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Do you know how the demerit point system works?

Guest Contributor August 01, 2019
Red traffic light during rush hour with cars in the background.
If you’ve received a traffic citation, you might be wondering what that means for your license and insurance. The Ontario Ministry of Transportation uses the Demerit Point System, in which drivers convicted of certain driving-related offences have demerit points added to their driving records. Drivers begin with 0 demerit points and accumulate demerit points for convictions. If you collect enough points, you could lose your driver’s license. Below is a list of examples of offences and the number of demerit points assigned if you are convicted of each.

2 demerit points:

  • improper opening of a vehicle door
  • making an improper right turn, improper left turn or prohibited turn
  • towing people on toboggans, bicycles or skis
  • unnecessarily slow driving
  • driver not wearing a seat belt
  • infant/ child passenger not properly secured in an appropriate child restraint system or booster seat

3 demerit points:

  • driving while holding or using a hand-held wireless communications or entertainment device
  • exceeding the speed limit by 16 – 29 km/hour
  • driving the wrong way on a divided road
  • driving on a closed road
  • failing to obey a stop sign, traffic light or railway crossing signal
  • failure to obey the directions of a police officer or to report a collision to a police officer
  • improper passing
  • driving the wrong way on a one-way street

4 demerit points:

  • exceeding the speed limit by 30 – 49 km/hour
  • following too closely

5 demerit points:

  • failing to stop at an unprotected railway crossing (bus drivers only)

6 demerit points:

  • careless driving
  • racing
  • exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/hour or more
  • failing to stop for a school bus

7 demerit points:

  • failing to remain at the scene of a collision
  • failing to stop when signaled or asked by a police officer

Penalties for demerit points.

A fully-licensed driver with 2-8 points can expect to receive a warning letter. If you have accumulated 9 -14 points you may be asked to attend an interview to discuss your driving record and explain why your license should not be suspended (there is a $50 fee for this interview). Or your license may be suspended. If you have 15 or more points your license will be suspended for 30 days. Failure to surrender your license may result in a suspension of up to two years. New drivers face harsher penalties.

For more information on how demerit points work visit the Government of Ontario website.

How do demerit points 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, your insurance costs can go up. In order to receive the lowest insurance premiums possible, it is important to maintain a good driving record.

To find out more call 1-877-222-1717 for a complimentary policy review.