Careless Driving – Highway Traffic Act s.130
Careless driving is a traffic ticket under the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario.
A ticket for careless driving may be given when the officer believes the driver was either:
- driving without due care and attention, or
- driving without consideration for other drivers
Is Careless Driving a Criminal Charge?
Careless driving is NOT a criminal charge.
Careless driving is a traffic ticket under the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario, a provincial statue. Criminal charges are under the Criminal Code of Canada.
The difference between the two is intent:
- usually careless driving incidents are accidents or unplanned events,
- e.g. the driver didn’t intend to lose control
In criminal charges the accused usually planned or had the intent to do the act, e.g.
- they planned on doing street racing,
- or driving dangerously
Careless driving has the following penalties
- 6 demerit points
- fine up to 2000 dollars
- jail up to 6 months
- licence suspension up to 2 years
- permit suspension up to 2 years
- dramatic insurance increases
Novice Drivers – G1 and G2 Drivers
Novice drivers convicted of careless driving receive an additional penalty of:
- 30 day licence suspension
- violation of demerit point accumulation for novice drivers
Bodily Harm or Death
Where the incident involves bodily harm or death the justice may prescribe a penalty of:
- fine not less than 2000 dollars,
- up to 50,000 dollars
- jail up to 2 years
- licence suspension for up to 5 years
- permit suspension for up to 5 years
Bodily harm means injuries that are more than minor in nature, injuries such as sore backs, hurt or cuts are not usually considered bodily harm.
The phrase bodily harm refers to serious injuries not trifling in nature.
Court ordered suspensions
Where a driver appears before a Justice of the Peace (JP), the justice may suspend the drivers licence for a period up to 6 months.
Although possible a licence suspensions for careless driving rarely happens, and only where:
- a serious incident has occurred
- possibly with serious injuries, or
- the driver displayed a serious lack of disregard for the rules of the road, and/or
- showed a serious lack of consideration to other persons using the roadway
Licence suspensions are not given for minor accidents where one or more of the drivers made a mistake in driving.
Class G1 and Class G2 drivers who are convicted or pay a careless driving ticket:
- are suspended for 30 days
- due to violation of demerit point limits for novice drivers
Novice drivers are suspended for 30 days where they are:
- convicted of any one traffic ticket with
- 4 or more demerit points
- accumulate 6 or more demerit points
Death or Bodily Harm
Where the driver has been charged with careless driving cause bodily harm, the JP may suspend the licence for up to 5 years.
Novice drivers, including G1 and G2 drivers convicted of careless driving will be suspended for 30 days to 5 years, under the novice driver regulations.
Many times careless driving is issued in accidents where the officer believes the driver made an error in driving or they were not driving carefully, for example:
- driving without due care and attention
- driving to fast for road conditions
- following too closely to another vehicle
- making an unsafe movement
- failing to yield to traffic
Tickets for careless driving where a driver is observes making multiple driving infractions, e.g speeding, lane changes, not signalling.
Careless driving tickets are commonly issued in traffic accidents.
Related charges: following too closely, speeding
Summons to Appear in Court
When a police officer issues a summons to appear, the driver or their legal representative must appear before the court on the date specified on the summons.
If the driver or their legal representative does not appear, the judge may issue a warrant for the drivers arrest.
Where the speed exceeds 50km/h a police officer the judge can:
- issue a fine of $12 per kilometre over the limit
- licence suspension of up to 6 months
- or both
*for example a driver is convicted of driving 50km/h the fine would be 50km x $12 = $600.00.
Any conviction for careless driving will dramatically affect insurance rates for all drivers.
Insurance companies believe the risk of having to pay a claim will be higher for drivers who have been convicted of this offence.
Many times the insured will be put into “high risk” insurance rates.
Novice drivers convicted of careless driving can face huge insurance increases because:
- the conviction on the abstract/record for 3 years
- the ticket may be the result of a traffic accident
- novice drivers are suspended for 30 days for
- exceeding demerit points for novice drivers
Where a novice driver receives a careless driving ticket they must fight the ticket to either have it canceled or reduced to 3 demerit point or less.
