Quebec Coroner Recommends Amendments to Criminal Code

Coroner Want Distracted Driving to be A Criminal Offence

Quebec coroner Michel Ferland seeks to have the Criminal Code amended to have a law that will make using your phone for texting or talking a criminal offence in the event of death or injury, similar to drunk driving. The amended law would also allow law enforcement greater power to seize information from a motorist’s phone if there was a suspension of distracted driving. The amendment law could aid in the prosecution of drivers who are involved in collisions that result in injury or death.

North American statistics confirm that drivers who engage in texting or talking on their phones are 23 times more likely to be involved in a collision. Currently, provinces have enacted laws which prevent the use of cellphones while driving yet motorists to continue to engage in distracted driving. Penalties have been increased, including the stiffer fines and demerit points yet drivers continue to use their cell phones to engage in the distracted driving behaviour.

Can Awareness and Education Reduce Distracted Driving?

Many have voiced their opinion suggesting that more laws are not necessary, instead the focus should be on educating drivers. Education has resulted in motorists complying with seatbelt use and even avoiding drinking and driving. With continued public awareness, advocates suggest that drivers will comply with legislation when it comes to distracted driving and cellphone use. Is this wishful thinking or will drivers eventually see the light?

Young Drivers of Canada continues to educate drivers to put away their phones to avoid all temptation and focus on the task of driving. Motorists are reminded to turn off their phones and put them in the trunk or glovebox. Drivers are also encouraged to let everyone know that they will be driving and will not be responding to texts or calls during their journey. If everyone takes responsibility for distracted driving, then drivers will realize that text or email can wait!