How DoesThe Demerit Point System work?

Red traffic light

All of us make mistakes at some point in our lives. The other day I received my first ticket and wanted to know exactly what that meant to both my driver's license and my insurance. I decided to take another look at how the Ontario Demerit Point System works. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation uses the Demerit Point System, in which drivers convicted of certain driving-related offences have demerit points recorded on their driving records. Drivers begin with 0 demerit points and accumulate demerit points for convictions. If you collect enough points, you could lose you driver's license! Below are examples outlining offences and the number of demerit point penalties assigned to each offence.

7 Points
  • Failing to remain at the scene of a collision
  • Failing to stop when signaled/requested by a police officer
6 Points
  • Careless driving
  • Racing
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/h or more
  • Failing to stop for a school bus
5 Points
  • Driver of a bus failing to stop at an unprotected railway crossing
4 Points
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 30 to 49 km/h
  • Following too closely
3 Points
  • Exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 29 km/h
  • Driving through, around or under a railway crossing barrier
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Failing to obey a stop sign, traffic light or railway-crossing signal
  • 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 when 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
2 Points
  • Improper opening of a vehicle door
  • Prohibited turns
  • Towing people - on toboggans, bicycles, skis, etc.
  • Failing to obey signs
  • Failing to stop at a pedestrian crossing
  • Failing to share the road
  • Improper right turn
  • Improper left turn
  • Failing to signal
  • Unnecessary slow driving
  • Reversing on a divided high-speed road
  • Driver failing to wear a seat belt
  • Driver failing to ensure that a passenger less than 23 kg is properly secured
  • Driver failing to ensure that a passenger under 16 years is wearing a seatbelt

Fully Licensed Drivers

As a fully licensed driver, you could expect to receive a warning letter if you receive 6 or more demerit points. If you accumulate 9 or more points, you may have to attend an interview to discuss your record and even give reasons why your licence should not be suspended. You might even have to take a driver re-examination that could include an eye-exam, written test and/or road test. At 15 or more points, your licence will be suspended for 30 days from the date you surrender it to ServiceOntario (formerly known as Ontario Ministry of Transportation or MTO) and if you fail to surrender your licence, you could lose it for up to two years. For further details on the demerit point system and for information on how the demerit point system affects drivers under the graduated licensing system, please visit the ServiceOntario website (formerly known as Ontario Ministry of Transportation or MTO).

How Does this Affect Your Insurance?

At CAA, as with most insurance companies, we want to reward drivers for good driving habits. To be eligible for preferred rating plans such as “six star”, you must have a clear record or no more than one minor driving conviction (requirements vary by insurance company). Additional convictions usually result in the loss of preferred status and discounted premiums. So, in addition to the fine you pay, your insurance costs can go up. In order to receive the lowest insurance premiums possible, it is important to maintain a good driving record!