Traffic rules don't disappear just because the roads are empty. The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) confirmed to MTL Blog that its officers issued a $1,458 ticket to a driver who sped across the Champlain Bridge at nearly 160 km/h on Friday, April 17 at around 6:00 p.m. The speed limit on the bridge is half that.

They also received 14 demerit points and their licence was immediately suspended for seven days.

That's in line with provincial guidelines for "excessive speeding," which in this case is defined as "driving at a speed that exceeds the speed limit by [...] 50 km/h or more in a zone where the speed limit is over 60 km/h and up to 90 km/h," according to the SAAQ.

Those later found guilty, the car insurance company explains, could see their number of demerit points doubled and a "significant" increase in the licence renewal cost.

Subsequent offences could result in a seized vehicle and a 30-day licence suspension.

The SAAQ says that "speed is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents in Québec."

"According to some studies, reducing the average traffic speed by 5 km/h would decrease the number of accidents by 15% per year."

In addition to its regular duties to ensure road safety, the SQ is employed in the effort to enforce social distancing measures.

"Members are in the field to accompany and sensitize vulnerable people and merchants to comply with the various safety procedures," the provincial police force explains on its website.

In several regions, officers have established checkpoints to limit non-essential travel.

The SQ is also assisting regional public health services when necessary to locate infected individuals who have violated a self-isolation order.

In some cases, officers can use cellphone geolocation to find missing people that could endanger public health.

But the Sûreté du Québec assures that "daily interventions relating to the maintenance of peace, order, and public security, as well as the prevention and repression of crime, continue."

So even though car traffic has all but disappeared, drivers still must obey the law. The SQ could be waiting just around the corner.

Stay tuned for more news.

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