New drivers can lose their licenses for three months if caught texting behind the wheel under a new measure that came into effect Thursday.

The increase from three demerit points to four points is most meaningful for new drivers with probationary licenses, as losing four points results in a three-month licence suspension.

Transport Minister Robert Poeti had been threatening the measure since last September, noting that awareness campaigns have done little to modify behaviour.

The fine of $115-$154, one of the lowest in Canada, remains unchanged but might be adjusted in an upcoming adjustment of the Quebec Highway Code.

A typical text requires about four to six seconds of attention, which means that a highway driver would being traveling the equivalent of a football field with eyes closed while dealing with a text.

"It's a real problem all around the world," Poeti told CTV Montreal Thursday. "Quebec is no exception."

Across Canada Nova Scotia has the highest fines for texting-while-driving punishments, with fines of up to $579, according to CAA.