O.P.P. Crack Down
6,554 charges were laid by the O.P.P. over the long weekend. The charges included:
Hazardous Moving Violations: 462
Other Highway Traffic Act Charges: 667
Liquor Licence Act Charges: 406
Insurance Act Charges: 161
Impaired Drivers Arrested: 66
Drug Offences: 11
Unsafe Vehicles: 211
Fatal Collisions: 7
FYI: "Emergency vehicles" were parked randomly on the highway to trap drivers speeding past them. It's the law that you must slow down and move over into another lane if it's safe to do so. Drivers who didn't were fined $490 for a first offence. Repeat offences can go as high as $4,000.
Tickets Go High-Tech
The Ontario Provincial Police are now "test driving" new computer software that will eliminate human error and help prevent traffic tickets from being thrown out of court.
Sgt. Cam Woolley of the OPP predicts that by the end of 2006, 330 police cruisers and 220 Ministry of Transportation vehicles will be using the new "e-ticketing" system.
How It Works
When a driver is pulled over, the police officer will simply scan the person's licence and enter the offence, and the system will automatically fill out the "electronic ticket" in the same way Pizza Pizza knows all about you when you order.
Cam Woolley says that a lot of drivers really get angry about being pulled over and delayed by having to wait for the officer to write out a ticket. He says the new "e-tickets" are so quick you'll be back on the road in no time, to be caught speeding again.
Pitfalls Of The Old System
Up until now, the "manual" system that police have used to issue tickets has left open the possibility that a good defence lawyer can get the ticket thrown out of court, on a technicality. For example, an officer might write down the wrong date or fine amount, or his writing may be illegible.
Plus, there's a chance that the ticket gets sent to the wrong court. Court clerks have to copy everything, sometimes making mistakes. The ticket goes through so many hands before it gets in front of a judge; there are several opportunities for things to go wrong.
The new "e-ticket" system reduces the opportunity for error at every level, and automatically sends the offence data to the right court.
Your Insurance Rates
Drivers are shocked when they learn that being ticketed for not having their driver's licence or insurance card with them carries as much weight as a speeding ticket when it comes to their insurance rate. So do seatbelt offences, driving in the "High Occupancy Vehicle" lanes (HOV), and so forth. To view the other types of tickets affecting your insurance rate, click here.
A single ticket can increase your insurance rate by up to $500. Two tickets can increase your rate by up to $1,500. Three tickets can cause your insurance company to cancel your policy. A combination of one accident and a couple of tickets causes the most severe increase in rates and cancellations. Here's a rate comparison put out by the Ontario government, showing the lowest to highest rates for 4 driver profiles, with rate differences of over $15,000.
Toronto Driver Profiles Lowest Highest 19 Years-Old, Clean Record $5,750 $15,551 Driver, 1 Ticket & Accident $2,051 $17,468 40 Year-Old, Clean Record $970 $4,641 70 Year-Old, Clean Record $970 $2,576
Most at-fault accidents automatically come with a ticket, meaning that if you had a minor traffic violation to begin with, suddenly you'll have one accident and two tickets on your record. This can send you into the high-risk market.
Insurance Rate Check
Don't be paying for other drivers' bad records and accidents. Make sure you're with the right insurance company. Fortunately, InsuranceHotline.com can do a quick rate comparison for all driving profiles and find you the lowest rate, by clicking here.
This new development in traffic ticketing technology means that bad drivers will have less wiggle room when trying to get out of their ticket, perhaps making them more cautious drivers. This is good news for drivers whose insurance rates have been going up as a result of the accidents that speeders can cause.
Most drivers are fearful that insurance companies check your drivers abstract every year on renewal. They don't. It would cost them considerable resources to do that. They will only check it if your file has been flagged for some reason, like moving, having an accident, or adding a new driver to your policy. To order your own driver's abstract, click here.
None of this means that you still shouldn't fight every driving ticket in court. Police are not the judge and jury. Regardless of demerit points, a ticket is a ticket. Even if you go to court and there's no fine associated with the ticket, you need to make sure that the judge drops the ticket entirely off your record. Otherwise the ticket will remain on your driving record and your rates will go up.
The Good News
This e-ticketing system provides the police with instant, real-time data on drivers about the location and type of collisions and offences. For example, if a certain kind of accident is happening regularly at a particular intersection, then the police will know about it instantly.