How a Medical Condition Can Impact Your Driver’s License

safe your licenseWhat is a Medical Driver License Suspension?

In Ontario, doctors are required by law to report anyone over 16 who they believe is not able to drive safely due to a medical condition. They file their report with the Ministry of Transportation, which may then request more information, or may suspend the license without need for further evidence. Some of the more common conditions that lead to a medical suspension include alcohol/drug abuse, epilepsy, diabetes, and major vision problems, among others. The timeline and necessary steps for getting a license reinstated depends on the severity and nature of the condition, and will require proof that the driver has taken these steps and can now drive safely.

What if I’m caught driving while under a medical suspension? Continue reading

Lending Out Your Car


We have all been there. A friend, relative, or neighbour has politely asked us if they can “quickly borrow your car.” Refusing seems unjust if you don’t need it right at that moment but at the same time you are unsure of the potential ways that this decision could impact your own insurance costs or driving record.

The easiest way to resolve any confusion that you may have in this situation is to remember that if you hand over the keys to your vehicle, you are also handing over your insurance as well since auto insurance is not tied to the person but rather to the vehicle. If infractions occur while someone else is driving your car then it is you who could be held responsible.   However, this does not apply for traffic or criminal offence charges such as speeding or dangerous driving. In these cases the person who is driving the vehicle at the time is held accountable.

Breaking It Down

The owner of the vehicle is held liable for:

1)   Costs due to impoundment and towing of vehicle as well as being required to put in their own time in order to recover the vehicle.

2)   Parking ticket payments.

3)   Making sure that the car has valid insurance that is in good standing.

4)   Making sure that the borrower has a valid driver’s license and is legally allowed to drive – if they are not legally allowed to drive and get into a car accident, the insurance policy that is associated with the car could possibly become void. This would leave the registered owner of the vehicle responsible for any injuries and/or damages that were caused.

5)   Raised insurance premiums if there is an accident that the car is involved in.

The person driving the loaned car is responsible for:

1)   Minor traffic tickets, offences and/or charges that occurred while the vehicle was under their control– these offences are tied to a driver’s record and not a vehicle.

2)   Making sure that the car has valid insurance that is in good standing. If the car is not insured, you could be charged with operating a motor vehicle without insurance.

As we can see, responsibility lands heavily on the registered owner of the vehicle in the case of lending/borrowing a car. Before handing over your keys, remember that the decision could have serious financial ramifications for you as the owner and not to mention a potential stain on your insurance records. This is the most important thing to remember when you lend your car. Handing over your keys to anyone else means that you are also handing over your insurance. Someone else’s actions behind the wheel of your car have the potential to cost you both in insurance prices and possibly even your clean driving record.

Though it is both the lender and the borrower that should assume a shared general responsibility that the car loan transaction is lawful and safe, it is clear that the lender has a lot more on the line. Keep these things in mind the next time you are borrowing someone else’s vehicle and also if you are considering lending your vehicle to someone else.

Hands-Free Device

Think you can make a flawless left turn while chatting on your cell phone, all while staying completely focused on the road? Think again. A study published last week in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience shows there are significant risks to using your cell phone while making a left turn – even if you’re hands-free.

The Study and What It Means for YouLeftTurn
Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto studied the brain activity of 16 participants, both men and women, as they made left turns on a driving simulator. They asked basic questions and monitored how the participants’ brains responded. Different parts of the brain became more active, but what was most striking was the huge drop in attention devoted to visual processing. In other words, that could impair your ability to make a safe left turn.

Left turns at busy intersections carry enough risk as it is, what with watching out for pedestrians, keeping an eye on the traffic light and, of course, observing oncoming traffic. So it’s no surprise that a large number of serious accidents occur at these very locations. The added distraction of someone talking to you over the phone – even if you’re not holding the phone – could make you more likely to slip up in a situation that demands your full attention with very serious consequences.

Cell Phone Bans and Legislation in Canada

Aside from the risk to your own safety and those around you, there’s another reason to resist the temptation to use your phone at the wheel. All ten Canadian provinces have some sort of legislation restricting the use of cell phones while driving. While legislation in some areas may involve demerit points, others do not. For example, in Ontario, using a handheld communication device while driving could land you a $155 ticket but no demerit points. This law does not apply if you are pulled off to the side of the road or parked, or if you need to dial 9 1 1. However, the consequences could be much steeper if you are charged with careless or even dangerous driving because you are not focused on the road.

Tips on Making a Proper Left Turn

  1. Put that phone away! Even if you are not covered by a cell phone ban, it’s still risky to be fiddling with it while driving.
  2. Put any other distraction on hold, whether it’s listening to a radio talk show or reprogramming your GPS. You can even ask a talkative passenger to hang on a minute while you make the turn.
  3. Wait for the car ahead of you to make its turn before entering the intersection.
  4. Don’t enter the intersection on a yellow light. It’s not worth the risk.

While we hope you never get a ticket for making an improper left turn or for using your cell phone while driving, if you do, contact Toronto traffic lawyers, XCopper, to get a free consultation and learn about your rights.

Happy Halloween 2012

With Halloween just around the corner we thought it would be a good idea to remind all the parents and drivers of some safety tips as the young ones fill our streets!

For the kids

Teach them how to safely cross streets. They should look both ways and cross only at corners and crosswalks.

Keep it light! Give them flashlights and glow sticks, and/or use reflective tape on their costumes, so drivers can see them.

Keep it slow: Walk don’t run especially around busy streets. This gives you and the drivers more time to react should you need to!

Obey the rules of the road: As pedestrians you should always obey traffic signals and give right of way as needed. When crossing at a crosswalk make sure to press the button and proceed when directed.

For the Drivers

Be careful when pulling out of your driveway: Every year children are killed or injured needlessly by drivers backing out of their driveways and don’t see them through the rear window.

Drive slowly and don’t pass stopped vehicles. The driver might be dropping off kids, and they may not think to check for oncoming vehicles!

Watch for kids running into the street. Kids will cross the street anywhere and not wait for the pedestrian crossing or corner. Many pedestrian deaths occur at spots other than intersections.

Yield! Children might not stop, either because they don’t see your vehicle approaching or don’t know how to safely cross the street or simply are too excited to remember.

Communicate with other drivers. Always use your turn signals, and if you pull over to drop off or pick up your kids, turn on your hazard lights.

Mind the weather: Rain makes it harder to see, especially when it gets darker, and it takes longer to stop in the rain.