Dropping or reducing the charge will mean that the careless driving charge is not registered and the points will be reduced out of the suspension levels.
The way the insurance company learns about your traffic ticket is:
- The insurance company contacts
- the Ministry of Transportation and
- obtains the drivers abstract, or
- the driver calls and
- tells the insurance company that they received a ticket
Each insurance company is a private company with their own set of rules and standards.
Some insurance companies will increase the insurance for all drivers of the household, believing that the high risk driver may use other vehicles.
Once the driver is convicted of disobeying a red light, the court sends a notice to the Ministry of Transportation.
Upon receiving the record of conviction from the court, the Ministry of Transportation then adds the conviction to the driving record/abstract.
Driving abstracts are available to anyone who has the drivers licence number from the Ministry of Transportation. The current fee for this service is $12 and abstracts can be immediately obtained at this link. Online Ontario Driver Abstracts
What is a Victim Fine Surcharge?
The provincial government adds a victim fine surcharge (VFS) like a tax to every non-parking fine imposed under the Provincial Offences Act.
These funds are deposited into a special fund to help victims of crime.
- The amount of the VFS is usually 20 per cent of the imposed fine.
- For example, a $600 fine would result in a $120 surcharge.
- Fines over $1,000 carry a surcharge of 25 per cent.
Where a police officer issues a traffic ticket for more than 49km/h the officer must give the driver a summons to appear in court.
Where a judge issues a fine for speeding 50km/h or more, the fine is $12 per kilometre.
Highway Traffic Act of Ontario s. 130
(1) Every person is guilty of the offence of driving carelessly who drives a vehicle or street car on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway.
(2) On conviction under subsection (1), a person is liable to a fine of not less than $400 and not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition his or her driver’s licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than two years.
Careless driving causing bodily harm or death
(3) Every person is guilty of the offence of driving carelessly who drives a vehicle or street car on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway and who thereby causes bodily harm or death to any person.
(4) On conviction under subsection (3), a person is liable to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years, or to both, and in addition his or her driver’s licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than five years.
Deemed lack of reasonable consideration
(5) For the purposes of subsections (1) and (3), a person is deemed to drive without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway if he or she drives in a manner that may limit his or her ability to prudently adjust to changing circumstances on the highway.
Sentencing — aggravating factor
(6) A court that imposes a sentence for an offence under subsection (3) shall consider as an aggravating factor evidence that bodily harm or death was caused to a person who, in the circumstances of the offence, was vulnerable to a lack of due care and attention or reasonable consideration by a driver, including by virtue of the fact that the person was a pedestrian, cyclist or person working upon the highway.
R v Emery,2015 ABQB 679 (CanLII)
2015-10-30 | 16 pages | cited by 3 documents
careless driving — collision — travelling — highway — evidence
2. Was The Appellant’s Driving Careless? The last potential remaining basis for an appeal is whether the trial judge came to an unreasonable result in his application of his findings of fact to evaluate whether the Appellant’s driving was careless.
R. v. Shergill2016 ONCJ 163 (CanLII) 2016-03-23 | 15 pages | cited by 4 documents< careless driving — milk truck — actus reus — deserving of punishment — reasonably prudent driver >What is the actus reus element of careless driving? 2. To the extent that it imports to the charge of careless driving a consideration that the “conduct must be of such a nature that it can be considered a breach of duty to the public and deserving of punishment” does Beauchamp survive subsequent decisions by Provincial
R. v. Anthony, 1982 CanLII 3673 1982-07-13 | 16 pages | cited by 5 documents
dangerous driving — offence — careless — imprudent driving
2. On Monday, February 2nd, 1981, he appeared in the Provincial Court, in Kentville, without counsel and pleaded “Not Guilty” to the charge. jeopardy on the careless and imprudent driving charge; that it was based on the same conduct as the charge of dangerous driving; that the withdrawal of the careless and imprudent driving charge was tantamount to an acquittal and that therefore to proceed with, subsequently entered a plea of not guilty to the charge of dangerous driving.