Sometimes you may not notice you’re speeding. You’re just going along with the flow of traffic, right? Unfortunately, you’re still considered to be speeding and will likely get a ticket if you’re caught.
Receiving a speeding ticket might not be the end of the world. But if you accumulate more than one in a short time, it can lead to more demerit points and higher car insurance rates.
The Demerit Point System in Ontario
In Ontario, drivers start with zero points, and they’re added if you break certain traffic laws. The points stay on your record for two years after you are convicted. Collecting too many of them could lead to your licence being suspended.
You can also rack up points on your licence when you break driving laws in other provinces, territories, and certain states.
The number of points you get will depend upon the offence. When it comes to speeding, you will receive:
- Three demerit points if you exceed the speed limit by 16 to 29 km/h
- Four demerit points if you go over the speed limit by 30 to 49 km/h
- Six demerit points if you’re convicted of racing or exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/h or more
There are several other violations, including unnecessary slow driving (two points), improper passing (three points), following too closely (four points), and careless driving (six points).
The severity of the penalties will depend on whether you’re a new driver or have a full licence. Ontario considers those with a G1, G2, M1, M2, M1-L, or M2-L licence to be new drivers.
New drivers will receive a warning letter if they have two to five points. However, drivers with a full licence will receive a letter if they have two to eight points. If you continue to rack up points, the penalties are more severe.
It’s possible for new drivers to have their licence suspended if they have six to eight points. For drivers with a full licence, the threshold is nine to 14 points. You might be required to attend an interview to go over your driving record and explain why your licence shouldn’t be suspended.
You will receive a letter if you’re required to have an interview. If you don’t show, your licence will be suspended. There’s also a $50 fee to attend the interview, which must be paid within 10 days of the interview. If you don’t pay the fee, your driver’s licence will be cancelled.
As soon as new drivers amass nine or more points, their licence will be suspended for 60 days. Drivers with a full licence will have their licence suspended for 30 days when they have 15 or more demerit points. It must also be surrendered. Failure to do so means you could lose your licence for up to two years.
Speeding or racing in other provinces, New York, and Michigan can also add demerit points to your record.
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The Demerit Point System in Alberta
Like in Ontario, demerit points stay on your record for two years after you are convicted. Accumulating too many points can also lead to a licence suspension.
These are the speeding-related demerit points in Alberta:
- Two points for exceeding the limit up to 15 km/h
- Three points for going over the limit by 16 to 30 km/h
- Four points for exceeding the limit by 31 to 40 km/h
- Six points for racing or going over the limit by 51 km/h
You can also receive demerit points for other offences, such as improper turns (two points), stunting (three points), following too closely (four points), careless driving (six points), and failing to stay at the scene of a collision (seven points).
Those with a graduated driver’s licence will receive a letter notifying them of their demerit point standing if they accumulate four to seven points within two years. Fully licenced drivers will receive a letter if they amass eight to 14 points in two years.
The length of a suspension is the same for both licence holders:
- First—a suspension lasting one month
- Second (within one year)—a two-month suspension
- Third (within two years)—a suspension lasting three months and a required hearing with the Alberta Transportation Safety Board
However, fully licensed drivers may be able to get a restricted driver’s licence if they need to drive to their primary place of employment, or for health or education reasons.
Before reaching 15 or more points, you can get three points deducted if you complete a government-approved defensive driving course.
How Speeding Demerit Points Affect Your Insurance
Several factors that affect your insurance premium, such as your age, how long you’ve been driving, where you live, your gender and age, how much you drive, and your driving record — which includes speeding tickets.
While the province won’t tell your insurance company whether or not you’ve received any tickets, the insurer can check your record. In general, your premium will remain low as long as your driving record is good.
One speeding ticket and a couple of demerit points might not lead to a premium increase. However, accumulating many tickets, being caught racing, or having your licence suspended may lead to a spike in premiums. Even worse, you may be considered a high-risk driver and will need to find another insurer.
Avoiding Higher Car Insurance Rates
The key to keeping your insurance rate from jumping is to keep your eye on the speedometer and avoid breaking any traffic violations. Your auto insurance premium should remain low as long as your driving record is clean.