Demerit Points & Ontario Drivers
Associated charges: Novice Drivers | Licence Suspensions |
Understanding Demerit Points
In Ontario demerit points are accumulated, not lost. Rather than starting with a set number of points and losing them for traffic tickets, drivers in Ontario begin with zero demerit points.
Points are then accumulated or gained on the driver’s record following convictions for specific traffic tickets.
The demerit are recorded on the driving history for two years, starting from the date of the offence or the date when the driver is convicted or pays the fine associated with the ticket.
Accruing a significant number of demerit points can lead to the loss of your driver’s licence. It’s important to note that this isn’t limited to violations in Ontario alone. Accumulating demerit points for traffic violations also applies when Ontario drivers breach driving laws in other Canadian provinces and territories, as well as in the State of New York and the State of Michigan under reciprocal agreements.
Class G Drivers
For Class G Drivers, the accumulation of demerit can lead to various consequences, which escalate with the number of points accrued:
- 2 to 8: Drivers will receive a warning letter, serving as a reminder to adhere to traffic laws.
- 9 to 14: At this stage, drivers face the possibility of a demerit point interview to assess their driving behavior. Additionally, a second warning letter is sent, urging improvements in driving habits.
- 15 or More: Reaching this threshold results in a 30-day licence suspension. The Ministry of Transportation will issue a letter detailing the suspension’s start date and instructing the driver to surrender their licence.
It’s important to note that where driver fails to surrender or refuses to surrender their licence after receiving notice of a suspension, they risk losing their driving privileges for up to two years. This policy underscores the importance of complying with driving regulations and the serious implications of accumulations.
Demerit Points & Novice Drivers
Drivers holding a G1, G2, M1, M2, M1-L, or M2-L licence are categorized as novice drivers.
The consequences they face for accumulating demerit points differ from those for more experienced drivers:
- 2 to 3 Points: Novice drivers will receive a warning letter, alerting them to their point accumulation and the need for safer driving practices.
- Any Ticket with 4 or More Demerit Points: This results in a 30-day licence suspension, a significant step up in consequences to underscore the importance of adhering to driving rules.
- 9 or More Points: Accumulating this many points leads to a 60-day licence suspension. The Ministry of Transportation will notify the driver with a letter sent to their registered address. This letter will detail the commencement date of the suspension and instruct the driver to surrender their licence.
It is important to note where a novice driver is suspended the effect on insurance rates will be dramatic.
Novice drivers can also receive “escalating” penalties – consequences that get stiffer with each similar offence – for breaking certain laws.
Escalating penalties can apply if you are:
- convicted of breaking graduated licensing rules
- convicted of a Highway Traffic Act offence that results in four or more demerit points (e.g., stunt driving, careless driving)
- subject to a court-ordered suspension for a Highway Traffic Act offence that would have otherwise resulted in four or more points
- first offence: your driver’s licence is suspended for 30 days.
- second offence: your driver’s licence is suspended for 90 days.
- third offence: you will lose your novice licence.
Where the driver loses their licence for a 3rd offence will need to re-apply for a licence and start all over, taking all tests and paying all fees. Any time discount earned, time credited, or fees paid will be lost.
List of Demerit Points
|Speeding 15km/h or less
|Speeding 16km/h to 29km/h
|Speeding 30km/h to 49km/h
|Speeding more than 50km/h
|Cell Phone - Distracted Driving
|Cross Divided Highway
|Drive in Prohibited Lane - HOV Lanes
|Drive in High Occupancy Lane
|Drive through railway barrier
|Disobey Stop Sign
|Disobey Red Light
|Disobey Sign - Bylaw
|Disobey Police Officer
|Drive Wrong Way
|Fail to Remain at Accident
|Fail to Report Accident
|Failing to Yield Right of Way
|Fail to Stop for School Bus
|Fail to Lower High Beam
|Fail to Share Roadway
|Fail to Stop for Emergency Vehicles
|Failing to Signal
|Following too Closely
|Improperly Open Door
|Pass off Roadway
|Proceed Contrary to Sign
|Radar Warning Device
|Turn not in Safety
Demerit points themselves do not directly impact insurance premiums; rather, it’s the convictions for traffic tickets that have a direct influence on insurance rates.
Insurance companies view the driving record and the specific violations that have resulted in convictions to determine their risk of paying out any claims on the policy.
Each conviction, depending on its nature and severity, can lead to an increase in insurance premiums. Suspensions, on the other hand, are viewed as strong indicators of risk by insurers. When a driver’s licence is suspended due to traffic violations, insurers perceive this as a significant red flag.
These suspensions often result from repeated or serious infractions and the demerit point incurred, reinforcing the notion of increased risk. So, while demerit points alone may not affect insurance rates, the convictions that lead to them and subsequent suspensions can significantly impact perceived risks and insurance costs.