What does the new law say regarding cell phones and driving?

In Quebec, driving while using your phone has become much too frequent and is now the leading cause of deadly collisions in the province. In order to improve this dark reality, firmer laws have been passed. Indeed, since June 30, 2018, fines are steep for those who still use their cell phone while driving.

Though many still don’t know about these laws, as responsible drivers it’s crucial to be aware of the necessary guidelines you should follow when on the road, and thinking about using your cell phone.

Reading the following information could help avoid accidents and, most importantly save your life or the lives of others sharing the road with you.

Cell phones and driving: a summary of the new laws

Simplified, stricter rules

The new law is unambiguous: unless you have a hands-free device, it is strictly forbidden to use your cell phone while driving. This also applies to any portable electronic device.

Any activity relating to the use of a device with a screen is prohibited. Playing games is forbidden. Sending a text message, scrolling your Facebook feed, checking your email or surfing the web, whatever it is, you should not do it. Want to use your calculator for a quick second? Don’t. Wondering about the weather? Check later. Even looking at the time is a no-go. It’s simple really when you drive, you must not touch your phone.

Whether you’re using your phone for information or entertainment, pulling out your phone while sitting at the wheel, is just not tolerated. Even if you’re waiting at a red light or stuck in traffic, it’s still NO.

The ONLY time you can use your cell phone while sitting in the driving wheel is when you are legally parked, meaning your vehicle is completely immobilized, in a designated area.

Let’s recap. If you’re driving your car, you CANNOT:

• Make calls (unless you have a voice-operated phone)

• Send text messages

• Consult your agenda

• Look at the time

• Go on Facebook

• Pick a song on your playlist

• Surf the Web

This law applies to the following devices! :

• Phones (new and older models)

• Digital tablets

• All multimedia readers (video, music, etc.)

• All laptop computers

There are a few exceptions to the rule…

There are circumstances where researching information is vital. If you have an integrated screen in your vehicle or a fixed amount for your device, you’re authorized to consult information that is considered practical for circulation:

• Tire pressure

• Gas consumption

• Shifting to electric mode/gas

• Road conditions (obstacles and driving conditions)

• Weather conditions

• Directions (GPS)

Make sure your mount is easy to reach and doesn’t block your view.

Stricter penalties

The new laws regarding cell phone use while driving are certainly stringent, but they aim to discourage those that still haven’t understood the impact their actions can have. Infractions could cost you the following:

• Fines between $300 and $600

• Fines for cyclists between $80 and $100

• Five demerit points (temporary loss of a driver’s licence)

• Loss of your driver’s licence (in the case of a repeat offence)

If you’ve been charged with the illegal use of a cell phone while driving, criminal lawyer Martine Thibodeau, can help you. Please reach out for more information.

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