Demerit Points and Insurance

Demerit Points

Demerit points accumulate against your license when you are convicted of a charge like speeding or careless driving. Each specific offence carries a specific amount of demerit points that has been decided by the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario or MTO for short.

For a Full G License, when you reach 9 demerit points on your driver’s license the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) may call you in for an interview where you must argue why your license should not be suspended.

Once your driver’s license accumulates 15 demerit points it will be automatically suspended. This can happen quickly with 2 careless driving charges. For a G2 or G1 license, when you reach 4 demerit points the Ministry of Transportation will suspend your license. Demerit points stay on your drivers abstract or record for 2 years from the date of the offense.

Below is the list of traffic violations and their respective demerit points that your license will accumulate if you are found guilty.

Click on an offense below to see the likely cost in demerit points and information about your offence:

Backing on a highway

2 Demerit Points

Careless driving

6 demerit points

Traffic tickets for Careless Driving now have a maximum fine of $1000 plus costs. Summonses for careless driving can have a fine up to $2000, imprisonment up to 6 months, or to both and a possible licence suspension of up to two years.

The number of CARELESS DRIVING tickets issued by police is second only to speeding. It also difficult to prove but drivers settle for a reduced charge rather than take the matter to trial.

Crossing a divided road where no proper crossing is provided

3 Demerit Points

Crowding the driver’s seat

3 Demerit Points

Driver failing to ensure infant/child passenger is properly secured in an appropriate child restraint system or booster seat

2 Demerit Points

Driver failing to ensure that a passenger less than 23 kg is properly secured

2 Demerit Points

Drivers charged with this traffic ticket may have a legitimate defence. Contact us.

Driver failing to ensure that a passenger under 16 years is wearing a seat belt

2 Demerit Points

Drivers charged with this traffic ticket may have a legitimate defence. Contact us.

Driver failing to wear a seat belt

2 Demerit Points

Driver of a bus failing to stop at an unprotected railway crossing

5 Demerit Points

Driving or operating a vehicle on a closed road

3 Demerit Points

Driving the wrong way on a divided road

3 Demerit Points

Exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 29 km/h

3 Demerit Points

Demerit points for traffic tickets stay on your driver’s record for 2 years from the date on the ticket. The conviction stays on your record for 3 years from the date of conviction.

Exceeding the speed limit by 30 to 49 km/h

4 Demerit Points

Demerit points for traffic tickets stay on your driver’s record for 2 years from the date on the ticket. The conviction stays on your record for 3 years from the date of conviction.

Exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/h or more

6 Demerit Points

Demerit points for traffic tickets stay on your driver’s record for 2 years from the date on the ticket. The conviction stays on your record for 3 years from the date of conviction.

Drivers with traffic tickets or summonses with this speed may also be charged with Stunt Driving which has fines from $2,000 up to $10,000, or imprisonment of up to 6 months, or both and their licence may be suspended for up to 2 years on a first conviction and up to 10 years for a subsequent conviction.

Failing to lower headlamp beams

2 Demerit Points

Failing to obey signs

2 Demerit Points

There are a lot of different signs listed in the regulations under the Highway Traffic Act. Any contravention of a sign carries two demerit points and has a set fine of $85.

There are limited options by way of an outright defence to these charges as the courts have ruled that if there is a sign, it’s there to be seen. Contact us anyway if you get such a ticket. There may still be something we can help you with.

Failing to obey a stop sign, traffic control stop/slow sign, traffic light or railway crossing signal

3 Demerit Points

Contrary to popular belief, when facing and approaching a solid amber (or yellow), signal, it does NOT mean “go faster.” It does mean you have to stop, “…if he or she can do safely, otherwise he or she may proceed with caution.” The same applies to amber arrows.

The length of the amber light varies according to the width of the intersection and the speed limit at the location. The length the light stays amber can be between 3 seconds to just under 5 seconds.

A red light, on the other hand, has no provision for anything other than coming to a complete stop at the place indicated by any markings on the road. Snow drifts, black ice or freezing rain makes no difference to the requirement to stop. This is what is known as an absolute liability offence.

The standard fine for most traffic light offences is $260 but could be up to $1,000. If served with a ticket for this or any offence involving traffic signals, contact us for an honest appraisal of your situation and how POINTTS™ can help you in court.

Failing to move, where possible, into another lane when passing a stopped emergency vehicle

3 Demerit Points

Quite often you will see a police car stopped behind another police vehicle that has its roof lights activated and has made a traffic stop. This second police car is sometimes there to watch for vehicles that do not move from the lane closest to the police cars or other emergency vehicles and leave a lane clear while passing. It is very important for drivers to be very clear of their surroundings and be able to determine the presence of other vehicles that might prevent them from changing lanes. In any event, a reduction in speed is a must.

