Quebec police are about to get more strict with drivers as of this week. The Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), in collaboration with the Contrôle routier Québec (CRQ), l'Association des Directeurs de Police du Québec (ADPQ), the SPVM, and La Sûreté du Québec will be conducting a provincial-wide initiative to crack down on driving while distracted. This is being dubbed "L’opération nationale concertée (ONC) Distraction 2020" and will be happening from September 18 until September 24.

According to the SAAQ, distracted while driving caused 8% of fatal crashes in 2019.

MTL Blog spoke to a representative from the SAAQ, who told us that each policing department will have the ability to decide where and when they will be stationed to look for those distracted while operating a vehicle.

However, the fines will be the same across the province.

For those who are charged with their first offence, they will be charged $300 and the fees, which can total over $400. Plus, they will receive five demerit points on their license.

Those who are charged for a second time in a two-year timeframe will have the fine doubled to $600 and the fees. They will also have their license suspended for three days.

This suspension will increase with each subsequent offence.

Although texting while driving is the most commonly associated form of distracted driving, the SAAQ defines distracted driving as one of four forms:

- Visual: Looking away from the road for any reason.

- Auditive: Being distracted by noise, including talking on the phone.

- Cognitive: Thinking of something while driving that impairs your ability to drive effectively.

- Manual: Taking your hands off the wheel.

Studies have shown that texting while driving at a speed of 90 kilometres an hour is no different than crossing a football field with closed eyes.

Other studies have shown that drivers miss roughly half of their environment while distracted.

The SAAQ, CRQ, the SPVM and La Sûreté du Québec want to remind citizens to drive safe and to always pay attention while behind the wheel.

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