Heftier fines for distracted driving in Quebec start Saturday, cycists can’t use earbuds

Distracted drivers could see fines between $300 and $600

woman using phone behind steering wheel

Quebec’s heftier distracted driving laws start Saturday, but not just for motorists. Cyclists and mobility scooter users will be facing stricter regulation as well.

Motorists caught with a portable electronic device in their hand, whether they’re using it or not, will face a fine of $300 to $600. The previous maximum fine was $100. Additionally, demerit points are up from four to five.

Furthermore, if a driver is caught for a second time within two years, officers will immediately suspend their licence on the spot for three days. Subsequent offences within a two-year period could lead to suspensions between seven and 30 days long. All suspensions are immediately enforced.

In Quebec, drivers have 15 demerit points initially. Demerit points remain on record for two years, with each infraction leading to increased licence renewal fees during the two years.

Quebec provincial police issued 12,918 infractions for cellphone use while driving in 2016. Additionally, Montreal police issued 15,409 infractions.

Earbuds out, cyclists

The fees for cyclists and mobility scooter users caught with a device in hand are substantially lower. Cyclists face fines of $80 to $100. Mobility scooter users have fines of $30 to $60. However, the law prohibits cyclists and scooter users from wearing earbuds. If they’re caught using earbuds, they face the same fines as if they were holding the device..

Drivers, however, are restricted to using one earbud.

The stricter rules regarding cyclists and mobility scooter users are more for safety than anything. When earbuds are in, it’s harder to hear what’s going on around you. Especially when music is playing. Hopefully these new laws encourage more people to ride without earbuds.

Other exceptions

While drivers aren’t allowed to hold a device, they can still mount it on a dashboard. As long as the device doesn’t obstruct one’s view or hinder vehicle operations, its okay. Drivers can also use the device for things in relation to the vehicle’s operation.

For example, it’s okay to adjust GPS coordinates but not to change the playlist you’re listening too. These rules extend to screens built into the vehicle as well.

Cyclists can mount devices on their bikes.

Mounted or not, using an electronic device while operating a vehicle of cycle is incredibly dangerous. It’s best to set everything up before departing. Many smartphones offer a ‘driving mode’ or a limited vehicle experience that encourages users to use their voice to control the device instead of a screen. Asking your phone to play that hit new Drake song is probably safer than scrolling through your music library looking for it.

Source: CBC