Texting and Driving

cell_phone_use_while_driving

Quota of Tickets is Not The Objective Here

Marc-Andre Lavigne
Opinions Editor

Last week, from Tuesday through Thursday, police officers from the Sûreté du Québec and agents from Contrôle Routier Québec hit the roads and highways of Quebec City with the intention of trying out a pilot project. The project was a collaborative effort between the Sûreté du Québec, Contrôle Routier Québec and the SAAQ to tackle the issue of texting while driving.

Efforts are being made by all three groups are to highlight the SAAQ’s campaign against texting while driving with the head slogan: “When you text and drive, you just don’t care about the consequences” (SAAQ).

The officers involved in the project achieved a moderate level of success. In total, more than 70 tickets were given to drivers for having their cellphones in their hand while driving (Radio-Canada). They also gave a number of tickets to people who weren’t wearing their seatbelts.

Éric Santerre, coordinator of media relations of Contrôle Routier Québec, has said that police officers are not always able to see people texting while driving because the cellphone is on the driver’s lap. He added that for Contrôle Routier Québec, who has to deal with trucks, they are not always able to see what the driver is doing given the fact that the cabin is higher than normal vehicles (LaPresse). Their method for giving so many tickets involves the use of a bus. Patrolling the streets in the bus permits them to have a better view of what drivers are doing in their vehicles. Officers on board the bus spotted drivers committing the infraction and would relay the information to an officer in a patrol vehicle in front of the bus. The drivers who were caught texting while driving recieved a fine of $120 and 4 demerit points. However, it must be made clear that the goal of the project was not to give a large number of tickets to drivers, but rather to raise awareness and to prevent people from texting and driving. Mr. Santerre added that it would not be too far-fetched to predict that the project could appear in other cities across Quebec.

Law enforcers hope that the new project achieved its goal. They hope the drivers who were caught know that there are legal consequences to their actions and that drivers who would normally text are now aware of the methods that could be employed to catch them. Overall, they hope people will stop texting behind the wheel.

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