As everyone knows, speeding is illegal and unsafe behaviour on the road. Yet, it continues to happen despite tougher legislation being passed and higher penalties being enforced. Let’s go through some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding speeding and what this means for your car insurance in Ontario.
WHAT CONSTITUTES AS SPEEDING?
A driver cannot drive a motor vehicle, as defined in the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario, faster than what the speed limit is for that area. The speed limit in a town, city or municipality is always 50 km/h unless it is otherwise posted.
WHAT TYPES OF SPEEDING TICKETS ARE THERE?
There are two main types of speeding tickets that a police officer can issue:
- Ticket with a fine on it (most common): The ticket has the fine and the demerit points listed on it. You must appear in court if you want to dispute the ticket.
- Provincial offence summons to appear in court (less common): The ticket has a court date on it and the driver is required to appear. The maximum fine for speeding in Ontario is $500, at $12 per km. The judge may suspend the driver’s licence for up to one month for excessive speeds of over 50 km/hr, such as stunt driving or infractions in Community Safe Zones.
DOES A SPEEDING TICKET AFFECT MY INSURANCE?
Yes. Your car insurance will be impacted by the speeding ticket. How much of an effect? That will depend on a few factors, such as:
- how fast you were going over the speed limit
- the classification of the traffic infraction (minor, major, serious conviction)
- the number of speeding tickets you already have
Your first minor ticket will not have as much of an impact on your insurance as your third ticket or a conviction for a serious speeding offence will.
It depends on your insurer and the fine. How much a speeding ticket increases your costs will vary based on your insurer’s rules. For minor tickets, you may only see a slight increase or no increase at all. If you receive a major ticket or have multiple tickets, you can expect your costs to increase and put your policy renewal in question. Too many speeding tickets or one major conviction could result in your insurance being cancelled or refusal of coverage, which means you may then need to look into high-risk insurance.
Penalties for speeding should be reflected in the severity of the offence. Driving 15km/hr over the speed limit on the highway is quite common and poses little danger as the average rate of speed is usually over the limit. Driving 50km/hr over the limit in a school zone, however, is reckless and should impose higher penalties due to the higher potential for serious injury.
HOW WILL MY INSURANCE FIND OUT?
Your provider will find out about it when you either pay the ticket fine, convicted in court or when it’s added to your driver’s abstract.
Often, insurers become aware of a speeding ticket when your auto policy is up for renewal. Insurers can contact the Ministry of Transportation during the renewal process.
HOW MUCH WILL MY INSURANCE GO UP WITH A SPEEDING TICKET IN ONTARIO?
According to Ontario Traffic Tickets, minor speeding tickets on average have the following consequences on your car insurance rates:
- One ticket: 0 to 10% increase
- Two tickets: 25% increase
- Three tickets: 100% increase
DO SPEEDING TICKETS FROM OTHER PROVINCES AFFECT MY INSURANCE IN ONTARIO?
No matter where you receive a speeding ticket in Canada, it will show up on your driving abstract as an out-of-province (OOP) speeding ticket. You are required to pay the fine or it will go into collections.
DO YOU GET DEMERIT POINTS FOR SPEEDING IN ONTARIO?
You can get demerit points for speeding. Depending how much you are going over, you can receive between three and six points.
Demerit points are the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s way of determining driver quality. If someone acquires too many demerit points, the Ministry can choose not to renew your license. Any demerit points you gain during your driving remain on your record for three years. If you get a speeding ticket in Ontario, it will also include demerit points on your record. Currently, you will get the following demerit points for speeding:
- 16-29km/h over the posted speed limit will come with 3 demerit points.
- 30-49km/h over the posted speed limit will come with 4 demerit points.
- 50+ km/h over the posted speed limit will come with 6 demerit points.
HOW LONG DO SPEEDING TICKETS STAY ON YOUR RECORD IN ONTARIO?
Currently in Ontario, a Highway Traffic Act (HTA) conviction, such as speeding, will remain on your motor vehicle record for three years after the date of conviction, meaning the date you paid your ticket and accepted the infraction. To see if a ticket is still on your record, you can order a driver’s record from ServiceOntario.
HOW LONG DO YOU HAVE TO PAY A SPEEDING TICKET IN ONTARIO?
Firstly, it may take 10 or more days after you are issued a ticket for your case to appear in the system. Typically, you will find the 15 day expiry on the back of your ticket. This expiry is for you to exercise one of the options given to you. If your 15 days are up, you may not be able to dispute your ticket and the court may then convict you for the offence.
HOW DO I PAY A SPEEDING TICKET THAT IS LOST?
If your ticket was issued in Ontario, you can go to any courthouse in the province with your driver’s licence and they will be able to inform you of all your outstanding fines.
DOES GETTING A TICKET IN THE U.S. AFFECT MY INSURANCE IN ONTARIO?
It can. Many states and Canadian provinces have reciprocal agreements whereby they exchange information regarding traffic tickets. Ontario has reciprocal agreements with all Canadian provinces and territories, as well as the states of New York and Michigan.
HOW DO I FIGHT A SPEEDING TICKET IN ONTARIO?
When you receive a speeding ticket, you will have the option to:
- pay it outright
- plead guilty with an explanation
- have a meeting with the prosecutor
- dispute it
You will have to contact the court and potentially find a lawyer. Depending on the severity of the case, it will cost between $300 to $500 to fight a ticket in the province of Ontario.
CAN I PAY FOR MY SPEEDING TICKET ONLINE?
Yes, you can pay for a speeding ticket online. Most areas have their own online portals that enable you to pay for driving tickets online. While most areas have this, some areas do not and need you to pay for your ticket in person. Some areas that allow you to pay for a ticket online include:
- Pay Toronto Speeding Tickets Online
- Online Payment Niagara Region Speeding Tickets
- Pay Ottawa Speeding Tickets Online
- Mississauga Speeding Tickets Paid Online
DO PHOTO RADAR TICKETS GO ON YOUR RECORD?
No. Speeding tickets from a photo radar won’t add any demerit points to your driving record because the camera can’t pick up exactly who was driving the car. The information only allows the ticket to be issued to the vehicle owner.
HOW DO I FIGHT A PHOTO RADAR TICKET?
As the vehicle owner, you have the right to lend your vehicle to a family member or friend, at your discretion. However, in the case of photo radar and red light camera tickets, you do have options:
- Admit guilt and pay the fine
- Attend a defensive driving class (at your expense)
- Request a trial be set by mail
- Tell them who the actual driver was
Although fines for speeding are becoming more severe, the reality is that speeding is still a real problem on Ontario streets and highways. Choosing to ignore speed limits could risk the safety of yourself, your passengers and others on the road.
If you have received citations for speeding, they will ultimately affect your driving record and premiums. Your insurance company can access your driving record at policy renewal time. They will then assess what the risk is to them and how likely you are to be involved in an accident. Your rates may increase as a result. For more information about how speeding can affect your insurance premiums, contact your isure broker today!