- 22 March 2018
Along with health, education, and the economy, road safety is one of the main concerns of Quebec citizens.
ho hasn’t ever complained about potholes, roadwork, or the dangerous behaviour of certain drivers?For several weeks, we have been preparing the largest reform to the Highway Safety Code in 30 years.
The proposed measures are concrete actions aimed at improving user safety and ensuring better sharing of the road. The main focuses of the reform: vulnerable users, distracted driving, and drunk driving repeat offenders.
ROAD SAFETY REFORM & VULNERABLE USERS
The new reform to the Highway Safety Code is focused first and foremost on more effective protection of vulnerable users – that is, pedestrians, cyclists, children, and student drivers.
Pedestrians and cyclists: Do you walk a lot? Are you a frequent bike path user? The implementation of the concepts of shared streets and bicycle routes will please you! Pedestrians and cyclists will be free to move where they want within the limits of these routes. With speed limits set respectively at 20 km/h and 30 km/h, shared streets and bicycle routes give priority to pedestrians and cyclists while allowing them to move around in a safer environment.
Children: Children will have to wait a little longer before they can sit in the passenger seat. Similar to the Canadian requirements regarding the use of booster seats, the road safety reform requires that children under nine years of age or under 145 cm be placed in appropriate seats. In addition, the amounts of the fines for speeding in school zones will double.
Young drivers: Although mandatory driving lessons have significantly increased the confidence and know-how of young drivers, they are still responsible for 20% of accidents causing damage despite only representing 9% of licence holders. In an effort to improve these statistics, the new reform will impose a limit of 3 passengers and a curfew from midnight to 5 am on student drivers – a measure that, unsurprisingly, does not have unanimous support among student drivers.
HEAVIER FINESEvery year in Quebec, 60 000 tickets are issued for using a cell phone while driving, 130 deaths are caused by drunk driving, and more than 2000 repeat offenders are charged with impaired driving. The new Highway Safety Code reform will take these figures into account in order to strengthen the penalties for dangerous driving.
Distracted driving: In addition to cell phones, all electronic devices that may distract the driver will be prohibited. Is your passenger using their iPad within your field of vision? This will now be considered a distraction punishable by a fine. Fines will increase from $80 to $100 to $300 to $600, and they will be doubled for repeat offenders.
Drunk driving: Repeat drunk driving offenders will be issued an ignition interlock device that they will have to use for the rest of their lives, unless they demonstrate exemplary behaviour. Fines will also double for repeat offenders.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. A wide range of measures will be set in motion once this reform is introduced: pilot projects for self-driving cars, winter tire installations on December 1st, and much more.
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