CAA-Quebec calls for enforcement ahead of distracted driving law change

Published: June 27, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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CAA-Quebec Foundation says enforcement must be better in the province as new distracted driving laws are introduced. Quebec will embrace tougher penalties against distracted drivers this weekend, but CAA argues unless enforcement increases the situation may not change.

Distracted driving was the number one cause of fatalities on roads in Quebec in 2017, accounting for 34 per cent of deaths. Police are already clamping down on the offence. Provincial officers issued 12,918 infractions for cell phone use alone in 2016, while in 2017 15,509 infractions were punished by police in Montreal.

With distracted driving rife, the Quebec government is raising the minimum fine from $100 to between $300 and $600, while drivers caught a second time in a two-year period receive an on the spot license suspension of 3 days.

Marco Harrison, director of the CAA-Quebec Foundation says increased fines are a good approach:

"Some people, I'm sorry, but they don't understand with their brain, they understand with their pocket… If you go and reach into their pocket and take money out of it, then they will understand."

However, to make the message loud and clear to motorists, Harrison believes increased enforcement is needed.

"Better enforcement has to be part of the solution," he said.

New harsher penalties against motorists will be handed out when they are caught using a portable electronic device whilst driving. However, there are some exceptions, notably devices that are mounted on or in the dashboard or handlebars. For example, an in-car system or GPS.

To avoid temptation of using a device, CAA-Quebec urges motorists to set up what they need before hitting the road:

"You have to understand, care and program everything you can before you get on your way," Harrison said.