Quebec’s distracted driving laws start this weekend, cyclists included

Published: June 27, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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This weekend, Quebec will implement its new distracted driving laws and the changes will not just affect drivers in the province. Cyclists and mobility scooter users will also have plenty to consider under the new regulations.

Quebec’s government has placed harsher penalties, including heavier fines, on motorists caught using a portable device while behind the wheel. While cell phones are the obvious target of the laws, a portable device could also be a tablet, media player, or smartwatch. The province will double down on repeat offenders with license suspensions for those with multiple offences within a two-year frame.

Cyclists are also included in new distracted driving reforms and will face fines of $80 to $100 if they have an electronic device in hand. Interestingly, these fines will also be carried for cyclists wearing headphones, so say goodbye to your tunes when on the saddle. Those who use mobility scooters will also be fined for the same offences, at $30 to $60.

Motorists will be judged more harshly and will have fines of $300 to $600 for distracted driving. Under its existing and soon to be replaced laws, Quebec would fine a maximum of $100 for the same offences. Drivers caught for a second time in a two-year period will receive an on the sport license suspension of three days.

According to Mario Vaillancourt, spokesperson for the SAAQ (Quebec’s automobile insurance board), said distracted driving is the leading cause of fatalities on roads in the province, accounting for 34 per cent of deaths in 2017.

We hope these measures will decrease the number of deaths on the road," he said.