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The Dispatch: January 2022

This month, we cover exploding Teslas, Kardashians in electric vehicles, and a real-life Lassie story.

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by Team Onlia
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Welcome back to the Dispatch, Onlia's monthly dive into the intersection of transportation, tech, and everything else you need to know about safety. Hosted by Alex Kelly, Onlia's road safety expert, this month we're looking at exploding Teslas, Kardashians in electric vehicles, and a real-life Lassie story.

Government: Decoded

Toronto has made a new year's resolution for safer streets, with councillors discussing expanding the city's automated speed enforcement (ASE) program. Piloted initially with just two cameras per ward (for a total of 50), the city is now considering adding 25 cameras throughout neighbourhoods. The original pilot was a success – researchers found a measurable reduction of speeds where cameras were installed. ASE is one part of the city's larger Vision Zero commitment, which also prompted a significant spend on 18 additional traffic law enforcement officers in the police service's 2022 budget.

You're not the only one looking out for your latest Amazon package — both the provincial and federal governments are closely monitoring the shipment of goods in the country. It turns out that in 2022, it's time to go back to school for commercial transportation. Ontario's Ministry of Transportation was taken to task in the annual Auditor General's report. The AG report highlights the need for more action and accountability, exposing the province's poor commercial trucking training rates. Inadequate training can translate into unsafe streets and highways – a more significant risk than late delivery. 

At the federal level, Transport Canada is refining regulations related to the transportation of dangerous goods across the nation. Makes sense to us — pandemic panic shipments aside, the need to move goods across our vast country has never been more necessary. For the government, this starts with more comprehensive training and assessment to ensure drivers and transportation employees have consistent education to reduce risks throughout the supply chain, 70% of which is via roads, while air, rail and marine make up the rest of the transportation sector. 

Newsworthy

Transportation trends for the new year are always an exciting way to track how the industry is expected to grow. For 2022, that growth will be electric. Certainly not a surprise to anyone, the electric industry continues to expand — even the Kardashians are driving electric vehicles. The latest part of the puzzle? Electric charging infrastructure. Industry leaders have taken their proof of concept to market, which means that jurisdictions worldwide need to figure out how to keep EVs on the road. Commercial use of electric vehicles is rapidly growing, with medium and heavy-weight trucks reaping the savings from switching to electric power. Keeping batteries topped up is critical for delivery deadlines, requiring the development of a billion-dollar industry. 

Proof that dogs are too good to us is a heart-warming story out of Vermont, where a Shiloh Shepherd named Tinsley led rescuers to her injured owner. Escaping the mangled truck post-crash, Tinsley braved the cold and traffic, forcing rescuers to chase her down an embankment that led to the seriously injured driver. Rescuers report that it would have been impossible to see him without Tinsley's guidance. It is anticipated that the driver will make a full recovery from the collision, which was reportedly caused by impaired driving — with Tinsley expecting extra treats for the rest of her life.

If you're mourning your BlackBerry on the heels of the tech giant's announcement that the phone service will end, don't fret. BlackBerry announced they are back at the 2022 Consumer Electronic Show, pivoting to the auto-tech industry with IVY, their Intelligent Vehicle Data Platform. Described as a type of artificial intelligence for your car, IVY makes data-based decisions to identify driver behaviour and dangerous conditions, "recommending vehicle safety features such as traction control, lane-keeping assist, or adaptive cruise control." While this move firmly positions the Canadian tech company in a rapidly evolving industry, it may not be enough to satiate legions of loyal BlackBerry followers

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Insurance demystified

With the new year comes annual renewals of everything, including app subscriptions, membership fees, and insurance. Whether it's auto or home insurance, the annual renewal shouldn't be too surprising, particularly if you've maintained an excellent record without any claims. However, that's not the case for one Ontario driver who was surprised by an unanticipated bill for his vehicle insurance renewal. 

Vehicle insurance premiums are calculated on various factors, including the make and model of your car, previous driving history, age. Other elements, like the type of coverage you choose, discounts that you're eligible for, and government regulations, all impact the final number. One other factor? Your postal code, which provides an assessment of local collision risk, theft, and fraud.

For Dave Neale, the driver hit with a surprising insurance renewal fee, his postal code recently changed due to updates at Canada Post. Based on the reconfiguration of the mail route, Neale's auto insurance provider assessed his location as more urban than Neale's rural home truly was, upping the risk and, therefore, the renewal fee. 

Worried the same could happen to you? Don't fret. Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario, the province's consumer protection agency, has measures in place to guarantee insurance providers "[adjust] their systems to ensure that customers are being rated based on the territory they live in and not the territory their postal code puts them in." Neale's insurance provider rectified the issue, refunding the urban-rural difference in pricing — a great reminder to check each renewal notice for any surprising changes or updates. 

Transportation fail 

Getting a quote from your mechanic for vehicle repairs can be enough to make your head explode. Maintenance can feel like a never-ending cycle, always more expensive than you'd expect. A quote of 20,000 Euros (nearly $29k) to replace the battery was the last straw for one Tesla owner. 

Fed up with constant error codes and performance issues, a Finnish Tesla owner decided to blow up his car using 30 kg of dynamite. While the story seems like clickbait (for which you can view the footage on YouTube), some users hope that Tesla may see this as a reason to improve their customer service and maintenance options. 
Down the road

We don’t have a crystal ball to predict how 2022 will unfold, but one thing we can share? Preparing, especially for the winter weather, is one of the best ways to set yourself up for a great drive. Outfit your car before you head out, stock up your vehicle’s emergency kit, and know what to do if your car starts to slip and slide on icy roads. Staying safe on the roads is always a smart resolution for the new year! 

Down the road

We don’t have a crystal ball to predict how 2022 will unfold, but one thing we can share? Preparing, especially for the winter weather, is one of the best ways to set yourself up for a great drive. Outfit your car before you head out, stock up your vehicle’s emergency kit, and know what to do if your car starts to slip and slide on icy roads. Staying safe on the roads is always a smart resolution for the new year!

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