The future of autonomous vehicles is becoming a real, even for ICBC. General Motors announced on May 8, 2019 plans to create a test track for autonomous vehicles in Ontario. This means the loss of 2,300 jobs. However, the autonomous vehicle facility will employ 300 skilled workers in Ontario.
GM Canada president and managing director Travis Hester said, “This transformation plan is very significant as it positions Oshawa for a sustainable future…”
At the same time, BC also needs to build an infrastructure for self-driving cars. The Insurance Bureau of Canada released the paper “Auto Insurance for Automated Vehicles: Preparing for the Future of Mobility” This outlines recommendations for the arrival of automated vehicles.
The British Columbia NDP however appear to be far behind. There is no ICBC autonomous vehicle legislation. In fact, the NDP is focusing on the human driver and not manufacturer liability for future accidents. In the new ICBC auto scheme manufacturers of automated vehicle will avoid liability.
Attorney General David Eby has been busy making it harder for auto victims to get fair compensation. The government has yet however to create an insurance policy for automated technologies.
Mr. Eby has increased the power of the state-run auto insurer, ICBC. The government continues to focus on collecting insurance money from drivers and owners. However, the new ICBC injury caps system will not compensate people injured in automated vehicles collisions fairly, or at all.
The BC government has been fumbling out legislation clawing back over $1 billion earmarked for victim compensation. The intent of the minor injury definition is to ensure financial stability at ICBC, not to build for a better future. When ICBC starts making money again, it will be on the backs of innocent victims of personal injury.
As the self-driving car industry drives by British Columbia, the injured seem to be the losers. High skilled well paying jobs in the autonomous vehicle industry are also going to Ontario, not BC.
The concept of a state run auto insurer is in direct conflict with the evolution of the self-driving car. As self-driving fleets become ubiquitous it will be more a public transit than private transport.
Auto insurance has never been a credible source of revenue for government. For now however, the ICBC system encourages more cars on the road. This is to enable the state run auto insurer and the BC government to collect and rely on insurance money.