Canadian Underwriter

IBC unhappy with draft auto theft program

July 29, 2003   by Canadian Underwriter

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A new regulatory framework for electronic vehicle immobilization from Transport Canada is drawing criticism from insurers. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) says the program is flawed and will be a step back in the fight against vehicle theft.
The regulation would require all new passenger cars and light duty trucks to have electronic immobilizers if built after September 1, 2005. The problem, says the IBC, is that it allows manufacturers to use either the Canadian standard or a “considerably weaker” Economic Commission for Europe standard for the devices.
The IBC has been asking manufacturers to put in immobilizers that meet the “Canadian Theft Deterrent Standard”, and currently 11 manufacturers do so, with about 60% of new 2003 having compliant system. Overall, about 10% of vehicles on the road in Canada have a compliant system.
The European standard could lead to inferior systems, such as those using mechanical keys rather than electronic codes.
“We are disappointed that the federal government would effectively ignore a proven Canadian standard in favor of a considerably weaker European standard,” says Bill Cameron, national director, auto theft, IBC. “IBC has demonstrated that vehicles with immobilizers meeting the Canadian standard reduce theft frequency by approximately 50%.” He adds that even European insurers find the ECE standards inferior.
They also note the new program is aimed only at new vehicles and not at installing aftermarket immobilizers in older cars, which are more often becoming the target of thieves, according to IBC research.

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