for Drivers?

Cannabis Legalization

Now that recreational cannabis has been legalized federally, there are new laws under the Criminal Code in place related to drug-impaired driving. It’s important to note that the BC government has put strict provincial sanctions in place to address drug-impaired driving to keep these drivers off the road.

Cannabis Legalization

Cannabis Legalization – New Laws & Legal Limits

There are now three new Criminal Code offences that establish the legal blood drug concentration limits (BDC) for THC. This means if you have two (2) nanograms or more of THC in your system while operating a motor vehicle, you are committing an offence.

Additionally, the more THC you have in your system, and the more times you are caught breaking the law, the punishment escalates (especially if mixed with alcohol).

Cannabis Legalization - Cannabis and Motor VehiclesCannabis and Motor Vehicles

  • Cannabis being transported in a vehicle must be kept in a sealed package or in a location inaccessible to motor vehicle occupants
  • No cannabis use in any form is allowed while occupying a vehicle
  • For those drivers in a graduated licensing program, (L or N) there is a zero tolerance restriction for the presence of cannabis while operating a motor vehicle. Violating this restriction will result in a suspension of driving privileges.
  • Social hosts may be legally liable for guests who use cannabis in their home and subsequently injure others or themselves (such as a motor vehicle accident.)
  • If an officer suspects drug impairment, the driver may be subject to a drug recognition evaluation by a specialized Drug Recognition Expert (DRE).

The dangers of driving impaired do not change because “it’s just cannabis.” Driving and Cannabis Legalization

The possibility of serious personal injury or even fatalities caused by driving impaired are well documented in British Columbia – and despite the believed “lesser” impairment from cannabis use, the potential dangers are the same.

According to Stats Canada:

  • 1.4 million of Canadians reported having been a passenger in a motor vehicle driven by someone who consumed cannabis within the previous two hours.
  • 1-in-7 cannabis users reported having driven within 2 hours of using cannabis

If you plan to consume cannabis, be sure that you have taken responsible steps to prevent possible accidents or injury:

  • taxiKnow how cannabis affects you and know your limits
  • If consuming cannabis makes you too tired or distracted, don’t use it.
  • Don’t drive or operate a vehicle when impaired.
  • Plan ahead and ask a friend to be your designated driver if you need it.
  • Always have a local taxi number logged in your phone.
  • Familiarize yourself with public transit routes and schedule times.

Let Our Experience Work for You

If you have found yourself the victim of an impaired driving accident, whether you or a family member has been seriously injured or suffered a tragic death, you have the right to pursue legal action against the responsible party and receive monetary compensation. Contact our trusted team at Tim Louis & Company Law today to learn more about the options available to you at 604-732-7678 or email timlouis@timlouislaw.com.

source:
https://www.icbc.com/driver-licensing/tickets/Pages/drug-impaired-driving-new-laws.aspx
https://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-24.5/
https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/180809/dq180809a-eng.htm

Winter Safety Tips to Prevent Personal Injury

winter driving conditions

We can all agree – winter in British Columbia can be hard to forecast, difficult to prepare for and sometimes seemingly impossible to navigate when it finally hits.

Icy driving conditions, poor visibility and erratic driving on the road are a dangerous mix that can result in personal injury. However, there are steps you can take to mitigate these risks. We’ve taken some time to provide you with a list of best practices to keep yourself and your family as safe as possible on the road this winter.

Prepare Your Vehicle

Making sure your time on the road is as safe as possible requires not only a safe vehicle, but also safe driving practices and the right mindset in order to prepare you for any possible eventuality. Prior to starting your trip, you should always ensure that:

  • You are well rested and have a clear head
  • There are no unnecessary distractions either inside, or outside of your vehicle
  • Your vehicle is up to date with any necessary regular maintenance, including tire rotations, brake checks and fluid checks
  • There are both proper winter tires installed and proper windshield wipers installed for the expected weather
  • You have a fully stocked roadside emergency kit, including a portable charger that can be used to power your mobile phone, a first aid kit, jumper cables, roadside flares, window scraper, flashlight, spare oil & coolant, sand and a tire change kit

Put Your Cellphone Down

navigation car drive roadWe all know the dangers of distracted driving. Did you know that every year, on average, 26 people are killed in distracted driving-related crashes in the Lower Mainland? This is a concerning number. The danger a distracted driver can put on themselves, their passenger and/or pedestrians is never worth responding to that text message or phone call.

Distracted driving results in more fatalities than impaired driving, and is also one of the leading contributors of crashes with pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists,

– Lindsay Matthews, ICBC’s director responsible for road safety

Pre-plan before your drive. Ensure that your Bluetooth is enabled on your phone and your hands-free setting is in working order. These steps alone can lower your risk of distracted driving accidents — your focus should always be on the road.

