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I’ve noticed over the past several months, the media campaign of ads both for and against the proposed cap on automobile insurance, as a way to combat the outrageously high rates motorists pay in this province.
The root of this problem runs deeper than most people realize.
The insurance industry has defended its position, claiming that the high rates for Newfoundland drivers are justified because the industry still only breaks even doing business here.
I’m not sure about this, but our provincial government is not without blame for contributing to the high costs either.
In this province, the government not only charges a sales tax on vehicle insurance, but has also legislated that such insurance is mandatory which, in effect, makes it a necessity for motorists. It could be argued that because vehicle insurance is a necessity, then it is also unethical that a tax be charged on it and that insurance companies are not also regulated to keep rates reasonably affordable.
There is likely another factor, too, which is contributing to the high cost of vehicle insurance. It’s a factor which I’ve heard many complaints about, but also one that doesn’t seem to be taken as seriously as it should. Generally, it’s the very poor driving habits of Newfoundlanders.
Every single day, one can easily witness speeding, driving without due care and attention, road rage and aggression, texting and driving, lack of signaling, improper lane changes … and one of my favourites, drivers taking short cuts across vacant parking slots in parking lots. I’m sure that most motorists are not aware that insurance companies treat parking lot collisions as 50-50 regardless of which motorist is at fault.
This is hardly fair to the driver who actually uses the proper designated lanes to manoeuvre safely around a parking lot, but gets hit by someone taking a short cut.
Not to mention the alarming number of fatalities on our provinces highways. Not all of them are due to the poor condition of our roadways.
I’ve driven across Canada from coast to coast on a couple of occasions and can honestly say that Newfoundland drivers are some of the worst in the country.
We need to be honest with ourselves and admit that we are part of the problem when it comes to high insurance rates. We need to step up our game and become more responsible, courteous and safer drivers.
We need to be cognizant of the constantly varying weather conditions and drive accordingly. The world does not revolve around you when you get behind the wheel.