Distracted Driving Changes in 2019

Ontario Distracted Driving

Ontario has introduced tough new distracted driving laws. Changing your playlist, checking your GPS, eating, using your phone to talk or text are all considered distracted driving that not only put you at risk for accident but also others. Effective January 1st 2019, some drivers may have already noticed higher fines and tougher penalties for distracted driving. New penalties for distracted driving (with an A to G licence):

First conviction

  • a fine of $615, if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)
  • a fine of up to $1,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose
  • three demerit points
  • 3-day suspension

Second conviction

  • a fine of $615, if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)
  • a fine of up to $2,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose
  • six demerit points
  • 7-day suspension

Third and any further conviction(s)

  • a fine of $615, if settled out of court (includes a victim surcharge and the court fee)
  • a fine of up to $3,000 if a summons is received or if you fight the ticket in court and lose
  • six demerit points
  • 30-day suspension

Convicted distracting driving charges not only come with hefty fines and carry demerit points but can also affect your auto insurance premium. You can loose your valuable conviction free discount and even be surcharged for major offences. Tickets stay on your record for three years from the conviction date.

Distracted driving can be defined as any act the driver engages in which causes their judgment to be compromised, when not focused on the road. The Ontario Highway Traffic Act specifically outlines the use of a hand-held or electronic entertainment device for anyone who is uncertain.
The Government of Ontario’s website provides tips to avoid distracted driving.


Use any of these tips to avoid distracted driving and its penalties:

  • Turn off your phone or switch it to silent mode before you get in the car.
  • Put it in the glove compartment (lock it, if you have to) or in a bag on the back seat.
  • Before you leave the house, record an outgoing message that tells callers you’re driving and you’ll get back to them when you’re off the road.
  • Some apps can block incoming calls and texts, or send automatic replies to people trying to call or text you.
  • Ask a passenger to take a call or respond to a text for you.
  • Silence notifications that tempt you to check your phone.

If there’s an urgent need to use your phone, you should find a place to legally park. In an emergency, you can use your phone to call 911, ensure you have pulled off the road or highway and are in a safe area to do so. If you must use your phone while driving hands free modes are permitted. For navigation a cradle mount should be used.

More than ever in 2019 people are faced with distractions by our technology. Drivers need to remember that for their safety and the safety of those around them, their focus need to be on driving.

Business Cyber Risks and Tips for Risk Management

There’s a saying that goes ‘fail to prepare and prepare to fail’. This is extremely true for cyber risks. Do you have a website? Networked computers connected to the internet? Do you store private client information? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you need cyber liability insurance.

Young companies and startups often feel immune to cyber risk and are tempted to opt-out of the coverage to save on premium. Startups actually have the most to gain from proper cyber liability coverage. The harm to reputation from having client data compromised can be fatal if not managed properly. Further, startups and other small businesses may be considered soft targets and at greater risk than larger corporations.

Here are five potential cyber risks facing small businesses now:

Ransomware
This is where a piece of malicious software, generally received via a phishing email, encrypts all of the data on the company’s network, then the perpetrators request a ransom in order to provide the decryption key. Often these ransom amounts are below $2,500 but the costs to remedy the situation as an alternative to paying the ransom would be far more. Just recently Penneco Oil Co. Inc.’s computers were infected which enabled the conspirators to hack the company’s bank accounts for $3.5 million.

Hack Attack
This is when a hacker manages to gain access to a company’s network. Hackers often accomplish this by exploiting an unpatched vulnerability within the software. This allows them to gain access to company data. Often the target of the hackers is personally information of customers, especially credit card information. NASA was once hacked by a 16 year old Jonathan James NASA officials valued the documents stolen by James at around $1.7 million. The incident forced NASA to shut down its computer systems for three weeks and cost them about $41,000 to fix.

