How do red light camera tickets work in Ontario?

In a never-ending effort to keep our roads safe, the Province of Ontario has passed legislation allowing municipalities to install red light cameras at intersections that photograph vehicles who fail to stop for a red light, then ticket them for reckless driving.

Luckily, they don’t affect your car insurance rates in Ontario. Plenty of municipalities have installed them, including:

  1. Ottawa
  2. Peel
  3. Sudbury
  4. Toronto
  5. London
  6. Waterloo Region
  7. Hamilton

More than half of all red light cameras can be found in the Greater Toronto Area. Understanding how the program works can help you avoid getting a fine!

 

How do red light cameras work?

Red light cameras are installed at intersections that have higher-than-usual instances of drivers running the light. If a vehicle enters an intersection after the light has turned red, a camera takes a photo of the offending vehicle and its license plate. It counts as a fine in Ontario, but not as a conviction.

Vehicles that enter the intersection on a yellow light, or those that were already in the intersection before the light turned red, are not penalized. Only cars that pass the stop line after the light has turned red are photographed.

As the program is first and foremost intended to act as a deterrent and change driver behaviour, every intersection involved has signs advising drivers that there is a camera present.

 

Consequences for running a red light

Vehicles that are photographed by the cameras are mailed a red light camera ticket issued by the Ministry of Transportation. The ticket is sent to the registered owner of the vehicle and includes a photo of the offending vehicle running the light as well as the date and time of the infraction. However, because the action is recorded by a camera instead of a police officer, it doesn’t count as a major driving conviction.

The current red light camera ticket costs the vehicle owner $325, with the proceeds split between the province and the municipality.

Other than that, they shouldn’t have a serious impact on your driving record. That means insurance companies shouldn’t be able to tie a vehicle-level fine to an individual driver.

 

 

Do red light camera tickets earn demerit points?

No, red light camera tickets do not contribute demerit points in Ontario. They are the only moving violations issued in Ontario where the ticket is issued to the owner of the vehicle and not the driver. This is because the driver cannot be positively identified in the photograph.

Demerit points are assigned to the driver rather than the vehicle—and since the driver can’t be verified by the camera, demerit points can’t be issued. You’ll still be fined, though, and that can definitely hurt your wallet.

 

Are red light cameras just there for show?

Red light cameras are installed at busy intersections with a history of red light violations and an unusually high number of vehicle collisions and pedestrian injuries. Statistics show that more than 40% of fatalities at intersections are caused by red light runners, making this program crucial in efforts to reduce the number of fatal accidents.

Traffic data shows that the program is a resounding success in reducing these accidents. The number of vehicle collisions and pedestrian injuries has been reduced by 40% at those intersections with a red light camera, depending on the region.

In Toronto, the number of angle collisions causing death, injury or property damage have been reduced by more than 60 per cent.

Red light cameras play an important role in reducing traffic accidents in urban areas. Regardless whether they act as a deterrent or a punishment for breaking the law, they have succeeded in making our streets safer.


Since you won’t earn demerit points from red light camera tickets, you likely won’t receive any insurance rate increases. Get a 3-minute quote to see what a better rate looks like for you without worrying about these tickets!

Seriously, what else can you do in 3 minutes?

Boil half an egg?

You might like this stuff, too.

Writing off cars: how it works and why it’s not good

Writing off cars: how it works and why it’s not good

Getting into a car accident is traumatic enough, but then in the aftermath you have to deal with tow trucks, insurance claims, temporary transportation, potential demerit points, and whether or not the car is a write off. It can all be a bit overwhelming.  Depending...

read more
Insurance premiums explained (in plain English)

Insurance premiums explained (in plain English)

We get a lot of questions about insurance premiums and how they work. Unfortunately, the insurance industry is overflowing with jargon, complex policies, and conditional answers—to the point where it’s just hard to navigate. We’re on a bit of a mission to turn that...

read more