10 years since cellphones banned while driving in Quebec, distracted driving still biggest killer

Ten years ago today the Quebec government banned the use of mobile-phones while driving a vehicle on roadways throughout the province. 

However, despite million of dollars of investments towards safety awareness campaigns, a new survey for the Societé de l'assurance automobile du Quebec (SAAQ) finds that 54 per cent of Quebecers can't stop themselves from look at their devices when they get a text message whlie behind the wheel. 

In Quebec, SAAQ data suggests that more than half of all traffic accidents in the province are caused by distracted drivers - often involving by a mobile device. 

Many experts suggest the solution would be to increase the number of demerit points and fines for distracted drivers. Currently, drivers who are caught with a cell phone-in-hand while driving are fined $80 to $100 and lose four demerit points. 

In December 2017, the Couillard government announced proposed changes to the Quebec highway code that would increase the fine for motorists who are caught distracted behind the wheel. Fines for repeat-offenders would start at $300 and have a cap of $600.

While the proposed measures target texting-and-driving, they would also apply to drivers who are distracted by other electronic devices and screens.