The 401 is one of the busiest highways in Ontario. It’s among several notoriously heavily trafficked highways in the nation.
Ontario legislators enact highway rules to address the increasing number of accidents on busy roadways and across Canada. Drivers who break the rules receive Ontario speeding fines.
Ontario driving fines can prove costly. In one province, for instance, you could pay as much as $600 for distracted driving.
Nevertheless, fatalities are on the rise. In 2021 alone, 315 automobile drivers and 42 motorcyclists died on Ontario highways. Accordingly, officials must continue to enforce Highway Traffic Act regulations diligently.
To learn more about Ontario Highway Traffic Act fines, keep reading.
What Are Considered Minor Ontario Highway Traffic Act Fines?
In Ontario, there are many potential Highway Traffic Act infractions. Some Ontario Highway Traffic Act penalties are less severe than others. For example, speeding is a relatively minor infraction.
If you exceed the posted speed limit by more than 10 kilometers per hour, you can receive a $40 ticket. However, it’s important to realize that even a minor infraction can cause your insurance rates to increase. Also, fines increase with speed when driving in Ontario.
An “unsafe move” is another minor driving infraction. The Highway Traffic Act forbids drivers from moving to one lane from another without ensuring that it’s safe to do so. For an unsafe move infraction, you’d receive a $110 fine.
“Following closely” is another relatively minor offense. You can receive a following closely fine if an officer observes this kind of behavior. You can also receive this fine if you rear-end another vehicle.
As with the unsafe move infraction, you can receive a $110 fine. However, you’d receive 3 Highway Traffic Act demerit points for this infraction.
What Is Considered A Major Infraction On Ontario Highways?
As infractions get more serious, so do the potential penalties.
A major Highway Traffic Act infraction is not a criminal offense. However, it carries increased fines and demerits.
A major driving infraction might include school bus and school zone law violations. It might also include driving more than 60 kilometers per hour over the posted speed limit. Failure to report an accident also constitutes a major infraction.
Officials consider these Highway Traffic Act offenses more serious because it's more likely that someone could get hurt. Also, major infractions can have more of a negative impact on your insurance rates compared to minor ones.
Insecure Load Fines
Driving with an insecure load is one offense that can result in a major penalty. Sometimes, however, drivers can receive this penalty for a seemingly harmless oversight. For example, you can receive an insecure load penalty for driving with snow on the roof of your car. In fact, in 2021 a total of 222 insecure load penalty fines were issued.
Construction Zone Fines
You can also receive Ontario speeding fines for exceeding the speed limit through a construction zone.
If, for example, you were to pass through a construction zone while workers are present, you’d receive a $5 fine for each kilometre in excess of the speed limit. During off-work hours, you’d receive a $2.50 fine per kilometre in excess.
The more drivers exceed the speed limit through a construction zone, the higher the fines. Up to 49 kilometers, the fine for speeding through occupied and unoccupied construction zones are $12 and $6, respectively, for each kilometer per hour that you drive over the posted speed limit.
How Many Demerit Points Do You Get For These Offenses?
You’ll also receive demerit points for major driving offenses, according to Ontario driving laws. For example, you’d receive three demerit points for an insecure load fine.
The demerit points for speeding through a construction zone increase with the severity of the offense. There are no demerit points for driving 15 kilometers per hour or less over the speed limit in a construction zone.
However, if you were to pass through a construction zone going 16 to 29 kilometers per hour over the posted speed limit, you’d receive a 3-point demerit. At 30 to 49 kilometers per hour over the limit, you’d receive a 4-point demerit.
Driving at more than 50 kilometers per hour over the posted speed limit in Ontario is a criminal offense. In that case, a judge will determine how many demerits you’ll receive in addition to other penalties.
What Is Considered A Criminal Infraction On Ontario Highways?
There are several criminal driving violations in Ontario, in addition to driving more than 50 kilometers per hour over the posted speed limit.
For instance, it’s illegal to drive on Ontario roadways without a valid Canada drivers license. Racing or stunt driving is also a criminal offense.
It’s also illegal to drive with a blood-alcohol level of more than 0.08. Furthermore, it’s a criminal offense to refuse a breathalyzer test.
How Many Demerit Points Do You Get For Criminal Offences?
As expected, the demerits for criminal driving offenses are more severe than others. A judge might recommend 6 demerit points for racing. They may make the same recommendation for exceeding the speed limit by more than 50 kilometers per hour.
Meanwhile, you could receive 7 demerit points for leaving the scene of an accident. You could also receive 7 demerit points for failing to stop as directed by an officer.
Can I Lose My License?
It’s up to a judge to decide if you’ll lose your license after a criminal driving offense. However, this possibility is highly likely. In some cases, a judge might suspend a driver’s license for up to two years after a criminal conviction.
Can I Go to Jail?
Again, a jail time recommendation is determined by the judge based on the merits of the case. However, some criminal driving offenses can warrant up to six months in jail. If that criminal charge causes death, a person could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
How Long Do These Charges and Fines Stay On Your Driving Record?
If you receive a speeding ticket in Ontario, the violation can remain on your driving record for up to three years after the date of the conviction. The conviction date is the date that you pay your ticket and accept the infraction. Meanwhile, demerit points will stay on your driving record for up to two years.
Is It Possible To Remove Violations From Your Driving Record?
No. It is not possible to remove violations from your driving record once you’ve been convicted of an infraction. Resultantly, they’ll stay on your record until they fall off as dictated by current Canadian driving laws.
Many young drivers mistakenly believe that the justice system will give them a clean driving record when they turn 25. It is true that young drivers pay less for insurance once they turn 25. However, their driving infractions remain.
When it comes to insurance, underwriters must assess your current driving record. Current penalties will result in higher premiums. The higher your demerit points, the more you’ll pay.
However, there’s a different standard for how long insurance stays on your record after an accident. Here, it matters who the court determines caused the accident.
With this in mind, the insurer will use the Fault Determination Rules to assess liability for an accident. If you’re at fault, you’ll see an increase in your premium when it comes time to renew your policy.
How long that increase stays in effect varies among insurers. The increase might also vary based on where you live.
In the end, it pays to drive safely. If you don’t have a poor driving history, you don’t have to worry about paying higher premiums. In fact, an insurer may even give you a safe driving discount.
Tip: Some insurers sell protection endorsements for accidents and tickets. Endorsements can help you to protect your clean driving record if you’re in an accident. You’ll need to speak with an insurance broker to learn whether endorsements are available.
Find the Best Rates on Car Insurance Today!
Now you know more about Ontario Highway Traffic Act fines. However, a better understanding of what can go wrong on the road might make you wonder about getting better insurance.
With so many insurers to compare, however, it can prove challenging to learn more about what’s available. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place to find a resource that makes comparing insurance easy.
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