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The ultimate list of Ontario traffic tickets, fines, and demerit points

Is there anything worse than seeing those red and blue lights flashing in your rear-view mirror? The Ontario Provincial Police give out thousands of Ontario traffic tickets every year to speeders, non-yielders, distracted drivers, and alike. In 2019 alone, Toronto police issued over 200,000 tickets totaling $13.9 million dollars.

That should cover a few pot holes, at least.

But what does a traffic ticket mean for your driving record? Does it raise your car insurance rates? By how much? And what about demerit points? Do they matter?

We’ll answer all of this for you right now.

Let’s get started with the three types of Ontario traffic tickets you could be facing: Minor, Major, and Criminal. These correspond to each of the three categories of driving conviction in Ontario.

 

What counts as a minor infraction in Ontario?

  • Crowding vehicle with more people than seat belts
  • Defective brakes
  • Driver’s license violations
  • Driving with an insecure load
  • Driving with open alcohol in vehicle
  • Driving without an up-to-date inspection sticker
  • Failing to share the road
  • Failing to signal
  • Failure to use seat belts
  • Failing to yield to another vehicle or pedestrian
  • Failure to surrender your license to authority
  • Failure to produce evidence of insurance to authority
  • Driving without insurance
  • Following too closely
  • Headlight offences
  • Improper driving in a bus lane
  • Improper opening of door
  • Improper passing, lane change or turn
  • Improper railway crossing
  • Improper towing
  • Improper use of divided highway
  • Obstruction of license plate
  • Obstructing the view of other drivers
  • Obstructing traffic
  • Overloading
  • Seat belt infraction
  • Speeding
  • Stop sign or traffic light infraction
  • Unnecessary noise
  • Unnecessary slow driving
  • Unsafe move
  • Unsafe or prohibited turn
  • Unsafe vehicle
  • Use of radar warning device
  • Wrong way on one way

 

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What counts as a major traffic violation in Ontario?

  • Distracted driving (most often texting and driving)
  • False statement of insurance
  • Failure to follow restrictions in a school zone or improper passing zone
  • Failing to report an accident
  • Failure to report damage to highway property
  • Failure to stop for an emergency vehicle
  • Failing to stop or improper passing at a school bus
  • Producing false evidence of license or insurance
  • Speeding in a construction zone
  • Violation of license conditions (non-alcohol)

 

What counts as a criminal traffic violation in Ontario?

  • Dangerous driving
  • Criminal negligence
  • Driving above the alcohol limit in Ontario (blood alcohol level over 0.08)
  • Driving while under suspension
  • Failing to obey police
  • Failing to remain at an accident scene
  • Motor manslaughter
  • Operating a motor vehicle without insurance
  • Racing
  • Speeding 50 km over the posted speed limit (or set limit in your province)
  • Refusing a breathalyzer test
  • Stunt driving or drag racing
  • Violation of license conditions (alcohol-related)

 

How much will an Ontario traffic ticket impact my insurance?

If you have a squeaky-clean driving record, there’s a chance that your insurer might be lenient with you for your first conviction. But it’s hard to say for sure, as every insurer has its own underwriting practices, all of which are underpinned by actuarial science.

The best way to tell how it will affect your rates is to get a quote with various insurance companies, or a broker who can find rates with the most savings for you.

 

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Any major or criminal conviction, or two or more minor convictions, will result in an increase in your insurance premiums for sure. How much more you’ll have to pay depends on your provider and your driving history, but these are offences are most likely to raise your rates:

  • Reckless driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Driving without a license or permit
  • Careless driving
  • Speeding 40 km/h over the limit
  • Failure to stop
  • Improper turn
  • Improper passing
  • Following too close/tailgating
  • Speeding 25-39 km/h over the limit
  • Speeding 1-25 km/h over the limit
  • Failure to yield
  • No car insurance
  • Seat belt infractions

Many of the big insurers in the Ontario market would cancel an auto insurance policy after just one major or criminal conviction. If you accumulate multiple offences, then you’ll very likely need to apply for a high-risk car insurance policy, which can become very expensive.

What do I do if I get an Ontario traffic ticket?

You have 15 days to pay the ticket, which translates into a conviction, or fight it, which can result in the dismissal of any potential conviction. Your insurance premiums may increase if your ticket becomes a conviction, so it can be worthwhile to fight it.

