Driving Infractions, Tickets and Penalties

By InsuranceHotline.com Team
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The penalty you incur for a driving infraction depends on the type of traffic ticket you receive. Tickets are typically divided into three classifications: minor, major and serious convictions, which include criminal acts. All ticket classifications, regardless of the fine or possible demerit points, can affect your insurance rate. Read more to learn about the types of tickets and their respective ramifications.


Tickets issued under the Highway Traffic Act, Insurance Act or Criminal Code appear on your driver's abstract and can affect your car insurance rate. Do you understand how a driving ticket will affect your record? Our insurance expert Anne Marie has all the answers. Watch #AskAnneMarie below.

Minor, Major and Serious Convictions:

The following is list of some of the most common types of minor, major, serious, and criminal convictions that will likely affect your driving record and your insurance rate.

Minor Tickets

  • Crowding vehicle with more people than seatbelts
  • Defective brakes
  • Driver's licence violations
  • Driving with an insecure load
  • Driving without an up-to-date inspection sticker
  • Failing to share the road
  • Failing to signal
  • Failure to use seatbelts
  • Failing to yield to another vehicle or pedestrian
  • Failure to surrender your licence to authority
  • Failure to produce evidence of insurance to authority
  • Failure to carry an insurance card
  • Following too closely
  • Headlight offences
  • Improper driving in a bus lane
  • Improper opening of door
  • Improper passing, lane change or turn
  • Improper railway crossing
  • Improper towing
  • Improper use of divided highway
  • Obstruction of licence plate
  • Obstructing the view of other drivers
  • Obstructing traffic
  • Overloading
  • Speeding
  • Stop sign or traffic light infraction
  • Unnecessary noise
  • Unnecessary slow driving
  • Unsafe move
  • Unsafe or prohibited turn
  • Unsafe vehicle
  • Use of radar warning device
  • Wrong Way On One Way

Major Tickets

  • All insurance offences
  • False statement of insurance
  • Failure to follow restrictions in a school zone or improper passing zone
  • Failing to report an accident
  • Failure to report damage to highway property
  • Failing to stop or improper passing at a school bus
  • Operating motor vehicle with no insurance
  • Producing false evidence of licence or insurance
  • Speeding in a construction zone

Serious & Criminal Tickets

  • Driving impaired (blood alcohol level over 0.08 in Ontario)
  • Careless or dangerous driving
  • Criminal negligence
  • Driving while under suspension
  • Failing to obey police
  • Failing to remain at an accident scene
  • Motor manslaughter
  • Racing
  • Speeding 50 km over posted speed limit (or set limit in your province)
  • Refusing a breathalyzer test
  • Stunting / Drag racing

Your driver's abstract

A traffic ticket will affect your driver's abstract. A driver's abstract is a document issued by your province's Ministry of Transportation that reports on the status of your licence. It states the type of licence you have, the date you were first licensed, your renewal date, as well as any tickets, convictions, suspensions, or reinstatements you've received over the last three years.

For a small fee, usually around $10, you can get your driver's abstract from the Ministry of Transportation office in your province. For Ontario auto insurance purposes, Ontario drivers can get their driver's abstract here.

Demerit points

Demerit points determine if a driver's licence can be renewed or if the driver needs to be re-tested. Drivers begin with zero demerit points and accumulate points with certain convictions. Demerit points stay on your record for two years from the offence date and too many points can cause your province's Ministry of Transportation to suspend your licence. For example, here's how demerit points work in Ontario if you receive a speeding ticket:

Demerit points for a speeding ticket

  • 16 to 29 km over the limit = 3 points
  • 30 to 49 km over the limit = 4 points
  • 50+ km over the limit = 6 points

To see how many demerit points you’ll get for speeding you’ll get in Alberta, click here, and for Quebec, click here.

The repercussions of demerit points

On the insurance side of things, demerit points usually have no bearing on your premium. To your insurance company, a ticket is a ticket, whether or not it has demerit points, and it will likely affect your insurance rate. However, in terms of your licence, the more convictions you receive, the more demerit points you'll accumulate, and the worse the penalty. Eventually, if you accumulate enough demerit points—no matter what province you live in—you could end up with a licence suspension. The following is what will happen when you accumulate demerit points in Ontario:

  • At two to eight demerit points, you will be sent a warning letter.
  • At nine points, you may have to go to an interview with an MTO official to discuss your record and defend yourself, explaining why your licence should not be suspended. If you don't attend or if you don't provide good reasoning, your licence may be suspended. A licence suspension can severely affect your insurance rate.
  • At 15 or more points, your licence will be suspended for 30 days from the date you surrender it to authority. You can lose your licence for up to two years if you fail to surrender your licence.
  • After the suspension, you may be required to complete a driver examination again (vision, written and road tests). The number of points on your record will be reduced to seven. If you reach 15 points again, your licence will suspended for six months.

What about parking tickets?

Parking tickets do not appear on your driver's abstract and do not affect your driver's licence or insurance record. The only consequence of not paying a parking ticket is that your licence plate will not be renewed. In other words, you will not be able to get your renewal "sticker" unless you pay your parking tickets.

There's no way to assume exactly how driving infractions, traffic tickets, or any penalty will affect your car insurance premium. Car insurance rates can vary from company to company by hundreds or even thousands of dollars. The easiest way to find which insurance companies offer the best price is to compare rates for free on InsuranceHotline.com.