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New highway safety code measures

New highway safety code measures

Amend the Highway Safety Code to improve the safety of all road users and adapt to the new realities of travel

An Act to amend the Highway Safety Code and other provisions was adopted by the National Assembly of Québec on April 17, 2018. The new rules that have been introduced target all road users. They are based on five main objectives:

  • Improve the road safety record
  • Improve the sharing of the road
  • Promote safer access to the road network for certain vehicles and users
  • More effectively manage the use of certain vehicles, equipment or devices
  • Simplify administrative or regulatory formalities

Measures

When additional information on the measures and the resulting rules are available, you can access them by clicking on the links in their description.

Note that the majority of links will be available on the effective date of the measure.

You can also consult Bill No. 165: An Act to amend the Highway Safety Code and other provisions to know, among other things, the measures that have been proposed and the amendments that have been adopted.

01 Drinking and Driving

Measure Description Effective date
Alcohol ignition interlock device for life

A repeat drinking and driving offender is subject for life to the condition of driving a road vehicle equipped with an alcohol ignition interlock device.

Following a government decree
Lifting the condition of an alcohol ignition interlock device

At the expiry of a 10-year period, the repeat offender may apply to have the condition of driving a vehicle equipped with an alcohol ignition interlock device lifted if they can show that their relationship with alcohol or drugs does not compromise the operation of a road vehicle.

Following a government decree

02 Cyclists

Measure Description Effective date
Cyclists signaling their intentions

Cyclists are no longer required to signal their intentions to slow down or stop.

However, they must continue to signal their intentions to turn, but they are no longer required to do so if it endangers their safety.

May 18, 2018
Penalties for cyclists and other users of non-motorized vehicles

Fines for offences committed by cyclists have increased. They are now $80 to $100.

The penalty for an offence committed by any other non-motorized vehicle user (e.g. non-motorized foot scooters, roller blades, skis) is now $80 to $100.

May 18, 2018

In addition, demerit points no longer apply to cyclists

April 18, 2018
Reflectors on bicycles

Alternative measures are permitted to substitute for reflectors on parts of a bicycle such as pedals and spokes.

Trailers pulled by bicycles must be equipped with reflectors.

May 18, 2018

Alternative measures are permitted for riding in the dark like a white light at the front.

April 18, 2018
Location where the cyclist must ride on the road

Cyclists can ride:

  • as close as possible to the edge or right side of the roadway, taking into account the condition of the roadway and the risk of car dooring;
  • between two rows of vehicles when there is a right turn lane.
May 18, 2018
Cyclists riding on the sidewalk

A municipality may, by means of signage, allow cyclists to ride on the sidewalk. In this case, they must then proceed at a reasonable and prudent speed, and give priority to pedestrians.

May 18, 2018
Traffic rules when approaching a group of cyclists, pedestrians or other escorted participants

Drivers of road vehicles must maintain a safety corridor when they pass or come upon a group of escorted participants, including a group of cyclists or pedestrians whose activity has been authorized.

Passing such a group can only occur if a peace officer authorizes it or if a lane in the same direction is available.

May 18, 2018
Cyclists riding on the shoulder

Cyclists can ride on the shoulder in the same direction as traffic.

May 18, 2018
Object obstructing the view or hindering the cyclist's operation

It is prohibited to ride a bicycle when a passenger, animal or object is placed so as to obstruct the view of the cyclist or to hinder their operation.

May 18, 2018
Immobilization of a cyclist when approaching a school bus or minibus

A cyclist who is approaching a bus or minibus used for the transportation of schoolchildren, whose flashing lights are activated or whose stop arm is deployed, must stop at a distance of more than 5 m from the vehicle.

May 18, 2018
Reasonable distance between a road vehicle and a cyclist riding on the shoulder or in a bicycle lane

Drivers of road vehicles must slow down and respect a safe distance when passing a cyclist.

This distance is 1.5 m on roads where the limit is more than 50 km/h and 1 m on roads where the limit is 50 km/h or less.

