What are demerit points?
Demerit points in Ontario are in place to keep drivers obeying the rules of the road and practicing responsible driving. When a driver is guilty of a traffic conviction, they can receive both a fine and demerit points. The point system ranges from 2 points for minor convictions to 7 points for more serious convictions.
Drivers in Ontario want to avoid having demerit points added to their driver’s license. Not only do demerit points accumulate in your record when you receive a traffic ticket but they also have the ability to have your license suspended or revoked. Having a certain number of demerit points on your record can also affect your car insurance upon renewal.
How demerit points work
While the demerit point system in Ontario is quite straightforward, a common misconception among drivers is that you lose demerit points when you receive a traffic conviction. In fact, it’s the opposite.
As explained by Ontario.ca:
“You don’t ‘lose’ demerit points on your driving record. You start with zero points and gain points for being convicted of breaking certain traffic laws.
“If you collect enough demerit points, you can lose your driver’s license.”
Every driver in Ontario starts with zero demerit points when they get their license. It isn’t until you receive traffic tickets that you begin to accumulate points on your record. The more points you receive, the more serious the issue is on hand. The Highway Traffic Act provides further details on the demerit point system on the Government of Ontario website.
How do demerit points affect my insurance?
It isn’t the demerit points that impact your car insurance rates, it’s the traffic laws you break that will cause your insurance to increase. While your demerit points don’t impact your insurance directly, they definitely go hand in hand.
If you have a decent amount of demerit points, this means that you have received several traffic tickets. Insurance rates are directly affected by your driving record and insurance companies aren’t likely to favour those with a bad record. Those who practice responsible driving and keep a clean record are typically rewarded with lower premiums.
If you receive one or two demerit points for failing to signal or ignoring a stop sign, your insurance isn’t likely to change. It isn’t until you begin to accumulate many demerit points that you may be considered a higher risk. Generally speaking, the more points you have, the more likely your insurance rates will increase.
It’s important to keep an eye on your demerit points as if you collect enough points to be considered a high-risk driver, your insurance will be directly impacted. For example, if you receive the maximum number of demerit points (or more) and have your license suspended (or revoked), you may be put in the high-risk driver category. Insurance companies are extremely hesitant to offer coverage to high-risk drivers, and those that do will charge extremely high premiums.
How do you get demerit points & how many?
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation provide a list of all traffic offences that result in demerit points and how many.
7 Demerit Points
- Fleeing the scene of a collision
- Failing to stop when signaled by a police officer
6 Demerit Points
- Careless driving
- Driving 50 km/h or more above the speed limit
- Street racing
- Failing to stop for a school bus
4 Demerit Points
- Driving 30-49 km/h above the speed limit
3 Demerit Points
- Distracted driving with a mobile device
- Driving 16-29 km/h above the speed limit
- Driving the wrong way
- Driving on a closed road
- Slow driving
- Driving through or around a railway crossing barrier
- Ignoring stop signs, traffic lights or traffic control signs
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Disobeying a police officer
- Improper passing
- Improper use of HOV lanes
2 Demerit Points
- Improper right or left turns
- Any prohibited turns
- Failure to obey signs and stop at pedestrian crossings
- Failing to signal
- Going backwards on a highway
- Not wearing a seatbelt
- Passengers under 16 aren’t wearing seat belts
- Kids under 50lbs aren’t secured or in a car seat
How many demerit points do you get for speeding in Ontario?
Speeding in Ontario won’t only leave you with a fine and conviction on your record but you’ll also accumulate demerit points. The amount of demerit points you collect for speeding in Ontario will vary based on how fast you were driving. Simply put, the faster you drive above the limit, the more points you will receive.
- 6 demerit points : Going 50 km/h or more above the speed limit
- 4 demerit points : Going 30 to 49 km/h above the speed limit
- 3 demerit points : 16 to 29 km/h above the speed limit
Demerit points for speeding in Ontario won’t have a direct impact on your car insurance however receiving receiving traffic tickets on your driving record will. When car insurance companies see that you have a traffic conviction on your record, they are likely to respond by offering you a higher premium than if you were to have a clean record. Remember you can also get demerit points for slow driving! It is important that drivers follow speed limits at all times.
How many demerit points can I have?
When you reach a certain amount of demerit points, you may have your license suspended or taken away. The amount of points will depend on the type of license you have, whether you hold a G1, G2, or your full G license.
A G driver in Ontario can accumulate a maximum of 15 demerit points before having their license suspended.
2 to 8 points : You will get a warning letter
9 to 14 points : You may have your license suspended and need to go to an interview regarding your driving record. During this interview you will be asked to provide reasoning why your license shouldn’t be suspended. This meeting comes with a fee of $50.
15+ points : When you receive 15 points or more, your license will automatically be suspended for 30 days. Upon suspension, you’ll need to give up your license to a Service Ontario Centre, otherwise, you may have your license suspended for 2 years.
If your license has been suspended, once your time is up, it is possible that you’ll be required to pass another vision, written, and road test before getting your license back. When you get your license back, your demerit points will go down to 7 (you don’t get to start from scratch).
G1 or G2 Driver
The penalties for demerit points are different for new or young drivers. This doesn’t only include those with their G1 or G2 licenses, but also anyone who holds an M1, M2, M1-L or M2-L license.
2 to 5 points : You will receive a letter of warning from the Ministry of Transportation.
6 to 8 points : You may have your license suspended and you’ll have to attend the same interview to go over your driving record and explain why your license shouldn’t be suspended. The same $50 fee applies.
9+ points : Unlike G drivers, if you receive 9 points or more as a young or new driver, you will have your license suspended for 60 days. Similar to those with a G license, you will have to give up your license to any Service Ontario Centre and retake your driving tests before getting your license back. Upon renewal, you will be left with 4 demerit points. Should you receive any additional demerit points moving forward, you will be required to meet with the Ministry of Transportation.
How long do demerit points stay on your record?
The first question that most drivers ask when they receive demerit points is how long do they stay on your record? Demerit points will always stay on your record for two years from the date of offence. They will be cleared from your record once this time has passed.
How do Ontario drivers know how many demerit points they have?
If you’re a driver in Ontario and not sure how many demerit points you’ve accumulated, there are a couple of different ways that you can check.
- Walk into a Service Ontario Centre and ask for a copy of your driving record or driving abstract.
- You can check your demerit points online. By visiting the Service Ontario website, you can request a copy of your driver’s license or abstract and it will be emailed to you for a fee of $12 or $18 (depending on the record requested).
Where are demerit points shown?
When you receive a traffic ticket, demerit points aren’t actually stated on the ticket. Rather than being issued by a police officer, demerit points are distributed by the Ministry of Transportation either after you have paid the ticket or if you are found guilty in court.