Following Too Closely

About

Follow too close traffic ticketDrivers while traveling on the roadways shall not follow another vehicle:

  • more closely than is reasonable and prudent
  • having due regard for the speed of the vehicle,
  • traffic and road conditions.

Where following another vehicle the driver must maintain a reasonable distance to enable the driver to come to a safe stop at all times.

Many courts and police officers believe that a reasonable distance is one car length per 10km/h or speed, although this is an opinion and not a law.


Commercial Vehicles

Drivers of commercial vehicles are required when on roadway with a speed of more than 60km/h to keep a distance of 60 metres between other traffic.

This distance does not apply where overtaking or passing another vehicle.

Related Charges: Careless Driving, Speeding


Insurance Implications

A conviction on the drivers abstract for following too close will affect insurance rates.  Where an accident has occurred the insurance implications will be compounded because:

  • a claim for the accident has been made
  • a conviction has been registered on the driving record

Where the driver holds a Class G1 or Class G2 licence the insurance rates will be affected for 3 reasons:


Driving Records/Abstracts

Once the driver is convicted of a traffic ticket, the court sends a notice to the Ministry of Transportation.

Upon receiving the record of conviction, the Ministry of Transportation adds the court conviction to the driving record.

Driving abstracts are available to anyone who has the drivers licence number for a fee payable to the Ministry of Transportation.

Therefore the way the insurance company will finds out about the ticket is;

Each insurance company is a private company with their own set of rules and standards.

Some insurance companies will not increase insurance rates for one ticket and others will. The problem is drivers don’t know what the insurance company is going to do, and if asked, there is a chance they will increase it due to the inquiry.

Drivers need to keep their driving records clear.


Fines

The fine for following too closely is $110.00.


Summons to Appear in Court

Where a police officer issues a summons to appear or the driver disputes the ticket, the Justice of the Peace (JP) can increase the fine up to $500.00.  This rarely happens for this offence but it is possible.

The out of court fine is actually, $90.00 but the court adds a $20.00 Victim Fine Surcharge to the ticket.


What is the Victim Fine Surcharge?

  • The provincial government adds a victim fine surcharge (VFS) to every non-parking fine imposed under the Provincial Offences Act.
    • It is 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 $100 fine would result in a $20 surcharge.
    • Fines over $1,000 carry a surcharge of 25 per cent.

Penalties

A conviction for following too closely has the following penalties:

Class G Drivers

  • out of court fine of $110.00
    • maximum fine of $500.00
  • conviction appears on driving abstract for 3 years
  • can affect insurance rates

Novice Drivers – G1 and G2 Drivers


Demerit Points

Following too closely traffic tickets have 4 demerit points.

Demerit Point Interviews

If you have to attend an interview, you will get a letter (Notice of Interview) to notify you of the time, date and location of the meeting. If you do not attend your licence could be suspended.

The fee for a demerit point interview is $50 and must be paid in person at any Service Ontario Centre.

You can pay the fee when you receive the Notice of Interview or within 10 business days of attending the interview.

Failure to pay the interview fee will result in the cancellation of your driver’s licence.


Suspensions

Class G licences are not suspended for a conviction for following too closely.

Class G1 and Class G2 drivers are suspended for 30 days for violating the demerit point restrictions for novice drivers

Any driver maybe suspended where any fine goes into default.  Where the licence is suspended for an unpaid fine, the licence will be suspended until the payment is made to the court.

The accumulation of demerit points can result in a licence suspension.


Legal Definition

Following too Closely – Highway Traffic Act 158

Headway of motor vehicles

158 (1) The driver of a motor vehicle or street car shall not follow another vehicle or street car more closely than is reasonable and prudent having due regard for the speed of the vehicle and the traffic on and the conditions of the highway.

Headway for commercial motor vehicles

(2) The driver of a commercial motor vehicle when driving on a highway at a speed exceeding 60 kilometres per hour shall not follow within 60 metres of another motor vehicle, but this shall not be construed to prevent a commercial motor vehicle overtaking and passing another motor vehicle.

Case Law

R. v. Haddad, 2009 ONCJ 536 (CanLII)
2009-10-23 | 16 pages
pick-up truck — sedan — motor vehicle — speed — offence of follow too closely
[…] the defendant, Ali Haddad, stands charged that he, on the 16th day of November, 2007, at Highway 407 eastbound, west of Dundas Street, in the municipality of Burlington, did commit the offence of “follow too closely”, contrary to sub-section 158(1) of the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8 , as amended. […] [8] In the case of Regina v. Ouseley , 1973 CanLII 663 (ON CA) , [1973] 1 O.R. 729 (Ont. C.A.). the Court determined that the mere fact of a rear-end collision is insufficient to make out a prima facie case of “following too closely”, contrary to s. 105(1) of the Highway Traffic Act (the predecessor to s. 158(1) ). […] My objection is to offences in the Highway Traffic Act such as unnecessary noise (section 49(3) ) and following too closely (section 105(1) ) which make the decision as to whether an infraction has occurred to the purely subjective opinion of a police officer. […]

R. v. Henningham, 2010 ONCJ 301 (CanLII)
2010-06-28 | 31 pages
vehicle — rate of speed — beyond a reasonable doubt — offence of careless driving — highway
[…] The defendant stated that the officer then came over to him and told him that he was driving recklessly, following too closely and “doing improper lane changes”. […] [60] My finding in this regard is based on the evidence which shows that at the relevant time, the defendant committed eight Highway Traffic Act infractions, including three instances of speeding at rate of speed of 145 kilometres per hour in a 100 kilometre per hour zone, three instances of following too closely and two […] In each of these situations, the driving conduct of the defendant in following the vehicles too closely, caused the drivers of the vehicles being followed to have to vacate lane #1; […]

R. v. Walsh, 1960 CanLII 169 (SK PC)
1960-09-21 | 3 pages | cited by 3 documents
mph — small truck — closely — highway — distance
[…] Brown 1943 CanLII 431 (BC CA) , [1943] 1 WWR 717, 58 BCR 498; Smith v. Harris [1939] 3 All ER 960, 83 SJ 730 ; Schram v. Kearns [1941]. 1941 CanLII 101 (SK CA) , 2 WWR 177; Re Oskey (1959) 1959 CanLII 474 (BC SC) , 29 WWR 415, 31 CR 229, 126 CCC 73; Donoghue v. Magee and Barron 1948 CanLII 475 (MB QB) , [1949] 1 WWR 70. […]