Driven to distraction
PHOTO BY CARMEN MARIE FABIO
A distracted driving operation took place in Île-Perrot September 28 near schools and a daycare centre to remind the public of the hazards and fines that come from using cellular devices – or anything else that takes drivers’ eyes away from the road – while behind the wheel.
Within minutes of setting up in Île-Perrot near the intersection of Grand Boulevard and Lucien Manning Street the morning of September 28, Sûreté du Québec (SQ) officers had stopped a number of vehicles for various traffic infractions. Though launched as an operation to address distracted driving, police spotted drivers who weren’t wearing their seatbelts, were wearing headphones, or who failed to come to a complete stop.
‘Don’t let yourself get distracted on the road’ was a joint operation held September 22 to 28 between the SQ, the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ), l’Association des directeurs de police du Québec, and Contrôle Routier Québec and was conducted across the province to highlight the dangers of distracted driving.
A ‘distraction’ is classified as anything that would make a driver’s eyes leave the road and is listed as one of the main causes of vehicle accidents in Quebec.
Vaudreuil-Soulanges East detachment Captain Éric Tanguay said the goal of the Île-Perrot operation, that involved six officers, was not so much to inflict punitive measures on motorists as it was to make the police presence known to the motorists in the densely populated area.
The Île-Perrot operation was strategically placed in the immediate vicinity of an elementary school, a daycare centre, and a high school. Following the roughly 90-minute intervention, police reported 13 driver infractions including seven for use of a cellular phone carrying an $80 fine and four demerit points as well as six drivers not wearing their seat belts – also an $80 fine and three demerit points.
The SAAQ has also launched a public awareness campaign about the dangers of texting while driving that runs until October 22 under the banner, ‘Text or drive. Make a choice.’