Police cracking down on distracted drivers
Published Friday, September 22, 2017 2:22PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 22, 2017 8:51PM EDT
Over the next week police forces in and around Montreal will be ganging up on irresponsible drivers who will never see them coming.
After all, it's hard for a person to see anything while looking at a cell phone when they're supposed to be driving a car.
Montreal police, Longueuil police, and the Sureté du Quebec launched their campaign against distracted drivers on Friday at the Montreal base of the Jacques Cartier Bridge and handed out tickets to five drivers in about half an hour.
The SAAQ says distracted drivers are now responsible for more injuries than anyone else on the road: more than half of all injuries in car crashes last year, along with 80 deaths.
“We have over 80 deaths and 450 people who are wounded,” said SQ spokesperson Jason Allard. “We want to tell people to stop using their phones, to stop putting their makeup on, to stop reading books when they're driving their cars. We've all seen it in traffic.”
Allard said many drivers have deluded themselves into thinking the laws banning the use of cell phone don't apply to them.
"Nobody would go into a school zone and close their eyes and pass three school buses and then open their eyes again. Nobody would do that. But the moment you're in that zone and you look at that text message that's exactly what you did," said Allard.
He said looking at a cell phone is the result of overconfidence.
"A lot can happen between that and we all think that we're great drivers but nobody is ready if you don't see what's coming," said Allard.
Quebec first banned the use of cell phones at the wheel in 2008, but in the decade since the number of people being ticketed has continued to grow each year.
The law is clear: a driver is not allowed to even hold a cellphone, and comes with a fine of $80 to $100 and four demerit points.
Ontario is beefing up its distracted driving legislation this fall, and Quebec could be following suit.
Transport Minister Laurent Lessard said he is planning to introduce changes to the Highway Code this fall, and that will likely include a steep increase in fines for distracted driving, cell phone use, and speeding.