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Quebec launches $180-million, 5-year plan to improve road safety

Quebec has announced Tuesday a plan to improve road safety, which includes 27 measures to reduce accidents and deaths on the province's roadways.

The five-year Road Safety Action Plan runs until 2028 and comes with a pricetag of $180 million.

Some of the measures included in the plan are as follows:

  • Reducing speed limits to 30 km/h in Quebec school zones (with some exceptions);
  • Developing school zones and corridors for improved student safety;
  • Investing in pedestrian and cyclist safety, particularly in school zones;
  • Increasing photo radar, particularly in school and construction zones;
  • Increasing fines and demerit points for certain offences;
  • Increasing the use of automatic barriers for roadwork:
  • Introducing new rules related to electric scooters and other personal transport devices;
  • Deploying a major road safety campaign alongside the one run by the Quebec automobile insurance board (SAAQ); and
  • The online review of driving course content.

Quebec Transport Minister Genevieve Guilbault said Quebec must remain proactive in improving road safety.

"Every accident is one too many," she said. "We're going to make it safer for our children to get to school and for our workers to get to construction sites. We are going to give municipalities more tools to intervene on their road network, particularly in the vicinity of schools. We are putting human life and the protection of vulnerable road users at the heart of our actions to make Quebec's roads safe for everyone." 

The new road safety plan is so far just an outline of objectives, many of which will require the government to draft new laws and regulations.

The plan doesn't specify, for example, how much fines will increase for unsafe road behaviour.


The new road safety plan is receiving positive reviews from pedestrians, cyclists and parents, though some are wondering whether the measures are too rushed.

Some say the plan was long overdue.

"I do have to say, after months and months of work, we finally have the attention of the minister, and things are happening," said Katherine Korakakis, president of the English Parents' Committee Association.

Korakakis said the transport ministry's new road safety plan wouldn't have been possible without the mobilization of parents who are afraid for their children's safety.

"Happy that this message is out there that we have to change our culture on the road," said Sandrine Cabana-Degani, executive director of Pietons Quebec.

Pedestrian advocates and parents say that although they are happy to see these new measures, they question whether these changes will have an effect in the short term, as school is set to start in just a few days.

"The more effect will be on the long term, and that's why we will closely monitor the implementation of the plan for next steps," said Cabana-Degani.

Though she thinks increasing fines and demerit points for offences involving pedestrians could actually work as a short-term solution, Vélo Québec, on the other hand, says even more needs to be done to ensure cyclists are safe on the road.

"We're going to have to have a national conversation on the fact that we have more cars but also that they're bigger," said the group's program director, Magali Bebronne.

With more cars on the road, Korakakis has a few suggestions to make the areas safer, including closing certain roads being closed during pick-up and drop-off and making wider sidewalks to control the number of cars passing by.

With files from The Canadian Press Top Stories

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