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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In addition, demerit points no longer apply to cyclists
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.
Alternative measures are permitted for riding in the dark like a white light at the front.
Cyclists can ride:
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.
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.
Cyclists can ride on the shoulder in the same direction as traffic.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
At a pedestrian crossing, pedestrians have priority as soon as they show their intention to engage.
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.
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.
The period of use of the booster seat has been extended until the child is 145 cm tall or 9 years old.
The range of fines for not wearing a seat belt is now $200 to $300.
Electric vehicles do not have to be equipped with an exhaust system.
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.
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.
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.
The rules for the use of warning lights for authorized vehicles have been adjusted. These rules apply to:
Fees for the issuance of stickers and certificates have also been provided.
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.
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.
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.
The SAAQ is authorized to implement a new program concerning the reconstruction of seriously damaged vehicles (VGA).
The sound of mufflers on motorcycles and mopeds can be monitored by a sound level meter.
When equipment installed on a vehicle obstructs the original lights or headlights, auxiliary lights or headlights must be added.
Clarifications are provided on certain exclusions in the coverage under Québec's public automobile insurance plan.
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.
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.
Reflective strips on a tractor truck can act as reflectors.
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.
The representative for mechanical verification and technical expertise is no longer obliged to confirm the authenticity of the rebuilt vehicle.
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.
The repair estimate for severely damaged vehicles from outside Quebec is mandatory.
Only vehicles that are considered a total loss or that are not repaired by the insurer must be declared as seriously damaged vehicles.
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.
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.
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.
Clarifications concerning the vehicles targeted by the obligation to have winter tires are provided.
The start date of the mandatory winter tire period is moved to December 1.
The article, which aims to allow municipalities to ban engine braking on public roads, is repealed. This article never came into effect.
The range of fines is now $100 to $200.
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.
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.
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.
Fines for speeding in school zones during school hours are doubled.
The priority of pedestrians and cyclists at intersections with stop signs is specified.
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.
In an emergency situation, an emergency vehicle may violate certain traffic rules, to the extent that the manoeuver can be done without danger.
Road users must observe different traffic rules in a roundabout.
Vehicle drivers cannot stop at places where their safety and that of other users may be compromised.
Passing in the centre lane, reserved for left turns in both directions, is prohibited on a public road divided into three lanes.
Bus drivers may drive on a shoulder section of a highway under certain conditions:
Peace officers have the power to have a stationary vehicle towed, particularly because of specific weather conditions.
Changing lanes in an intersection is prohibited, unless authorized by a sign.
Drivers of motorcycles and mopeds cannot lane split.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Holders of a Class 6A learner’s licence are no longer required to be accompanied.
Allow access to highways for electric motorcycles that are designed to drive on these roadways by introducing the concept of kilowatts to determine power.
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.
The Government may, by regulation, exempt the holder of a learner's licence from the accompaniment conditions or provide for different conditions.
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.
New parking permit for disabled motorcycle drivers.
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.
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.
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.
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).
The SAAQ may designate license-registration representatives without obtaining the prior approval of the Minister of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Electrification.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The SAAQ may adapt its practices regarding the administration of the knowledge test based on evolving driver training requirements and technological advancements.
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.
The Plus driver’s license is no longer issued.
© Gouvernement du Québec, 2020