Teens launch petition against Quebec Highway Safety Code changes

Two Quebec teenagers have started a petition against changes to the province's Highway Safety Code dealing with new drivers.

The Change.org petition, addressed to transport minister André Fortin, the transport ministry, and premier Philippe Couillard, has been signed more than 25,000 times.

It calls on the government to take a second look at some of the new provisions to the Code, specifically the ones that block drivers with learners' permits from the roads between midnight at 5 a.m., and the one which bars drivers 19 and younger from having more than one passenger in their cars for their first six months.

One of the teens behind the petition, 17-year-old Vincent Demers, says limiting the options of young drivers getting home at night will make them less safe.

"If, for example, you're five [people], and you only can take three passengers, and four of them are drunk. What are they going to do?" Demers said. "They'll probably drive drunk, if nobody stops them?"

Demers also suggests the limits on passengers in the car seems arbitrary.

Recent highway accident statistics show that road deaths among those 15 to 24 years of age grew a whopping 56 per cent over the past year — and that a significant proportion of those accidents happened between midnight and 4 a.m.

Driving instructor Andrew Matthews says the new rules could save lives.

"If you're carrying around passengers who are inebriated, or maybe not behaving themselves as they should be, this is a potential danger in itself," Matthews said.

The petition, meantime, also suggests the changes could unfairly target those outside of metropolitan areas, where taxi service is spotty and public transit options are virtually nonexistent.

-CJAD 800's Emily Campbell contributed to this report.