Fewer people using their cellphones while driving

Following the implementation of stronger penalties targeting distracted drivers, there's been a 37 per cent decrease in the number of people caught using their cellphones while on the road. 

"We'll have to see if these (decreases) continue, but we're not going to give up. We're still working with our partners, with SAAQ as well as our municipal partners, to bring down these numbers even further," said SQ spokesman Sgt. Daniel Thibaudeau.

New laws targeting the use of cellphones while behind the wheel took effect last June 30. A first offence now costs you a fine of anywhere from $300 to $600, and five demerit points. Each offence after that nets you a licence suspension.

The Sûreté du Québec released statistics which show an immediate decrease of cell phone related offences immediately after June 30.

"It does give positive results, we're seeing that in the numbers, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us," said Thibaudeau.

In June — before the new legislation was passed — they handed out 1,001 tickets.

After the legislation was passed, the numbers drastically decreased — that figure went to 630 in July, 476 in August, and 862 in September.

He adds that the SQ have seen an increase in the number of people who drive without buckling their seat belt.

"We noticed that it's led to more fatal collisions in the past year," he said.

"So we're going to increase our efforts, not to only attack distracted driving, but to go after those failing to buckle up (as well)."