Quebec, Quebec – Quebec has become the first province to prohibit the licensing and operation of certain right-hand drive vehicles on public roads. The prohibition comes under a moratorium that began April 29, 2009 and will remain in effect for 180 days following that date while the Société de l’assurance automobile (SAAQ) studies the issue.

The prohibition covers imported vehicles that are over 15 years old. Vehicles over that age limit can be imported into Canada, since they are not subject to Transport Canada’s motor vehicle safety standards because of their date of manufacture.

The Quebec ban does not cover right-hand drive vehicles that were registered in the province before April 29, 2009, except those that have a temporary registration certificate. The ban also does not affect vehicles registered outside of Quebec, vehicles manufactured before January 1, 1971, those belonging to a driving school, or trucks with a net weight over 3,000 kg, tool vehicles, or vehicles required to stop frequently along a road performing work for a public service.

SAAQ cited safety reasons for the ban, saying that drivers do not have an optimum field of vision, and that a study carried out in British Columbia over a four-year period showed that operating a right-hand drive vehicle increases crash risks by more than 40 per cent. The study also concluded that the first collision for which the driver is responsible happens 68 per cent earlier with a right-hand drive vehicle than with a left-hand drive one.

SAAQ is accepting comments from the public for the first three months of the prohibition. For more information, visit SAAQ.

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