Category: Car Accidents

“Oh No – Is that Snow?!” – Safe Driving Tips for the Winter Season

by Mark Raftus

November 16th marked the first substantial winter snow fall in the Halifax area for the 2018 winter season.  I awoke, looked out my front window and sadly noted snow covered streets with heavy, wet snowflakes falling. The radio forecast called for the snow to turn into ice pellets and later into rain. A very greasy day awaited and I suspected the roads would be very slippery.

As I set out for the drive to the office I prepared mentally for the trek ahead reminding myself to drive cautiously,  approach intersections a bit slower than normal, pump my brakes if I started to slide and to make sure I looked twice at every car around me before proceeding into an intersection.

I still knew, however, that despite all of my caution it was going to be “the other guy” I had to be mindful of… the guy who would make no mental driving precautions, who would approach every intersection as if the pavement was bare, who would tailgate me and perhaps even try to pass me on a two lane street if he perceived I was driving too slowly.

Autumn Changes – Advanced Pedestrian Lights and the new Traffic Safety Act

by Mark Raftus

As summer moves into fall, many seasonal changes take place. Children return to school, days are not as warm or long, leaves change color and we prepare for the long winter ahead.

Change is a constant and quite often, is for the good. The positive aspect of change can be seen in recent developments implemented by HRM and the Provincial government aimed at protecting pedestrians and motorists in Nova Scotia.

HRM statistics reveal in the first eight months of 2018 there were 120 vehicle-pedestrian collisions in HRM with 61 percent of them happening in a crosswalk. In an effort to improve safety for these pedestrians, HRM has installed what they refer to as “advanced pedestrian lights” at six high-pedestrian traffic intersections in the City – five in Halifax and one in Dartmouth.
Allowing Pedestrians a Head Start
These new lights came into effect on Thursday, October 11, 2018. How they work is the green pedestrian “walking man” signal comes on for several seconds before the green traffic light changes permitting vehicle traffic to proceed ahead through an intersection or turn. In this way, pedestrians are given a head start to proceed forward into the crosswalk and establish their presence. Vehicle drivers will see the pedestrians more readily and allow them to complete their right-of-way crossing. HRM advises they will monitor this initiative and if it works to reduce collisions HRM will add more of these advanced pedestrian lights at other intersections in the City.

Good news from the Supreme Court of Canada for injured victims of underinsured drivers

by Mark Raftus

What is SEF44 coverage?

In an article and video on the McKiggan Hebert website John McKiggan discussed how the SEF44 Family Protection Endorsement works. But a recent decision from the Supreme Court of Canada has made some important rulings that impact how SEF44 coverage can be used to protect you and your family.

Sabean v Portage Mutual Insurance Company

Is my Nova Scotia “Minor Injury” claim capped at $7500.00?

by John McKiggan

Minor Injury Cap

This is a question I get asked a lot. Some people have heard that Nova Scotia has a law that places a “cap” on the amount of compensation that people can receive if they have been injured in a car accident.

The law places a cap on the amount of compensation that you can get for what lawyers refer to as  “non-pecuniary damages”. Everybody else calls it compensation for “pain and suffering”. We explain this in more detail in my article: What is my Nova Scotia Personal Injury Claim Worth?

Where do most car accidents happen in Halifax? The answer may surprise you.

by John McKiggan

After it was reported that Halifax was the most dangerous place to drive in Canada I thought I would do some investigation to see where most car accidents were happening in Halifax. After looking at Insurance company claim statistics and highway safety reports, what I found was that most collisions weren’t happening in one place, but in a number of similar locations.

Parking lots are dangerous

In Halifax, like most major cities in Canada, parking lots are the most common site for car accidents.

Good news in the battle against pedestrian-car collisions.

by John McKiggan

(By Mark Raftus)

Pedestrian-car “accidents” are decreasing in Halifax!

As reported in my December 23, 2014 post “Pedestrian-Car Collisions: An Epidemic in Nova Scotia” the number of pedestrian-car collisions in Halifax [and indeed throughout Nova Scotia] increased from 2013 to 2014 with the attributed causes ranging from poor weather to poor visibility such as dark lighting conditions. In order to combat this rise in “accidents” I suggested increased vigilance on the part of both pedestrian and car drivers. One consumer advocate suggested that if more tickets were issued collisions would decrease based upon data from other provinces who went the route of issuing more tickets. I will keep an eye out for updated information on that front.

Let’s Try This Standing: Car accident victim’s one woman show a triumph.

by John McKiggan

(Review by Mark Raftus)

Being a personal injury lawyer means we see countless cases where injured victims overcome huge odds in their recovery. It is rare that the details of these inspiring stories become public.

But a new play running this week at Neptune Scotiabank Studio Theatre provides a glimpse into the experiences of one motor vehicle accident victim and how she dealt with, and prevailed over, the injuries she suffered in the collision.

Halifax has the Worst Drivers in Canada: AllState Insurance Report

by John McKiggan

According to a new report released by Insurance Company AllState Canada looking at communities across the country drivers in Halifax have the highest collision rate in the country. In other words, we have more accidents per capita than any of the communities across the country that were studied.

The AllState Canada safe driving study ranked Spruce Grove Alberta as the safest place to drive in Canada with a collision rate of 3.43% per 100 cars. Halifax ranked dead last in the study with a collision rate of 7.12% per 100 cars.

The representative from AllState insurance, Deanna Lumax speculated that the increase in collisions in Halifax may have been due to the terrible driving conditions we had as a result of our brutal winter last year as well as the increasing use of cell phones and distracted driving.

Happy Crosswalk Safety Awareness Day!

by John McKiggan

(By Mark Raftus)

Did you know that today, Wednesday, November 4, 2015 marks the second annual Crosswalk Safety Awareness Day?

red hand-thumbI have been following the issue of pedestrian collisions and traffic safety for some time. For example, on December 23, 2014 I posted PEDESTRIAN – CAR COLLISIONS: AN EPIDEMIC IN NOVA SCOTIA.  A few months later after we started getting socked by some nasty winter weather I posted WEATHER WATCH – WINTER WALKING AND DRIVING IN NOVA SCOTIA.

Asking Siri for Directions is not Distracted Driving (in Nova Scotia)

by John McKiggan

Using Voice Activated Navigation Isn’t “Using” a Phone?

In a recent decision Justice Jamie Campbell acquitted Ajirogho Enakeno Ikede of distracted driving. Ikede was holding his iphone and asking Siri for directions when he was pulled over by a police office. Police ticketed Ikede for distracted driving contrary to Section 100 of the Motor Vehicle Act. That section of the act states:
It is an offence for a person to use a hand held cellular telephone or engage in text messaging on any communications device while operating a vehicle on a highway” [emphasis added]
The defendant Ikede had been acquitted by Justice Claudine MacDonald and the Crown appealed. Justice Campbell dismissed the Crown’s appeal and confirmed that Ikede was not guilty of distracted driving. Campbell J. was concerned that the word “use” was not defined in the legislation.

Justice Campbell was of the opinion that using the voice activated GPS function on a phone was not the same as using the cell phone to make a telephone call. Justice Campbell stated at paragraph 4 of his decision:
“Use” does not encompass all interactions with handheld devices that have cellular telephone functionality. When the driver, without looking at the screen of the device, engaged a voice activated navigational system related directly to the safe operation of the vehicle through a handheld electronic communications device, he was not “using” a cellular telephone.”
Voice activated systems are still distracting!