The distance to be respected when passing applies when the cyclist is riding on the road, on the shoulder or in a bicycle lane that is not separated by a median.

May 18, 2018
Use of pedestrian lights by cyclists

When encountering a red light and an activated pedestrian light, cyclists are allowed to continue on their way. In this case, they must stop, give priority to pedestrians and proceed at a reasonable and prudent speed.

April 18, 2019

03 Pedestrians

Measure Description Effective date
Reasonable distance between a road vehicle and a pedestrian on the roadway or on the shoulder

Drivers of road vehicles must slow down and maintain a distance of 1.5 m on roads where the limit is more than 50 km/h and 1 m on roads where the limit is 50 km/h or less between their vehicle and a pedestrian on the roadway or on the shoulder.

May 18, 2018
Concept of pedestrian priority and engagement

At a pedestrian crossing, pedestrians have priority as soon as they show their intention to engage.

May 18, 2018
Pedestrian traffic on the shoulder

In the absence of a sidewalk, a pedestrian can walk on the shoulder in the opposite direction of the traffic.

A pedestrian can proceed in the same direction as traffic, on the roadway or on the shoulder, to avoid crossing the roadway more than once for a short distance, to travel on the lit side of the public road or on the side where the shoulder is wider.

April 18, 2018

04 Distractions

Measure Description Effective date
Using screens and other electronic devices in a vehicle

It is prohibited for any driver of a road vehicle, cyclist, or user of a motorized mobility aid to use a cell phone or any other portable device designed to transmit or receive information or to be used for entertainment purposes, or to use a display screen. Some exceptions are allowed.

The range of fines for the driver of a road vehicle for this type of offence is now $300 to $600. In case of a repeat offence, the minimum fine is doubled. The driver is also subject to an immediate license suspension of 3, 7 or 30 days depending on whether it is a first, second or third offence within a two-year period.

The number of demerit points increases from 4 to 5.

Cyclists are liable to a fine of $80 to $100.

Users of motorized mobility aids are liable to a fine of $30 to $60.

In addition, cyclists and users of motorized mobility aids cannot wear any earphones. As for drivers of road vehicles, they can wear an earphone with only one ear.

June 30, 2018

05 Vehicles and equipment

Measure Description Effective date
Child car seat

The period of use of the booster seat has been extended until the child is 145 cm tall or 9 years old.

April 18, 2019
Seat Belt

The range of fines for not wearing a seat belt is now $200 to $300.

May 18, 2018
Electric vehicle – Exhaust system exemption

Electric vehicles do not have to be equipped with an exhaust system.

April 18, 2018
Motorcycle – Visibility of headlights and reflectors

Motorcyclists can use the road lights (high beams) during the day.

A motorcycle must have a yellow front reflector and a red rear reflector on each side of the vehicle.

April 18, 2018
Motorcycles, Scooters and Mopeds – Visual Protection and Helmets

The driver of a motorcycle, scooter or moped must wear personal eye protection in zones where the speed limit is over 50 km/h.

Fines for failing to wear visual protection are $80 to $100. This requirement does not apply to passengers.

Fines for not wearing a helmet are now $200 to $300.

May 18, 2018
Partial exemption from wearing a seat belt

When a medical condition prevents seat belts from being worn, the SAAQ may authorize a partial exemption. It may also allow an adaptation of the belt or child car seat in relation to this condition.

April 18, 2018
Warning lights

The rules for the use of warning lights for authorized vehicles have been adjusted. These rules apply to:

  • emergency vehicles;
April 18, 2018
  • lights used on private property when visible from the road;
  • certain utility vehicles;
  • vehicles belonging to funeral homes;
May 18, 2018
  • personal vehicles driven by firefighters.
Following a government decree

Fees for the issuance of stickers and certificates have also been provided.

Warning light for raised dump bodies

All heavy vehicles with dump bodies must be equipped with a warning light and sound that activate when their bodies or the bodies of their trailers or semi-trailers are not completely lowered.

