Quebec road deaths involving young drivers see an increase this year

It's been a deadly year for young Quebec drivers and their passengers so far - the Journal de Montreal obtained numbers showing 44 people aged 15 to 24 have died this year to date on Quebec roads, five more than all of last year.

It's the first time since 2012 we've seen such an increase when the trend had been on the decrease over the past years.

About a third of the accidents happened in September and October - a time that coincided with unusually warmer weather that may have been a factor.

"Initially, reaction, of course, is one of shock," said Lewis Smith, manager of national projects for the Canada Safety Council.

Smith said more awareness campaigns are needed, adding there's a number of factors could be at play here:  drunk driving; speed; recklessness; inexperience; and distracted driving - not just texting behind the wheel but being distracted by friends in the car. In Ontario, there's a limit on the number of passengers young drivers can have in their car depending on their experience.

"Especially in these 44 fatalities in Quebec, a few of them were directly related to talking to friends in the car so that's certainly something worth keeping an eye on," said Smith in an interview with CJAD 800 News.

Young inexperienced drivers in Ontario are also not allowed to drive between midnight and 5 a.m. These combined measures have meant a 30% decrease in road deaths and injuries among Ontarians aged 16 to 19.

"From what we've seen anecdotally, it's been very successful," said Smith.

"I certainly think it's something Quebec lawmakers should look into and consider."