Fines for a conviction on this charge range from $400 to $2000 for a first offence and on a subsequent offence, between $1000 and $4000 or imprisonment for up to six months, or to both. In addition a licence may be suspended for up to two years, even on a first offence.

Failing to report a collision to a police officer

3 Demerit Points

Failing to remain at the scene of a collision

7 Demerit Points

This offence is similar to “Failing to remain” under the Criminal Code of Canada which carries a presumption in law that where a person does leave the scene, they did so with the intention of avoiding civil or criminal liability. The difference here is that under the Highway Traffic Act there is no presumption but neither does an intention to leave need to be proved.

This conviction carries the most demerit points of any offence under the HTA. That is, as long as there is no suspension imposed by the court of up to two years. Fines can range between $400 and $2,000 together with imprisonment of up to six months.

Failing to obey the directions of a police officer

3 Demerit Points

This is not the same as not stopping for a police officer. This is where the police are directing traffic to:

  1. Ensure orderly movement of traffic;
  2. Prevent injury or damage to persons, property
  3. Permit proper action in an emergency.

The standard fine for this is $85 and a conviction carries three demerit points.

Failing to slow and carefully pass a stopped emergency vehicle

3 Demerit Points

This came about from police officers and other emergency workers and vehicles were being hit by passing vehicles. A driver who is approaching on the same side of the highway as the emergency vehicle with its flashing lights (red or red & blue) activated shall slow down and proceed with caution. In addition, if there are more than two lanes of traffic on the same side of the highway and the emergency vehicle is in the same lane OR an adjacent lane, then the driver must, apart from slowing down, move to another lane if it is safe to do so. This applies to either half of a divided highway, depending on which side the emergency vehicle is stopped, the left shoulder or the right shoulder.

Apart from three demerit points upon conviction, the fine ranges from $400 to $2,000 for a first offence and goes up to between $1,000 and $4,000 or to jail for up to six months or to both.

Failing to signal

2 Demerit Points

Failing to share the road

2 Demerit Points

There are many ways to share the road as described in the Highway Traffic Act. The simplest way to explain them is that when overtaking others, give them room. When meeting others, keep to your side of the roadway and when being passed, move to the right.

The standard fine is $85 and all offences under this section carry two demerit points.

Failing to stop when signaled/requested by a police officer

7 Demerit Points

“A police officer, in the lawful execution of his or her duties and responsibilities, may require the driver of a motor vehicle to stop and the driver of a motor vehicle, when signaled or requested to stop by a police officer who is readily identifiable as such, shall immediately come to a safe stop.”

This offence carries 7 points, the highest number of demerit points under the Highway Traffic Act. The penalties on a first conviction can range from $1,000 to $10,000, up to six months in jail or to both.

Failing to stop for a school bus

6 Demerit Points

The registered owner of the vehicle may be charged or served with a traffic ticket for this offence as a result of the school bus driver taking down the offending vehicle’s licence number and making a complaint to the police.

Recent increases now have fines ranging from $400 to $2,000 with six demerit points if the driver is convicted. A second or subsequent conviction within 5 years of a previous conviction means the fine ranges from $1,000 to $4,000 or to imprisonment for up to six months, or to both.

Failing to stop at a pedestrian crossing

2 Demerit Points

The standard fine for these tickets is $150. There are two different charges involving drivers and pedestrians. One concerns a pedestrian crossover and the other is a pedestrian crosswalk. They each have totally different regulations that define them and what the prosecution must prove. It is important to let your legal representative investigate to determine what you were issued a ticket for and if the circumstances match the charge. A successful defence could depend on it.

Following too closely

4 Demerit Points

This charge is seldom issued by police any more as it is very difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. A collision is not proof of the charge, despite what many police will say. There has to be evidence from the driver that was hit as to his knowledge of what was going on behind them. There could always be an independent witness but not very likely.

If an officer charges you because of his observations of your driving, this can usually be argued that it was nothing other than his subjective opinion.

Failing to yield the right-of-way

3 Demerit Points

This could involve an intersection controlled by traffic lights, a stop sign or when leaving a driveway. Each has its separate points that must be proven. The set fine for any Fail to Yield charge is $85.The best way to see where you stand is to discuss the matter with your legal representative.

Going the wrong way on a one-way road

3 Demerit Points

Improper opening of a vehicle door

2 Demerit Points

Improper left turn

2 Demerit Points

A driver must make the turn from the designated lane(s) into the proper corresponding lane.

Improper driving when road is divided into lanes

3 Demerit Points

The standard fine for this offence is $85. Where a roadway is divided into clearly marked lanes for traffic, a vehicle must be driven as nearly as may be practicable entirely within a single lane and must not be moved from the lane until the driver has first ascertained that the movement can be made in safety. Don’t straddle the lane dividers.

Improper use of high-occupancy vehicle lane

3 Demerit Points

The standard fine for this offence is $85. It would seem to be common sense that unless there at least two LIVE human occupants in the vehicle, you cannot use these lanes. However, there are also rules and regulations as to how drivers are to enter and exit the HOV lane. The “Improper use” charge covers this as well.

