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Does Quebec’s unique winter-tire law make roads safer?

Drivers without proper tires face $300 fine


Motorists in Quebec must have winter tires installed between Dec. 1 and March 15. (bilanol/Adobe Stock)

MONTREAL (CP) — For the past several weeks, Quebec drivers have been in a race against time to equip their cars for winter or face steep fines.

While the majority of Canadian drivers install winter tires for the cold season, according to the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada, Quebec is the only province to force motorists to do so.

Drivers in Quebec without the proper tires between Dec. 1 and March 15, inclusively, are liable to be fined up to $300.

And while it’s difficult to know for sure the direct impact of the law — it entered into force in 2008 — the number of road deaths in the province has halved since the early 2000s.

Quebec’s automobile safety board counted 766 road deaths in 2000 and 359 in 2018. Quebec had 6.6 million registered cars in circulation in 2018.

Road deaths, however, have been decreasing even in province’s without laws requiring motorists install winter tires.

In Ontario, for example, road fatalities decreased by more than 60 per cent between 1980 and 2010, according to the province’s Transport Department. Ontario counted 531 road deaths in 2018, with 9.9 million registered vehicles.

Ontario’s death rate per registered vehicle is virtually the same as Quebec’s. Only 70 per cent of Ontario drivers use winter tires, however, according to the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada.

CAA-Quebec spokesman Pierre-Olivier Fortin said drivers in southern Ontario have more milder winters than do Quebecers, and therefore might be able to get away with all-season tires.

British Columbia also requires all cars to be equipped with winters tires for the cold season — but only for a select few roads, particularly in the mountains.

Fortin said in an interview that CAA encourages all Canadians, regardless of whether or not it’s required by law, to install proper winter tires. Tires made for winter are more flexible compared to all-seasons, he said, adding they also have deeper grooves and better threading to manoeuvre on wet surfaces.

And even when a car is properly equipped for the winter, “you aren’t driving a Batmobile,” he said.

Fortin said along with winter tires, drivers must avoid sudden movements with the car, increase space between vehicles, and reduce speeds.

Copyright (c) 2019 The Canadian Press


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1 Comment » for Does Quebec’s unique winter-tire law make roads safer?
  1. Bob Braan says:

    Winter and All Season tires are becoming obsolete.
    Especially for those still running All Seasons all year.
    Buy All Weather tires instead. They are not a compromise.
    They are totally different than All Seasons and a fairly new option.
    BETTER than some winter tires for ice and snow, you can leave them on all year (no new rims or tire pressure sensors needed) and they are rated to last 100K km. Winter tires are only rated to last 40K km. Nokian WR G3 and Toyo Celsius are two of the best. They have the winter tire mountain snowflake symbol. The cost of changing tires twice a year and storage can equal the tire cost over the life of the tire. All Weathers are far less expensive.
    Once OEMs put All Weathers on their cars originally and people find they are fantastic in the snow they will likely stick with only All Weathers.
    Audi is putting them on their new Q8 now. Not an econobox.
    Search YouTube for “Tip of the Week: All Weather Tires”.
    Search YouTube for “New All-Weather Tires Outperform Some Snow Tires | Consumer Reports”

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