Proper Car Insurance

Of course law requires car insurance in BC – however, rates and their benefits are continuously changing and so educating yourself on your options and insurance add-ons that will benefit you and your family is always a good idea. Talk to your insurance agent before the winter season to ensure you are signed up for the plan you need to keep you covered.

Map Out Your Driving Route (In Advance!)

With winter weather conditions come unexpected snowfalls, slippery streets, black ice and traffic congestion. Pre-plan your trip to prevent anxiety and frustration behind the wheel and to ensure that you arrive at your destination on time even though you’re driving slower due to winter conditions.

Update your GPS map and test it to ensure it’s in working order to assist you during your travels. A backup map is always a good idea for remote areas where GPS may not pick up an accurate reading.

Avoid Alcohol

It goes without saying, getting into your vehicle after drinking alcohol or taking narcotics is not only dangerous, but also irresponsible. With numerous holiday and work gatherings during the winter season, it’s important to take responsibility and plan ahead to prevent posing a danger to yourself and/or others.

taxi driver

Pre-plan your evening out and ask a friend or attendee to be a designated driver or ask a trusted family member to pick you up. Another option is to call a taxi – ensure you have easy access to a few local taxi numbers logged in your phone for easy and quick access.

Get the Solid, Trusted, Advice You Need

Tim Louis and his compassionate and talented legal team can give you the solid, trusted advice you need and can deal with ICBC on your behalf. If you or your loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in Metro Vancouver and would like to consult with our legal team who will do everything they possibly can to get you the personal injury settlement you deserve, contact us today for a free consultation at 604-732-7678 or email timlouis@timlouislaw.com.

Source: https://www.icbc.com/about-icbc/newsroom/Pages/2017-Sept6.aspx

5 Most Common Car Accidents in Metro Vancouver

Personal injury related to automobile accidents is one of the most common and avoidable causes of injury in British Columbia with over 330,000 crashes occurring every year as of 2016. We’ve compiled a list of the five most common car accidents in Metro Vancouver:

Speeding & Reckless Driving

speeding carUnfortunately, speeding and reckless driving have always been one of the leading causes of traffic accidents. We are all overloaded with our day-to-day lives and sometimes getting from A to B on time can be frustrating. However, knowing that speeding is one of the common causes of car accidents, is it really worth the risk? To prevent driving over the speed limit, ensure you leave earlier to allow for extra time in reaching your destination.

Driving on wet and or icy roads requires patience and slower speeds. Always be cautious driving in slick weather and leave extra space between you and the next vehicle – following too closely can make it difficult to stop suddenly if needed without hitting the vehicle ahead.

Tailgating

All too common in Metro Vancouver, tailgating or following a car too closely is one of the most common causes of vehicle collisions. If by chance you need to make a sudden stop, adequate space between you and another vehicle is necessary. Driving schools always recommend there is at least 3 seconds of time between the driver and vehicle ahead.

Driver Fatigue

Unfortunately, crashes are being caused by driver fatigue that especially peaks in the summer months of July and August. Hot weather and long extended drives are causing accidents by drivers who unexpectedly fall asleep at the wheel after feeling fatigued or mentally drained. Driving while overtired is just as dangerous as any other type of impaired or distracted driving.

Distracted Driving

reckless driving

Talking or texting on mobile devices while driving has become a big problem in the province and worldwide. As our reliance on technology has increased, heavy addiction to our devices and the inability to put the phone down while driving has caused more crashes than ever before. If the driver is not focused on the road ahead and distracted by talking on the phone, responding to a text, email, or any other common distraction like eating, applying makeup or even reading can not only put the driver and their passengers in danger but can seriously injure or even kill another innocent driver.

To prevent distractive driving, turn your phone off before entering your vehicle. Eat or drink before you hit the road and let friends and family know that you do not respond to calls or messages while driving.

Impaired Driving

impaired driving

ICBC statistics reveal that an alarming 23% of fatal collisions were caused by impaired drivers. Fortunately, BC has the strictest drinking and driving laws in Canada – however, drivers are still getting behind the wheel under the influence. Whether it be alcohol, illegal or legal drugs or heavy narcotics, drivers are risking their lives and others every day.

  • Take your turn being the designated driver
  • Plan your evening ahead of time
  • Always have a local taxi number logged in your phone
  • Familiarize yourself with public transit routes and schedule times
  • Don’t hesitate to call a friend

By being aware of the five most common causes of accidents in Metro Vancouver and taking measures to avoid a crash, you can prevent any personal injuries to yourself or others down the road. If you have been in an accident and have a personal injury, contact our trusted team at Tim Louis & Company Law today at 604-732-7678 or email timlouis@timlouislaw.com.

Source: https://www.icbc.com/about-icbc/newsroom/Documents/crashes-casualty.pdf

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