There are a few tickets that won’t affect your car insurance rates:

  1. Parking tickets
  2. Red light camera tickets

Parking tickets don’t have an impact because they don’t relate to your ability as a driver (even if bad parking jobs are annoying).

Red light camera tickets don’t affect your insurance because the cameras taking pictures of vehicles running a red only capture the car and the license plate, but not the driver. That means you don’t get demerit points, and, by extension, no penalties on your car insurance rates.

 

How long do Ontario’s traffic tickets stay on my driving record?

So you’ve been convicted and your premiums have been bumped up—but for how long?

  • Demerit points: two years
  • Traffic ticket conviction: three years
  • License suspension: between 90 days and 3 years (in most cases, but not all)

Once the offence is no longer on your driving record, it will no longer be factored into your insurance premiums. You can request your driving record abstract at any time to check the status of past infractions. 

Ontario has more than 550 driving infractions. You can see the whole list right here, but we wouldn’t recommend it for light reading. Use that list to find something specific.

You can also check the Ontario Highway Traffic Act for details about each infraction.

 

Speeding infractions and fines

Most Canadians will receive at least one speeding ticket on their driving record over their lives. Depending on where you were driving and how far over the speed limit you were going, the fines vary in severity.

 

General speeding infractions

Kilometres Set Fine
1-19 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. $2.50 per kilometre
20-29 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. $3.75 per kilometre
30-49 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. $6 per kilometre
50 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. No out-of-court settlement

 

Photo radar speeding infractions

Kilometres Set Fine
1-19 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. $2.50 per kilometre
20-34 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. $3.75 per kilometre
35-49 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. $6 per kilometre
50-60 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. $8 per kilometre
61+ kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. No set fine

 

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Construction zone speeding (workers present)

Kilometres Set Fine
1-19 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. $5 per kilometre
20-29 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. $7.50 per kilometre
30-49 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. $12 per kilometre
50 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. No out-of-court settlement

 

Construction zone speeding (workers absent)

Kilometres Set Fine
1-19 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. $2.50 per kilometre
20-29 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. $3.75 per kilometre
30-49 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. $6 per kilometre
50 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. No out-of-court settlement

 

Community safety zone speeding infractions

Kilometres Set Fine
1-19 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. $5 per kilometre
20-29 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. $7.50 per kilometre
30-49 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. $12 per kilometre
50 kilometres per hour over the maximum speed limit. No out-of-court settlement

 

How many demerit points do you get for Ontario traffic tickets?

If you are convicted or your traffic offence,  you may also receive demerit points. Here are the categories for the most common convictions:

7 Demerit Points

  • Failing to remain at the scene of a collision
  • Failing to stop when signaled or asked by a police officer

 

6 Demerit Points

  • Careless driving
  • Racing
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/hour or more
  • Failing to stop for a school bus

 

5 Demerit Points

  • Failing to stop at an unprotected railway crossing (for bus drivers only)

 

4 Demerit Points

  • Exceeding the speed limit by 30 to 49 km/hour
  • Following too closely

 

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3 Demerit Points

  • Driving while holding or using a hand-held wireless communications or entertainment device (with a $1,000 fine and a three-day license suspension)
  • Driving while viewing a display screen unrelated to the driving task
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 29 km/hour
  • Driving through, around or under a railway crossing barrier
  • Driving the wrong way on a divided road
  • Driving or operating a vehicle on a closed road
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Failing to obey a stop sign, traffic control stop/slow sign, traffic light or railway crossing signal
  • Failing to obey the directions of a police officer
  • Failing to report a collision to a police officer
  • Failing to slow and carefully pass a stopped emergency vehicle or a tow truck with its amber lights flashing
  • Failing to move, where possible, into another lane when passing a stopped emergency vehicle or a tow truck with its amber lights flashing
  • Improper passing
  • Improper driving when road is divided into lanes
  • Improper use of a high occupancy vehicle lane
  • Going the wrong way on a one-way road
  • Crossing a divided road where no proper crossing is provided
  • Crowding the driver’s seat

 

Two Demerit Points

  • Improper right turn
  • Improper left turn
  • Improper opening of a vehicle door
  • Prohibited turns
  • Towing people — on toboggans, bicycles, skis
  • Unnecessary slow driving
  • Backing on highway
  • Failing to lower headlamp beams
  • Failing to obey signs
  • Failing to stop at a pedestrian crossing
  • Failing to share the road
  • Failing to signal
  • Driver failing to wear a seat belt
  • Driver failing to ensure infant/ child passenger is properly secured in an appropriate child restraint system or booster seat
  • Driver failing to ensure that a passenger less than 23 kg is properly secured
  • Driver failing to ensure that a passenger under 16 years is wearing a seat belt

 

Whew! That’s all the big stuff. Drive safely out there!

