Using a mobile phone while driving has been strictly prohibited since June 1, 2023. Since June 30, 2018, the use of a phone or any other portable electronic device while driving is strictly punished. The fine amount has increased in the past five years and now ranges from $300 to $600, plus costs. As for the number of demerit points per violation, it has also increased from four to five. In case of recurrence, the license can be immediately suspended for a period of 3, 7, or 30 days, and the minimum fine has doubled to $600.
Clearly, from that date onwards, it is difficult to interact with a portable electronic device while driving unless it is connected to the windshield and displays useful driving information.
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On this June 1, there are more specific exceptions.
The provisions of the new Driving Regulations, which came into effect on June 1, establish certain exceptions that allow drivers to use a mobile phone or consult information on a screen.
According to the Société québécoise d’information juridique (SOQUIJ), this regulation puts an end to the ambiguity arising from the interpretation by the courts of the provisions of the Highway Safety Code regarding distracted driving, in order to ensure uniform and fair enforcement. Exceptions to the ban include using a mobile phone connected to the windshield for GPS purposes only, as well as using it for transportation company activities or passenger safety. Looking at or touching a mobile phone for purposes other than GPS is prohibited. GPS devices placed on the windshield or dashboard are allowed for navigation.
When a mobile phone is not connected to the windshield or dashboard, it is allowed for emergency calls to 911 and contactless payment, provided the vehicle is immobilized but not parked. Looking at or holding the phone while driving is prohibited.
Using a hands-free device, such as a Bluetooth system or headphones, is allowed for phone calls. However, it is recommended to use voice commands and avoid touching the phone. Holding a phone in hand is strictly prohibited.
Displaying or operating controls on the screen is allowed if it shows information related to driving or the usual equipment. These regulations aim to ensure uniform and fair enforcement of distracted driving laws and prevent ambiguity.