As most Ontario drivers know, getting pulled over and receiving a ticket from a police officer can take a bite out of your wallet, not to mention earn you demerit points on your record. Demerit points translate to your insurance premiums going up. But what about photo radar cameras, like red light cameras? Although getting a speed camera ticket is far from ideal, it’s different than getting a regular speeding ticket. In this article, we will explore the impact photo radar tickets have on your car insurance rates.
What are speed cameras and how are they used?
Speed cameras – otherwise known as an automated speed enforcement (ASE) camera – are designed catch you in the act of speeding. These cameras are strategically placed around schools and Community Safety Zones to constantly monitor high foot traffic in low speed limit areas. If you go past the designated speed limit in these areas, it is able to take a photo of your car in the act.
The speed camera photo captures:
- The date and time of incident
- Your car’s make and model
- The car’s license plate number, and
- The speed the driver was going
From there, the image and ticket gets reviewed by a provincial offences officer and a copy of the enlarged image and ticket is sent to the registered owner of the car via mail.
What Will It Cost You?
According to an article from CTV News, Toronto’s 50 speed enforcement cameras issued over 80,000 speeding tickets in just the first three months of 2021. According to the Automated Speed Enforcement website, speed camera fines are broken down
- The actual ticket fine – determined by the number of kilometres you were driving beyond the speed limit.
- The victim surcharge fee – this amount will vary depending on the amount of your actual ticket fine.
- There is also a court fee that applies to all tickets and is set by provincial regulation.
Therefore, the actual ticket fine + victim surcharge fee + court fees = the fine that you’ll be required to pay
Will a speed camera ticket affect my insurance?
No. The reason ASE cameras don’t affect insurance is because the photo radar camera cannot see who was driving the car, thus cannot prove who was driving the car. Therefore, you do not receive any demerit points for these tickets. The ticket gets issued to the registered owner of the car based on the license plate in the photo. It doesn’t matter who was driving the car. As the owner, you need to pay the ticket. Since the ticket is not issued to a specific driver, the offence can’t be reflected on your record which means it can’t impact your insurance premiums. The best way to avoid any increase in your insurance premium due to speeding is to abide by the posted speed limit.
FYI: There is no maximum number of tickets you can get from these cameras. If you fail to pay these tickets, you won’t be able to renew your license plate sticker until all your speed camera tickets are paid off.
How are speed camera tickets different from speeding tickets?
There are actually a couple differences between the two, which we’ve broken down for you below:
Speed Camera Tickets
- Ticket is issued to the registered owner of the vehicle in the captured photo.
- Camera determines the speed the vehicle is travelling.
- Ticket is not recorded on your driving record.
- Ticket includes an initial fine + victim surcharge fee + court fees with no demerit points.
- Issued then & there by a police officer when they pull you over for surpassing the speed limit.
- Ticket is issued to the person driving the vehicle.
- Speed gun is used to determine the speed that the vehicle is travelling.
- They will be listed on your driving record for 3 years from the conviction date.
- Ticket will increase insurance premiums and depending on how many offences you’re convicted with, you risk your insurance policy cancelling.
- Ticket typically includes an initial fine + victim surcharge fee + court fees + demerit points.
To learn more about speeding ticket fines in Ontario, click here.
I’ve received a photo radar ticket in the mail. What do I do?
Once you have received the image and ticket in the mail, you have 15 days to either:
- Pay the fine amount;
- Request a trial to plead not guilty;
- Request a trial to plead guilty and ask for an extension to pay.
If you choose not to pay the fine, it could mean refusal of your yearly license renewal, meaning you won’t be able to legally drive in Ontario. The best way to avoid a ticket, other than changing your route, is to simply slow down when you are in a Community Safety Zone. Also, take care when deciding who can borrow your car. To learn more about who is allowed to drive your car under your insurance, click here.
Although speed camera tickets will result in money out of your pocket, the upside is that it doesn’t affect your insurance premiums. To avoid the hassle, stay safe and drive the speed limit.