Major traffic violations Ontario FAQs

What are the worst traffic violations?

There are three categories of driving convictions in Ontario: minor, major and criminal. Criminal driving convictions are especially serious because they often follow particularly hazardous driving. In addition to demerit points and license suspensions, criminal driving convictions trigger legal proceedings resulting in criminal charges.

Here’s a list of the most severe criminal driving charges:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. There is a zero-tolerance policy for Young (under 21), novice (motorists without a full G or M class license) and commercial drivers with drugs or alcohol found in their system.
  • Failing to obey the police, including not stopping for them or refusing to take a breathalyzer test.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident.
  • Dangerous or careless driving.
  • Criminal negligence while driving and vehicular manslaughter.
  • Dangerous driving and stunt driving: Stunt driving convictions are prosecuted under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, but a conviction can still result in jail time.

How long do driving offences stay on your criminal record?

Driving offences classified as serious or criminal are prosecuted under the Criminal Code of Canada. Therefore, a driving-related conviction contributes to a driver’s criminal record, like other criminal convictions.

Depending on the severity of a crime, young offenders can typically have their criminal conviction sealed from the public after 2 to 5 years without subsequent convictions.

Adults charged with criminal driving offences can take steps to seal their conviction history with a record suspension. Still, criminal convictions generally aren’t automatically removed from an adult criminal record for decades.

How long do driving offences stay on your driving record?

Your insurance premiums can increase accordingly depending on the severity and number of convictions (not including parking tickets) on your driving record. Your insurance company could also cancel your insurance, forcing you to pay for high-risk insurance until your driving record improves.

While demerit points only stay on your driving record for 2 years, most driving charges will remain on your driver’s abstract, accessible by insurance companies for 3 to 5 years. However, serious charges like a DUI or criminal negligence conviction can affect how much you pay for insurance for 6 to 8 years.

What are major driving convictions in Ontario?

As their name suggests, major driving convictions are more serious than minor infractions. They are also associated with more significant penalties than minor convictions like failing to signal or not wearing a seatbelt (which we obviously still strongly advise against).

Major driving charges include:

  • Distracted driving which includes texting, holding your phone or watching a screen unrelated to driving. For example: watching a music video rather than briefly checking a navigation device.
  • Driving without insurance.
  • Using a fake license or falsified insurance documents.
  • Speeding in a school or construction zone.
  • Passing a stopped school bus or failing to stop for an emergency vehicle.
  • Failing to report an accident or damaged highway property.
  • Driving between 40 and 50 km per hour over the speed limit, depending on whether the limit is under 80 km/h.

The penalties for major driving convictions can involve a combination of demerit points, license suspension and fines. In addition, these convictions will increase your insurance premium. Insurers will view you as a higher-risk driver until you maintain a clean driving record for at least two years.

Technically, stunt driving convictions are prosecuted under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, classifying them as major instead of criminal violations. However, a stunt driving conviction can still result in a prison sentence of up to 6 months.

What is a major speeding ticket in Ontario?

The most extreme speeding violations in Ontario can lead to stunt driving charges. Speeding-related stunt driving charges include:

  • Driving 40 km/h or more over the speed limit if the limit is less than 80 km/h.
  • Driving 50 km/h or more over the speed limit.
  • Driving 150 km/h or faster on any road, including freeways where the limit is 110 km/h.

Penalties for stunt driving or street racing include:

  • An immediate driver’s licence suspension for 30 days.
  • Vehicle impoundment for 14 days.
  • A post-conviction suspension of up to 3 years, 10 years or life, depending on whether it’s a first, second or third conviction.
  • Six demerit points added to your driving record.
  • Fines between $2,000 and $10,000.
  • Up to a six-month jail sentence.

New drivers convicted of driving 30 km or more over the speed limit will also receive a 30-day licence suspension and could have their license cancelled, meaning you would need to start the process of obtaining a license all over again.

Seriously, what else can you do in 3 minutes?

Boil half an egg?

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