Drivers in Ontario tend to have a lot of questions about demerit points, some of our content aims to answer their questions, How long do demerit points last? or Do red light camera tickets result in demerit points?. Today, we are answering a different but equally important question in regards to demerit points to allow drivers to understand how demerit points are earned and where to find out how many you have, keep reading.
Demerit points explained
The demerit point system in Ontario is used to hold drivers accountable for their actions and to encourage drivers to drive safely. If you receive a ticket, such as a speeding ticket or careless driving ticket, you may get demerit points along with a fine. Demerit points are assigned when a driver commits an infraction. The more serious the infraction, the more demerit points you may receive. Points typically range between two and seven per infraction. If you’ve never been charged with a driving infraction or received a ticket, then you will have zero demerit points. This is because all drivers start with zero demerit points. You only gain points by breaking laws under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act.
To check how many demerit points you have, you will need to obtain a copy of your driving record. Driving records can be obtained online or in person at a ServiceOntario centre and the cost of obtaining one varies. Generally speaking, requesting any of the following types of driving records will confirm if you have any demerit points, and if so, how many. By requesting either a three-year driver’s record, five-year driver’s record, extended driver’s record or a complete driver’s record you can confirm the amount of demerit points you have.
Maximum number of demerit points for G drivers
Please note that the maximum number of demerit points you can have in Ontario varies depending on the classification of driver’s licence you have. For example, there are many G1 licence restrictions, which means that G1 drivers have a lower maximum threshold for demerit points. However, for the average driver with a full G licence, the maximum number of demerit points you can receive before your licence is suspended is 15. The following is a list of what will happen when you reach the following amount of demerit points:
- 2-8 demerit points: You will receive a warning from the Ontario government, usually in the form of a letter sent in the mail.
- 9-14 demerit points: Although you have yet to meet the maximum number of demerit points for a G driver, which is 15, your licence could still be suspended. You may also be required to attend a meeting to discuss your driving habits, during which you may have to defend yourself and explain why your driver’s licence should not be suspended at this time. If you are asked to attend a meeting, you may also have to pay a $50 fee.
- 15+ demerit points: The moment that you reach 15 demerit points, your driver’s licence will automatically be suspended for a period of 30 days. You must give up your licence during this time, which means you will be unable to legally drive a car until the 30 days are up. If you do not surrender your driver’s licence at a Service Ontario centre, your 30-day suspension may go up to two years. Once the suspension period is over, you will be required to take a vision, written, and road test again. Assuming you pass these tests, your Ontario driver’s licence will be reinstated. However, you won’t start with zero demerit points, you will start with seven.
Maximum number of demerit points for G1 and G2 drivers
The rules are slightly different for young drivers who only have their G1 or G2 driver’s licence in Ontario. To shape new drivers into safe and responsible motorists, the maximum number of demerit points a G1 or G2 driver can receive before their licence is temporarily suspended is 9. Keep reading for a complete breakdown of the different stages of demerit point penalties below:
- 2-5 demerit points: You will receive a warning from the Ontario government, usually in the form of a letter sent in the mail.
- 6-8 demerit points: Although you have yet to meet the maximum number of demerit points for a G1 or G2 driver, your licence could still be suspended. You will also be asked to attend a meeting to discuss your driving habits, which will result in a $50 fee.
- 9+ demerit points: Your G1 or G2 driver’s licence will be automatically suspended for 60 days. You will have to surrender your driver’s licence at a Service Ontario location and re-take all driving tests once the suspension is up. If you pass all tests, your licence will be reinstated and your record will be revised to include four demerit points. However, if any new demerit points are earned in the subsequent months or years, you will need to attend another interview with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation.
What infractions will result in demerit points in Ontario?
