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Cell phone while driving: caught red-handed in traffic in Quebec

Many Quebec motorists do not waste a second to look at their cellphones, as soon as they feel they have a moment to take their eyes off the road, we have seen.

Our experience on the roads of the provincial capital is unequivocal in this regard. We easily surprised several drivers who made illegal use of their cellphones while driving.

Our experience was particularly successful during the rush hour in Quebec City.

Thus, it took only one passage from the South Shore to the North Shore, in the morning traffic, taking the Pierre-Laporte bridge then the Duplessis highway, while the Henri IV highway was closed in because of work, to see five motorists on their cellphones.

Not just a little

Some spoke with the phone in their ears or with the microphone in front of their mouths. But a significant number of motorists have been observed by The newspaper consulting their screen for a long time, their gaze wandering dangerously from the road to the screen.

On other occasions, motorists took advantage of red lights to look at their smart device.

In total, the observation day revealed 16 reprehensible behaviors under the Highway Safety Code, costing five demerit points and a fine of $ 300.


Still on the same route from the South Shore, taking the Laporte bridge then the Duplessis highway, Le Journal stopped, like a motorist in a blue car, at the traffic light marking the end of the expressway.  Taking advantage of the red light after getting out of traffic, the lady took her cell phone with one hand to consult it.

Photo le Journal de Québec, Stevens LeBlanc

Still on the same route from the South Shore, taking the Laporte bridge then the Duplessis highway, Le Journal stopped, like a motorist in a blue car, at the traffic light marking the end of the expressway. Taking advantage of the red light after getting out of traffic, the lady took her cell phone with one hand to consult it.


In the middle of the afternoon, Le Journal positioned itself in the Canadian Tire parking lot at the corner of rue Soumande and boulevard Hamel.  The long line at the traffic light was conducive to cell phone use.  Within minutes, three drivers were seen with their phones, including this man talking, cell in front of his mouth.

Photo le Journal de Québec, Stevens LeBlanc

In the middle of the afternoon, Le Journal positioned itself in the Canadian Tire parking lot at the corner of rue Soumande and boulevard Hamel. The long line at the traffic light was conducive to cell phone use. Within minutes, three drivers were seen with their phones, including this man talking, cell in front of his mouth.


At around 7:30 a.m., traffic was heavy on the Pierre-Laporte Bridge in the direction of Quebec, with frequent stops and departures.  A man was holding his cell phone with both hands in the center of his steering wheel.  Twice he used his right hand to scroll a page.

Photo le Journal de Québec, Stevens LeBlanc

At around 7:30 a.m., traffic was heavy on the Pierre-Laporte Bridge in the direction of Quebec, with frequent stops and departures. A man was holding his cell phone with both hands in the center of his steering wheel. Twice he used his right hand to scroll a page.


At the end of the afternoon, on Henri-IV, heading north, approaching the bridges, orange cones mark the passage from two to one lane.  A man seems to be checking his cell phone and has to brake suddenly because of the slowdown.  At the time of the photo, he had placed the acoustics on his ear.

Photo le Journal de Québec, Stevens LeBlanc

At the end of the afternoon, on Henri-IV, heading north, approaching the bridges, orange cones mark the passage from two to one lane. A man seems to be checking his cell phone and has to brake suddenly because of the slowdown. At the time of the photo, he had placed the acoustics on his ear.


Although he has at hand a device to hang his cell phone on the console of his vehicle, this man still consults his smart device by taking it with his right hand.

Photo le Journal de Québec, Stevens LeBlanc

Although he has at hand a device to hang his cell phone on the console of his vehicle, this man still consults his smart device by taking it with his right hand.

Our approach

The newspaper was inspired by a police tactic to surprise drivers while manipulating their cell phone while driving.

After hiring a small bus, the cinematographer of the Journal of Montreal, Martin Chevalier, as well as the photographer of the QMI Agency, Joël Lemay (photo opposite), surveyed the highways and arteries of greater Montreal. The photographer of Journal, Pierre-Paul Poulin, also took part in the experiment for a day.

Designated driver, Martin Chevalier took advantage of the elevated view his vehicle gave him to point out the offending road users he spotted. In the back, the photographer on duty, camera in hand, was trying to capture the offense.

For the purposes of this test, the photographers drove for 35 hours, spread over five days. Their experience in Montreal was held from April 22 to 29, during the week.

Behind the tinted windows of the bus, Joël Lemay and Pierre-Paul Poulin were able to immortalize dozens of motorists taking control … on the cell phone.

The experiment was carried out at different times of the day when the traffic was heavier. Certain times were more conducive to observing carelessness among road users, particularly at red lights and when there was congestion.

Document the problem

In Quebec, journalist Nicolas Saillant and photographer Stevens Leblanc repeated the experiment, which was just as conclusive. In one day, they photographed a dozen people talking with cell phones in their ears or texting with both hands.

Using a bus, the police identify the drivers at fault and then issue them with an expensive ticket.

Yes the modus operandi of our operation is copied from the one deployed by the police, our objective was very different.

The aim of the experiment was above all to prove that the problem of cellphones while driving is still very present. We have therefore chosen to blur the faces of motorists surprised by our photographers.

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