April 18, 2019
Material that detaches from a vehicle

A vehicle covered with any material, such as snow or ice, which may become detached and is likely to be dangerous, may not travel on a public road.

May 18, 2018
Verification of a hand-crafted or modified vehicle

A modified or hand-crafted vehicle may not be driven on a public road without prior verification by the SAAQ and the owner having obtained a verification certificate issued by the SAAQ.

May 18, 2018
VGA Program – Power of the SAAQ

The SAAQ is authorized to implement a new program concerning the reconstruction of seriously damaged vehicles (VGA).

Following a government decree
Sound level meter

The sound of mufflers on motorcycles and mopeds can be monitored by a sound level meter.

Following a government decree
Auxiliary lights or headlights

When equipment installed on a vehicle obstructs the original lights or headlights, auxiliary lights or headlights must be added.

May 18, 2018
Insurance Coverage – Automobile Insurance Act

Clarifications are provided on certain exclusions in the coverage under Québec's public automobile insurance plan.

April 18, 2018

Injuries caused by a motor-assisted bicycle, a motorized mobility aid or a motorized personal mobility device are excluded from coverage under Québec's public automobile insurance plan if no moving automobile is involved in the accident.

May 18, 2018
Trailers used to transport logs – Lighting

The trailers of a combination of road vehicles used for the exclusive transportation of logs, regardless of the ownership of the vehicle, are exempt from being equipped with lighting equipment and warning signals.

April 18, 2018
Road vehicle – Reflective material

Reflective strips on a tractor truck can act as reflectors.

April 18, 2018
Trailers and semi-trailers used to transport logs – Brakes

The trailers and semi-trailers used for the exclusive transportation of logs, regardless of the ownership of the vehicle, are exempt from being equipped with a brake system.

April 18, 2018
Rebuilt vehicle – Competence of representative for authentication

The representative for mechanical verification and technical expertise is no longer obliged to confirm the authenticity of the rebuilt vehicle.

April 18, 2018
Declaration of the status of a vehicle (seriously damaged or unrebuildable) and the power to require technical expertise

The SAAQ may subject a road vehicle to a technical verification, adapted to the various categories of vehicles (e.g. hand-crafted vehicles, rebuilt vehicles or converted to another energy) or to a technical expertise when it has reasonable grounds to require it.

April 18, 2018
Imported, seriously damaged vehicle – Repair estimate

The repair estimate for severely damaged vehicles from outside Quebec is mandatory.

July 17, 2018
Seriously damaged vehicle – Declaration by the insurer

Only vehicles that are considered a total loss or that are not repaired by the insurer must be declared as seriously damaged vehicles.

April 18, 2018
Trailers requiring reflective tape

The requirement for trailers and semi-trailers of 2.05 m wide or more to have reflective material now targets those with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 4,536 kg, in accordance with the Motor Vehicle Safety Act.

April 18, 2018
Device exemptions – Aerodynamic systems at the back of a vehicle

Drivers of vehicles equipped with an aerodynamic system may, under certain conditions, be exempt from the obligation of installing a red flag, a reflective sign or a red light at night at the back of the vehicle.

April 18, 2018
Device exemptions – Aerodynamic systems at the back of a vehicle

Drivers of vehicles equipped with an aerodynamic system may, under certain conditions, be exempt from the obligation of installing a red flag, a reflective sign or a red light at night at the back of the vehicle.

April 18, 2018
Device exemption – Vehicles transporting vehicles

Drivers of certain vehicles designed to transport other vehicles can, under certain conditions, be exempt from the obligation of installing a red flag, a reflective sign or a red light at night at the back of the vehicle.

April 18, 2018
Winter tires – Targeted vehicles

Clarifications concerning the vehicles targeted by the obligation to have winter tires are provided.

December 1, 2019
Winter tires – Mandatory period

The start date of the mandatory winter tire period is moved to December 1.