Understanding which types of driving infractions will earn you demerit points and which won’t, as well as how many demerit points you can expect to receive in the event of different infractions is incredibly useful information. Below is a list of different types of driving infractions and the demerit points you may incur as a result:
The good news is that not all types of tickets will result in demerit points. For example, parking tickets do not come with demerit points, nor will they impact your auto insurance premium,learn more about the different types of auto insurance by contacting BrokerLink. That said, other types of tickets, like speeding tickets, can result in demerit points. The number of points you receive will directly correlate to the speed at which you were travelling at the time of the incident. The following is a list of the demerit points that may be assigned based on your speed:
- 6 demerit points: Exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/h or more
- 4 demerit points: Exceeding the speed limit by 30 to 49 km/h
- 3 demerit points: Exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 29 km/h
Distracted driving comes in many forms, with texting and driving being one of the most popular. Given that distracted driving is illegal in Canada, if you choose to engage in this act and are caught, you could receive a fine, as well as demerit points. The number of demerit points that will be issued to you depends on whether it is your first, second, or a subsequent distracted driving infraction:
- 3 demerit points: First distracted driving charge
- 6 demerit points: Second distracted driving charge
- 6 demerit points: Third or subsequent distracted driving charge
Please note that G1 and G2 drivers will not receive demerit points for distracted driving. However, they can face other penalties, including fines or the temporary suspension or cancellation of their driver’s licence.
You might be surprised to learn that impaired driving does not result in demerit points. This is because impaired driving is a criminal offence in Canada, and as such, it falls under the Criminal Code of Canada. Criminal charges like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have much more serious consequences than demerit points, including jail time and licence suspension.
Not wearing a seatbelt
Driving without a seatbelt is not only dangerous, it’s illegal. As such, you can receive two demerit points for failing to wear a seatbelt. It is worth noting that a driver can receive two demerit points if they are caught not wearing a seatbelt. However, they can also receive two demerit points if a passenger in the car who is under 16 years of age is not wearing a seatbelt.
Number of demerit points by type of infraction
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation has a complete list of infractions or offences that can result in demerit points. The list is broken down according to the number of demerit points that may be issued and is as follows:
Seven demerit points
- Failing to remain at the scene of a collision
- Failing to stop for police
Six demerit points
- Careless driving
- Exceeding the speed limit of 40km/h or more on roads with a speed limit of less than 80km/h
- Exceeding the speed limit by 50km/h or more
- Failing to stop for a school bus
Five demerit points
- Driver of bus failing to stop at an unprotected railway crossing
Four demerit points
- Exceeding the speed limit by 30 to 49 km/h
- Following too closely
- Not stopping at a pedestrian crossover
Three demerit points
- Exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 29 km/h
- Driving through, around, or under a railway crossing barrier
- Driving while holding or using a handheld wireless communications or entertainment device or viewing a display screen unrelated to the driving task
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Failing to obey a stop sign, traffic light, or railway crossing signal
- Failing to obey traffic control stop signs, control slow signs, or school crossing stop signs
- Failing to obey the directions of a police officer
- Driving the wrong way on a divided road
- Failing to report a collision to a police officer
- Improper driving where the road is divided into lanes
- Crowding the driver's seat
- Going the wrong way on a one-way road
- Driving or operating a vehicle on a closed road
- Crossing a divided road where no proper crossing is provided
- Failing to slow and carefully pass a stopped emergency vehicle
- Failing to stop at a pedestrian crossing
- Failing to obey the move over law (where possible, into another lane when passing a stopped emergency vehicle)
- Driving a vehicle that is equipped with or carrying a speed measuring warning device
- Improper use of a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane
Two demerit points
- Failing to lower headlight beam
- Prohibited turns
- Towing people, e.g. on toboggans, bicycles, or skis
- Failing to obey signs or sharing the road.
- Improper right or left turn
- Failing to signal
- Unnecessary slow driving
- Reversing on a highway
- Driver failing to ensure infant passenger is secured in an appropriate car seat
- Driver failing to ensure toddler or child passenger is secured
Demerit points and car insurance
Many drivers wonder if receiving demerit points will impact their car insurance premiums. The reality is that it will. Demerit points impact your driving record, as if you receive a demerit point, it means that you’ve committed an infraction. Committing an infraction, whether major or minor, can impact your rates. Just like how accidents affect car insurance rates, demerit points do as well. If you want to find out how much your insurance policy may go up after receiving demerit points, contact BrokerLink. We can provide you with a complimentary car insurance quote today.
Reach out to BrokerLink to learn more about Ontario’s demerit point system
If you want to know more about Ontario’s demerit point system and how it may impact your auto insurance rates, reach out to BrokerLink. We have a team of licensed car insurance specialists that can help you with any of your auto needs. From explaining Ontario’s demerit point system in greater detail to helping you renew your licence in Ontario, we are here. We can even help with tasks like getting a new drivers licence when moving or outlining what documents you need for car insurance. To begin your auto insurance journey today, contact BrokerLink.