Residents of Quebec have been banned from using their mobile devices while driving since April 2008. If caught, the fine for texting, emailing, talking or basically looking at a phone ranges from $115 to $154, with three demerit points.
Robert Poëti, Quebec’s transportation minister, has been threatening stiffer penalties since last September. Officially announced yesterday, the province’s new rules against distracted driving will bring harsher penalties upon individuals caught using their phone while driving. Instead of receiving three demerit points, those caught using a mobile device while driving will now receive four demerit points. This move also ensures new drivers with a probationary license will lose their license for three months if fined by the police.
Minister Poëti stated that distracted driving incidents related to mobile device use has steadily increased since the original law came into effect. In its first year of enforcement, the police reported 11,000 infractions while last year over 66,000 tickets were handed out.
Fines associated with distracted driving may also increase when the province reexamines the Quebec Highway Code later this year.