by Cedric Hughes, Barrister & Solicitor with weekly contributions from Leslie McGuffin, LL.B.

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Archived Posts

Five Thousand Teenagers Die Annually in Crashes

It’s summer and, if you have teenage children you are more than likely going to at least hear stories about injury and fatality on the roads involving their friends and acquaintances.  And these stories may involve the most unlikely kids: one day it’s diplomas, accolades and a bright post-secondary future; then it’s the ICU, comas, and rehab programs… or funerals.

Recommendations for Random Breath Tests

Section 8 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms provides that “Everyone has the right to be secure against unreasonable search or seizure.”  Court cases have interpreted this provision as meaning that a police officer can only legally conduct a search or seizure on the basis of reasonable and probable grounds for concluding that a crime has been committed.  Breath tests are considered searches under the law but they have not been held to be unreasonable since they can be demanded only when there are reasonable and probable grounds for believing the driver is impaired.

Hybrids Going Mainstream

The United States government recently announced stricter fuel efficiency standards for US passenger vehicles and light trucks.  Average fleet mileage standards must reach 35.5 miles per gallon (6.62 litres/100km) by 2016 rather than by 2020 as targeted by the previous administration’s Energy Security and Independence Act of 2007, and they apply nationally. Congressional approval is not required but implementation rules could take more than a year.  Now the purpose is to put into high gear the US drive towards energy independence.

Do Cyclists Have To Follow the Rules?

At the end of May, the Vancouver Sun wrote about the intention of the Vancouver Police during June (bike month) to hand out ‘information tickets’ to cyclists who, by their actions, appear unaware of cycling laws.  Considering that the fines for ‘real tickets’ are not insignificant—$109 for eight of the nine main offences— and that the ‘information tickets’ list all the possible violations and their penalties, this temporary indulgence for apparent ignorance of the law seems generous and consistent with the goals of pro-cyclists.

A Universal Baseline for Vehicle Safety

At the time of writing, Magna International Inc., the Canadian based automotive supplier is poised to acquire 20% of the ownership of General Motors’ German-based Opel.  This deal, which includes a financial partnership between Magna and the Russian state run lender Sberbank, an industrial partnership between Opel and the Russian carmaker GAZ, loan guarantees from Germany’s federal government and the four state governments with Opel plants, and a trust scheme to protect Opel from “getting caught in any turbulence” from a GM bankruptcy is big: in complexity (obviously), in geopolitical alliances, in dollars, and, as with all things now in the global auto industry, in risk.

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