Montreal·Video

Police hop on a bus to spot sneaky texters

Police are patrolling Quebec roads aboard a bus, using the elevated perspective to catch distracted drivers in the act.

Drivers caught texting behind the wheel face fine of $120, demerit points

Drivers caught texting behind the wheel face fines of $120. 0:37

Drivers who text behind the wheel have gotten good at hiding the habit, so Quebec police have stepped up their spotting tactics with a bus that gives them a better view of bad behaviour.

Police and highway patrollers have hopped on board the new pilot project, which sees them scanning the roads from inside a large bus. They say the elevated view helps them catch drivers texting.

"We see a lot of people who have a cellphone at the wheel, to talk or text, on their thigh," said Isabelle Gaudreau from Quebec traffic control.

"It's not the sort of thing we can see when we're in a patrol vehicle. But in the bus, we see it clearly."

While officers in the bus observe drivers from above, a dozen police cars follow behind to intercept those who've been flagged.

In addition to the use of cellphones while driving, the operation revealed other infringements of the Highway Safety Code.

"The seat belt also — it surprised us to see how much, especially drivers of heavy vehicles," said Gaudreau.

The pilot project began Tuesday and officials are already calling it a success — more than 70 tickets were handed out in just a few days in Quebec City and on the province's highways.

"We've had excellent results, above our expectations," said Gaudreau.

Motorists who are caught texting and driving face a $120 fine and four demerit points.

With files from Radio-Canada's Pascale Lacombe