Making sense of Ontario’s demerit point system
Think of demerit points like they’re your enemies - the more points you have, the worse your situation.
Demerit points are applied to your licence after a traffic conviction or after you’ve paid a ticket, and will remain on your record for 2 years. Collect enough points, and you could lose your driving privileges.
As a new driver, you start with 0 points (yay!)
This is what will happen if you accumulate points.
2 to 5 points:
Ontario thinks you are a risky driver and sends you a warning letter.
6 to 8 points:
Your licence could be suspended. You’ll likely be called upon to discuss your driving record at an official interview. You’ll need to provide them with some very good reasons that your licence should not be suspended.
9 or more points:
Your licence will automatically be suspended for 60 days.
You will get a letter from the Ministry of Transportation telling you the date your suspension starts and demanding that you surrender your licence.
Oh and if you ignore the letter, you can lose your licence for up to 2 years.
Don’t think you’re blame-free when driving outside Ontario. You can collect demerit points for offences in other Canadian provinces and territories, as well as in the American states of New York and Michigan.
How to collect demerit points (or what NOT to do)
7 points for:
- Failing to stay at the scene of a collision
- Failing to stop when signaled or asked by a police officer
6 points for:
- Rareless driving (includes distracted driving due to a mobile device)
- Racing (don’t even think about it)
- Exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/hour or more
- Failing to stop for a school bus (only a jerk wouldn’t stop)
4 points for:
- Exceeding the speed limit by 30-49 km/hour
- Following too closely
3 points for:
- Exceeding the speed limit by 16-29 km/hour
- Driving through or under a railway crossing barrier (are you crazy?!)
- Driving the wrong way on a divided road
- Driving on a closed road (what, you thought nobody would notice?)
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Failing to obey a stop sign, traffic control stop/slow sign or traffic light
- Failing to obey the directions of a police officer
- Failing to report a collision to a police officer
- Failing to slow and carefully pass a stopped emergency vehicle
- Failing to move, where possible, into another lane when passing a stopped emergency vehicle
- Improper passing
- Improper driving in lanes
- Improper use of a high occupancy vehicle lane (oh yeah, other drivers will report you!)
- Going the wrong way on a one-way street
- Crossing a divided road where no proper crossing is provided
- crowding the driver's seat (maybe find another way to bring your new ikea table home?!)
2 points for:
- Improper right or left turn
- Improper opening of a vehicle door (watch for bicyclists!)
- Prohibited turns, like onto a one-way street
- Towing people - on toboggans, bicycles, skis (don’t be pressured into doing this by bozo friends)
- Unnecessary slow driving (yes, driving too slow is also a problem)
- Backing on highway (just don’t)
- Failing to lower headlamp beams
- Failing to obey signs (duh)
- Failing to stop at a pedestrian crossing
- Failing to share the road
- Failing to signal
- Driver failing to wear a seat belt
- Driver failing to ensure infant/child passenger is properly secured in an appropriate booster seat
- Driver failing to ensure that a passenger less than 23 kg is properly secured
- Driver failing to ensure that a passenger under 16 years is wearing a seat belt