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A new measure making winter tires mandatory in Québec


Winter is the longest season in Québec. With heavy snowfalls and occasionally significant temperature fluctuations, winter plays an integral role in the life and culture of Québec. It is crucial for road users to adapt their driving habits to winter conditions. Statistics show that approximately 90% of road vehicles were equipped with winter tires during the winter of 2005. Based on a quick tally that was carried out at that time, 38% of the accidents that occurred during the winter involved at least one vehicle that was equipped with all-season tires, which means that these tires were strongly over-represented in these accidents. In an effort to improve the safety of road users, the Act to amend the Highway Safety Code and the Regulation respecting demerit points was adopted in December 2007. The rules and measures that were adopted primarily address drinking and driving, excessive speeding, photoradar devices and red-light camera systems, driving courses, the use of cell phones while driving, and overspeed governors for certain heavy vehicles. The Act also sets out the obligation to equip certain vehicles with winter tires. The Highway Safety Code stipulates that, henceforth, from December 15 to March 15, the owner of a taxi or passenger vehicle registered in Québec must equip the vehicle with tires specifically designed for winter driving in order to put the vehicle into operation. This obligation also applies to any passenger vehicles that are available for rental in Québec. In order to verify the impact of this measure on the road safety record, accident data for the first mandatory period, namely from December 15, 2008 to March 15, 2009, were compared to those for the same winter periods during the five years preceding the legal obligation, namely from 2003 to 2008. A similar verification was carried out for the remainder of the year in order to factor in the changes that occurred in this record over time. The results of this analysis indicate that the drop in the number of accident victims was greater during the winter period when winter tires were mandatory, with a net decrease in the number of victims of 5%. 

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Lise Fournier
Carl Bélanger
Road safety