December 1, 2019
Engine braking – Repeal

The article, which aims to allow municipalities to ban engine braking on public roads, is repealed. This article never came into effect.

April 18, 2018

06 Traffic Rules and Signage

Measure Description Effective date
Signalling the intentions of a road vehicle driver

The range of fines is now $100 to $200.

May 18, 2018
Principle of caution

Every road user is obliged, especially with respect to those that are more vulnerable, to act with caution and respect when travelling on public roads.

April 18, 2018
Shared street

A municipality may designate a street shared by regulation.

On such a street, priority is given to pedestrians. Pedestrians can walk anywhere they want.

Road vehicles are limited to a speed of 20 km/h.

The municipality must build this type of street so that it is safe.

May 18, 2018
Cycling street

A municipality may designate a cycling street by regulation. Such a street promotes the circulation of cyclists and allows them to occupy the entire road and to ride side by side.

Road vehicles are limited to a speed of 30 km/h.

The municipality must build this type of street so that it is safe.

May 18, 2018
Speed in school zones

Fines for speeding in school zones during school hours are doubled.

August 1, 2019
Intersections – Pedestrian and Cyclist Priority

The priority of pedestrians and cyclists at intersections with stop signs is specified.

April 18, 2018
Not respecting the orders of a flagman, a peace officer or a crossing guard

The fine for drivers of road vehicles that do not obey the orders of a flagman, a crossing guard or a peace officer is doubled. The range of fines is now $200 to $400.

The number of demerit points increases from 3 to 4.

May 18, 2018
Emergency vehicles

In an emergency situation, an emergency vehicle may violate certain traffic rules, to the extent that the manoeuver can be done without danger.

May 18, 2018
Roundabout

Road users must observe different traffic rules in a roundabout.

May 18, 2018
Stopping a vehicle

Vehicle drivers cannot stop at places where their safety and that of other users may be compromised.

May 18, 2018
Passing in the centre lane

Passing in the centre lane, reserved for left turns in both directions, is prohibited on a public road divided into three lanes.

April 18, 2018
Bus on highway shoulder sections

Bus drivers may drive on a shoulder section of a highway under certain conditions:

  • Signage authorizes them to drive on the section;
  • The speed of traffic on the highway is less than 50 km/h;
  • They have received appropriate training.
April 19, 2020, or earlier by government decree
Towing – Power of peace officers

Peace officers have the power to have a stationary vehicle towed, particularly because of specific weather conditions.

April 18, 2018
Intersection – Changing lanes

Changing lanes in an intersection is prohibited, unless authorized by a sign.

May 18, 2018
Clarification of the notion of lane splitting – Motorcycles and mopeds

Drivers of motorcycles and mopeds cannot lane split.

May 18, 2018
HSC Harmonization – Volume V – Road Signage

Certain provisions of the Highway Safety Code have been harmonized with the signage standards established by the Minister of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification, in particular with respect to new signs, pavement markings, light signals as well as the equipment of flagmen.

April 18, 2018

07 Access to the Road Network and Supervision of the Use of Public Roads

Measure Description Effective date
Curfew for learners – Passenger vehicle

Drivers of a passenger vehicle with a learner’s licence may not drive a passenger vehicle from midnight to 5 a.m.

The penalties set out in the Code are a fine ranging from $200 to $300 and 4 demerit points.

May 18, 2018
Limit on the number of passengers – Passenger vehicle

Drivers aged 19 or under, who hold a probationary licence, are limited in the number of passengers aged 19 or under who can be transported between midnight and 5 a.m. The limits apply only during the first 12 months of driving following the issuance of the driver's licence.

Some exceptions are allowed.

The penalties set out in the Code are a fine ranging from $200 to $300 and 4 demerit points.

May 18, 2018
Curfew for learners – Motorcycle

Motorcycle drivers with a learner’s licence may not drive a motorcycle from midnight to 5 a.m.

The penalties set out in the Code are a fine ranging from $200 to $300 and 4 demerit points.