Entry or exit is permitted only where the lane marking consists of a single broken white line. There are “buffer zones” indicated by double solid white lines with diagonal lines between them. Crossing this “Buffer Zone” constitutes the offence of “Improper use”.

Improper right turn

2 Demerit Points

A driver must make the turn from the designated lane(s) into the proper corresponding lane.

Improper passing

3 Demerit Points

Different considerations prevail depending on whether you pass on the left or the right. Either way, the first one is that it has to be done safely.

When passing on the left, make sure you leave enough room to avoid a collision with whatever you are passing.

When attempting to overtake another vehicle, make sure there is nothing trying to overtake you at the same time and ensure there is nothing coming in the opposite direction that could cause a problem.

Prohibited turns

2 Demerit Points

There will always be a sign or signs posted indicating any prohibited turns and any times they are enforced. It will be difficult to show a court that a driver never saw the sign(s). Of course, trees and bushes may be a factor so be prepared to take pictures the same day or the next at the latest to show that the view is representative of what you were faced with.

Racing

6 Demerit Points

The definition of racing was expanded with the introduction of the “Stunt Driving” legislation. There are now six ways that driving behavior may be considered to be racing.

The penalties are severe with fines ranging from $2,000 to $10,000, jail up to six months, or to both and up to two years licence suspension for a first offence and up to ten years for any subsequent offence within ten years.

Reversing on a divided high-speed road

2 Demerit Points

Towing people on toboggans, bicycles, skis, etc.

2 Demerit Points

Unnecessary slow driving

2 Demerit Points

What Are the Demerit Points For Speeding Tickets?

  • Up to 15 Kms/hr over the limit – 0 points.
  • 16 – 29 Kms/hr over the limit – 3 points.
  • 30 – 49 Kms/hr over the limit – 4 points.
  • 50 + Kms/hr over the limit – 6 points or a possible suspension up to 30 days.

Insurance

The insurance industry in Ontario categorize convictions on your driving record as MAJOR and MINOR offences. Major offences include all criminal driving offences i.e.. Impaired Driving, and the following Highway Traffic Act offences: Fail to remain at an accident, Fail to stop for Police, Careless Driving, Fail to stop for school bus, Racing, Speeding over 50 km/h, Fail to report accident, Driving while under suspension, and any G1 or G2 Drivers license conditions offences. A major conviction can result in a premium increase of 50-300% or higher. Your insurance company may also choose not to renew your policy, and you would then be labelled as a high risk driver, and placed into facility insurance where the premiums are very high. You could remain there for 3 years (minimum) or longer.

A driver’s license suspension for unpaid fines or any other reason will appear on your driving record resulting in an increase in your premiums or cancellation of your policy.

Fraud or misrepresentation to the insurance company is also considered a major offence and will be will be considered by the insurance company for up to 6 years.

Minor offences include any other Highway Traffic Act, Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act, or Municipal traffic bylaw offences. Speeding convictions between 30-49 km/h over the limit are treated more seriously than a minor offence by some insurance companies but not as serious as a major offence. These higher speeding convictions can have an immediate premium increase.

By-law parking tickets may not affect your driver”s license and they may not reflect on your driving record.

Some insurance companies will not renew your policy if you have 3 or more convictions on your record within a 3 year period. Convictions are held against you by the insurance companies for a minimum of 3 years before they forgive and forget. Insurance companies hold all convictions against you whether they are equipment or minor offences that carry no demerit points. Insurance companies are not interested in demerit points in most instances, but insurers of commercial fleets can consider a driver”s demerit and CVOR points. If the driver has 6 or more demerit points on their record, they can be deemed un-insurable by the insurance company.

All convictions remain on your driving record for at least three years. Only demerit points subtract off your record after two years from the date of the offence. Pardons only apply to criminal driving offences, if granted.

Insurance companies assess fault in relation to accidents. If you are assessed an at fault accident, it will be held against you for a minimum of 5 years before the insurance company forgives and forgets. Additional at fault accidents within the 5 years will further increase your risk factor as a driver and further increase your premiums.

Insurance companies differ on their policies with regards to the number of convictions and time limits etc. A few things to make note of if you receive a ticket. Before you act on the ticket consult with someone as to the repercussions. Some charges carry very high fines, into the thousands of dollars, drivers license or motor vehicle permit suspensions, demerit points, and even jail.

It is not unusual for some unfortunate drivers to be paying several thousand dollars for car insurance because they didn”t react properly to a ticket. Before you pay that ticket, get the facts first.

Will Tickets With No Demerits Increase My Insurance?

It all depends on your insurance company and your driving record. Most companies will allow three minor convictions, regardless of demerit points, over a three year period without any increase in premium. The fourth conviction and beyond will more than likely cause an increase.