Denial of Service Attack
These attacks as becoming increasingly cheap and easy to carry out for attackers. A denial of service attack is done simply by overwhelming a company’s website through pushing a large volume of data to its servers in a malicious manner. One known example is the wave of attacks that targeted Yahoo and Amazon in 2000, which was estimated to have a cost over $1.2 billion in damages.

Human Error
Humans can often be the weakest link in your company’s cyber risk management. A vast number of data breaches are the result of information being lost, or distributed to the wrong person, this is easy to do for e.g. an email typo. Even the seemingly mundane can have far reaching consequences, particularly where sensitive personal information is involved.

Fraud
This is where a criminal poses as a senior person within the firm – either by hacking into or ‘spoofing’ their email account. Spoofing is when a hacker poses as someone else and ‘tricks’ the user into thinking they are, generally, someone with authority. They then convince a worker with financial authority to make a rush payment. The worker makes the payment and it is an automatic loss. Deloitte recently published a press release explaining to clients that these frauds have increased tremendously and warned them to be vigilant.

Small businesses can help reduce their exposure to cyber risks by:
• Using secure passwords: TIP: make passwords stronger by using three random words, numbers and symbols.
• Installing antivirus and malware software on all company devices.
• Regular software updates: software updates contain vital security upgrades which help protect you from the latest malware and hackers.
• Educate staff on the dangers of cyber risks, and what to be aware of, particularly where unusual emails or requests are received.

 

References:

Metro News
Radware
CSO Online
Deloitte

Spring Auto Checklist

Slushy, dirty roads can damage your vehicle’s body, while frigid temperatures make your engine work overtime. Let’s face it, winter is tough on everything. Your car needs more than a spring-cleaning to get it ready for summer road trips. Whether you do it yourself or take your vehicle to a mechanic, our spring maintenance recommendations help you prepare for spring and summer.

  • Change and rotate the tires and examine your vehicle’s tires for both general and uneven wear.
  • Test the air conditioning to make sure it blows cold air. If not, you may need the refrigerant topped up.
  • Don’t forget to check coolant levels. Overheating is a possible cause of breakdowns and vehicle fires, especially in hot summer weather.
  • Consider replacing the wiper blades as winter might have worn out your wipers so badly they streak up the windshield.
  • Wash and wax your auto as the road salt and sand mixes used to melt winter snow and ice can accumulate on the undersides of your vehicle and trigger corrosion
  • Adjust your driving habits to the season as spring and summer can mean heavy rain, windstorms, close encounters with wildlife, and more.
  • Beware of potholes and keep your tires properly inflated so they’re more prepared to sustain a bump. If you hit a big pothole, have your tires, wheels, and suspension checked by a mechanic because your vehicle may have endured serious damage.
  • Share the road and be cautious of cyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Summer also brings increased construction on our roads and highways so be prepared to stop or slow down.

 

Spring Homeowners Checklist

Spring is here!

We highly recommend some spring home maintenance to ensure your home is in tip top shape after winter.
The following list is McClelland’s spring check-list for homeowners.

OUTSIDE YOUR HOME

• Clean out and repair eaves troughs and downspouts.
• Ensure downspouts extend from your home by at least six feet or set up a rain barrel to catch water runoff.
• Repair driveways, walkways, patio deterioration and seal cracks.
• Paint or stain exterior trim, fences and decks as needed.
• Repair damage on the outside of your home, including cracks.
• Find and seal any foundation, crawlspace, or basement crack, seepage or leaks.
• Wash and repair holes in window and door screens.
• Ensure the soil around your home slopes away from the foundation.

INSIDE YOUR HOME

• Inspect the attic for signs of roof leaks.
• Inspect the washing machine, fridge and dishwasher hoses and clean the filters.
• Check the basement walls for any leaks, drips or dampness.
• Check the float of your sump pump to ensure it’s clean and moving freely by slowly pouring water into the sump tank.
• Check that the battery of your sump pump is in good condition by running the sump pump a second time with the power off.