Quebec forces drivers to have winter tires, but does it make roads safer?

By HUB SmartCoverage Team on December 12th, 2019

Quebec drivers were scrambling the last few weeks to equip their cars for winter or face steep fines.

Many Canadian drivers install winter tires for the season; however, Quebec is the only province to force motorists to do so.

Drivers in Quebec without the proper tires between Dec 1st and March 15th, 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.

However, road deaths have been decreasing even in provinces without laws requiring drivers to install winter tires.

In Ontario, road fatalities decreased by more than 60% between 1980 and 2010. Ontario counted 531 road deaths in 2018, with 9.9 million registered vehicles.

It’s important to note that Ontario’s death rate per registered vehicle is virtually the same as Quebec’s. Only 70% of Ontario drivers use winter tires, however.

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

Fortin said in an interview that CAA encourages all Canadians, regardless of whether 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 tread patterns to maneuver on wet surfaces.

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

Source: Quebec forces drivers to have winter tires. But does that make roads safer?

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