Toronto, Ontario -- December 15, 2017 -- In this week's edition of Friday Fun, a Russian collision repair expert becomes internet sensation, 401 driver driving ‘too slow’, more roundabouts planned for the GTA and much, much more.
-Last week this space published a link to a Russian collision repair expert who brought a trashed BMW 7 back from the brink. It seems the master panel beater, Arthur Tussik, has become an Internet celebrity. His video has gone viral over the last week and has now attracted an amazing 1.9 million views. A report in the trade press notes his YouTube page has 185,000 subscribers (where he has dozens of videos posted). Taking on collision repair challenges, often set to dance music, he’s definitely old school. One report notes there are no pre or post scans and few references to OEM regulations. But he knows how to handle a welder, a rack and the basic tools of the job. He’s keepin’ it very real. You can find his Youtube page here.
-Police may charge an Ottawa-area woman for driving 60 km/h under the speed limit on Highway 401. Ontario Provincial Police say calls began coming in about a car that was in the fast lane with its high beams on. According to CityNews, “OPP made several attempts to get the driver to pull onto the right shoulder, but eventually had to make a tandem stop with cruisers at the front and rear of the vehicle to move it off the highway. They say the driver told officers she believed the speed limit was 50 km/h.” The 47-year-old woman may be charged with, “... unnecessary slow driving, failing to obey signs and not having an insurance card.”
-Details about the arcane system for assessing auto victims in Ontario continue to leak out. An Ontario government minister recently said it was time to shut down a fraudulent system that has been enriching doctors and lawyers hired by insurance companies to assess victims of car accidents. Critics argue that over decades, many of those hired by the insurers have come to rely on the revenue and have ended up filing reports generally favourable to the insurers as a result. The latest example comes from a report in the Windsor Star, which ran a story last week explaining how it is that a man who suffered catastrophic injuries in a 2012 motorcycle accident ended up being assessed by the unqualified daughter of one of the doctors compensated by an insurance company.
The young woman had been hired to do “psychometric” testing of the man. According to a report in the Star, “The aide also happened to be Lawson’s university-aged daughter, studying in an unrelated field and apparently easily distracted. Throughout the hours of tests she was ‘actively engaged’ in conversation about ‘entirely irrelevant matters’ with [the victims] own daughter, said an Ontario tribunal this month in a scathing critique of [the doctor’s] evidence.” The doctor would later testify the victim had “... been exaggerating his symptoms, an opinion that could have deprived the patient of hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical and other help...Arbitrator David Snider of Ontario’s Financial Services Commission was not impressed. ‘I found all of the above to be very disturbing,’ Snider said as he ruled in the victim’s favour. ‘[The doctor] was not conducting himself properly as an expert assessor of [the victim] but was, instead, actively promoting the insurer’s case.”
-Also in Ontario: The debate over the high number of collisions involving distracted drivers of heavy trucks continues to simmer. The province is about to toughen legislation by introducing a new offence—careless driving causing death—that will carry a maximum penalty of a $50,000 fine and two years in jail, plus a five-year licence suspension and six demerit points in cases where distracted driving leads to a fatality.
There have been over 6,000 accidents involving heavy trucks this year, many occurring as a truck crashes into a line-up of cars that have slowed on a highway. Police are concerned drivers of the semis are not watching the road. Arguably, some drivers have taken to watching their smartphones to alleviate boredom on long trips, leading to an uptick in these types of accidents. According to media reports, in a bid to get a handle on the situation, provincial police are cracking down on distracted truck drivers, “... by patrolling in transport trucks… Ontario Provincial Police say the five-day road safety blitz launched Monday is the first time officers have used transport trucks on patrol… They say being in the trucks will give officers a better vantage point for spotting distracted or dangerous drivers. OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes says the OPP has responded to more than 6,200 collisions related to transport trucks this year. Hawkes says 69 of those collisions were fatal, killing a total of 84 people. The OPP say inattentive driving causes over a quarter of all commercial vehicle collisions.”
-A report in an industry trade report from Texas notes that many shops in that state are only now working through the backup in jobs created by some severe hailstorms that occurred months ago. “It’s been pretty crazy this year,” said one shop owner. “We were used to kicking out jobs, no matter what it was, within nine business days. Once the hail storms came in, it pushed us back between 14-18 business days, and the severity of it, we were talking 30-45 business days.”
-City planners around the GTA are planning many more roundabouts in the region. In reaction, the Ministry of Transportation may revamp the Ontario driving tests to include proper ways to handle the traffic circles. CityNews this week notes that roundabouts are becoming more popular. They are, “...initially more expensive to build, but they cost less to maintain than traditional intersections.” But there is another benefit according to a source in the story. “One of the key aspects of it is that they prevent the most severe types of collisions, which are right-angle collisions,” according to the story. So far there are 16 on provincial highways, with several more under construction and in planning.