May 18, 2018
Mandatory accompaniment – Motorcycle

Holders of a Class 6A learner’s licence are no longer required to be accompanied.

May 18, 2018
Electric motorcycle

Allow access to highways for electric motorcycles that are designed to drive on these roadways by introducing the concept of kilowatts to determine power.

May 18, 2018
Autonomous vehicles

The Minister of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification may, by regulation, establish pilot projects to test the circulation of autonomous vehicles.

Autonomous vehicles cannot be driven on public roads, other than as part of a pilot project by the Minister of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification. This prohibition does not apply to autonomous vehicles with level 3 autonomy, whose sale is permitted in Canada.

May 18, 2018
Mandatory accompaniment – Conditions

The Government may, by regulation, exempt the holder of a learner's licence from the accompaniment conditions or provide for different conditions.

May 18, 2018
Reserved parking – Electric vehicles and vehicles for disabled persons

Anyone who contravenes the use of a parking space reserved for a rechargeable electric vehicle is liable to a fine of $100 to $200.

The range of fines for a contravention of the use of a parking space reserved for disabled persons is now $200 to $300.

May 18, 2018
Parking permit for disabled persons

New parking permit for disabled motorcycle drivers.

Following a government decree
Transporting children – Low-speed vehicle and side car

A child requiring a booster seat or restraint system may not be seated in a low-speed vehicle or in the side car of a motorcycle.

May 18, 2018
Heavy vehicles travelling on private roads – Exemptions

Heavy vehicles travelling on private roads are exempt from certain provisions, mainly of an administrative nature, when crossing a public road to reach another private road.

Following a government decree
Signage installed on a public road subject to a toll

The person responsible for the maintenance of a public road must display, by means of appropriate signage, the tariffs relating to travelling on such a road if subject to a toll.

The Minister of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification determines the minimum information that must appear on the tariff sign.

Road signs are not a commercial practice.

April 18, 2018

08 Simplifying Administrative or Regulatory Formalities

Measure Description Effective date
Pilot project

The Minister of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification may authorize the implementation of pilot projects on any matter covered by the Highway Safety Code (HSC).

April 18, 2018
License-registration representatives

The SAAQ may designate license-registration representatives without obtaining the prior approval of the Minister of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification.

April 18, 2018
Verification of the parts register with recyclers

Recyclers must, at the request of a peace officer or a designated SAAQ employee, allow them to check their registers and the road vehicles and major parts they have in their possession.

May 18, 2018
Special permit – Heavy vehicles

The Minister of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification may issue a special permit authorizing a road vehicle or a combination of road vehicles to travel in certain specific situations.

April 18, 2018
Automated control devices – Inadmissibility of evidence

The rules relating to photographic speed cameras and to red light traffic control systems have been improved, in particular in regards to the evidence to be produced.

April 18, 2018

09 Licence and Registration

Measure Description Effective date
Validating a document in support of a driver's licence application

The SAAQ may validate, with the issuing agency, information or a document provided in support of an application for a licence authorizing to drive a road vehicle.

April 18, 2018
Procedure for unclaimed seized vehicle

A vehicle seized under the Highway Safety Code, unclaimed by its owner and worth more than $3,000, can be auctioned by the SAAQ, as is currently the case.

April 18, 2018
Administration of Class 5 and 6 theoretical exam by a third party

The SAAQ may adapt its practices regarding the administration of the knowledge test based on evolving driver training requirements and technological advancements.

April 18, 2018
Suspension for inability to orient oneself in space and time

A peace officer who suspects that a person who is driving a vehicle, or who owns or has rights to it, is a danger to themselves or to other road users, may require that this person undergo an test to check their ability to orient themselves in space and time.

If the person fails the test, the peace officer will immediately suspend the driver's licence.

Following a government decree
Withdrawal of the Plus driver’s licence

The Plus driver’s license is no longer issued.

April 18, 2018
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