How a Medical Condition Can Impact Your Driver’s License

safe your licenseWhat is a Medical Driver License Suspension?

In Ontario, doctors are required by law to report anyone over 16 who they believe is not able to drive safely due to a medical condition. They file their report with the Ministry of Transportation, which may then request more information, or may suspend the license without need for further evidence. Some of the more common conditions that lead to a medical suspension include alcohol/drug abuse, epilepsy, diabetes, and major vision problems, among others. The timeline and necessary steps for getting a license reinstated depends on the severity and nature of the condition, and will require proof that the driver has taken these steps and can now drive safely.

What if I’m caught driving while under a medical suspension? Continue reading

The Need for Speed Will Cost You

Many drivers still have questions about the Demerit Point System in place in Ontario. So far, this series has taken a look at the application and categorization of demerit points. This fourth installment will hopefully magnify the topic of SPEED in regards to demerit points, charges and convictions.

In this installment, we will be looking specifically at speeding infractions and the controversial legislation that has been surrounding the charge of street racing and stunt driving in Ontario since 2007. Demerit points play a key role in the penalties of these charges however there are also much more immediate and serious consequences for excessive speeding in the province of Ontario. A more general overview of demerit point penalties was provided in our previous segments in this series. For more information on the demerit point system in Ontario click here.

Excessive speeding and street racing has been taking place ever since the creation of the automobile. The faster cars became, the faster their drivers wanted to go. Thrill-seekers, risk takers and even soccer moms running late seem to contribute heavily to the growing instance of speeding charges. Increasingly, the commercialization of speed and racing in particular has glorified a practice that has proven to be one of the most lethal causes of automobile/pedestrian deaths.

Currently, there are a few Ontario legislations cracking down on speeding, street racing, and stunt driving that have proven to be controversial and issues regarding legality, based on constitutional rights of Canadians, have been debated in the past years. Before we get into that, here is an overview of the potential penalties for these offenses.

Demerit Point Breakdown for Speeding

  • 3 points for exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 29 km/h
  • 4 points for exceeding the speed limit by 30 to 49 km/h
  • 6 points for exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/h or more

Exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/h is also the point at which a charge of STREET RACING and/or STUNT DRIVING may be applied at the police officers discretion.

What it Means if You Are Charged with Street Racing or Stunt Driving

  • On the spot, police shall issue a 7-day suspension of your driver’s license as well as have your car impounded for 7 days.
  • Following a conviction, you will be required to pay a fine of anywhere from $2,000 to a maximum of $10,000 (making it the highest penalty in Canada)
  • 6 demerit points
  • Potential sentence of up 6 months in jail
  • Once convicted, your driver’s license could be suspended for up to 2 years
  • If convicted a second time within 10 years of the first conviction, the courts can also impose a driver’s license suspension of up to 10 YEARS

So, Where’s the Controversy?
Although the issues have since been resolved by the Ontario Court of Appeal, the controversy previously surrounding these laws was mixed up in semantics and issues of constitutional rights. The working definition of stunt driving/street racing in Ontario is not limited to but includes driving a motor vehicle exceeding the speed limit by 50km/h or more. Although attaining such a ticket is not a guaranteed charge of stunt driving/street racing, Ontario police officers have the right to use their discretion as to whether or not to charge someone with the more serious offenses, regardless of intent to speed and/or race.

A stunt driving charge also includes a fine and aforementioned demerit points, as does the speeding charge. However, being accused of stunt driving results in the potential for incarceration making a stunt driving conviction a much more serious outcome than speeding. The ways in which stunt driving has been interpreted previously, meant that once the evidence had been presented (the speed that the car was going), it seemingly could not be defended. Under to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, citizens have the right to defend themselves and as such it was argued that these legislations effectively stripped these rights from those that had been charged. These legislations condemned the accused as being guilty before they could be proven innocent. However, supporters of the legislations argued that this law itself does not require proof as to whether or not there is any criminal intent when speeding.

The Good News
No one can deny that speeding is a recognizably risky habit and when taken to extremes (50 km/hr or more over the speed limit) can mean added demerit points, fines, loss of motor vehicle, suspension of driver’s license, and possible jail time but also increases traffic accidents and road fatalities. With that said, it is extremely important to attempt to fight such speeding charges. Review the cases of Jane Raham and Alexandra Drutz to see how A GOOD DEFENSE CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.

Demerit points may be the tip of the iceberg in these cases but they are still an important factor in keeping your driving record as clean as can be and to avoid having to surrender your license. Once grossing 15+ demerit points you will lose your license. It will be suspended and have to be surrendered. This will be the topic for our next post, the fifth in this demerit point series.

Sound Off – Make sure to leave a reply on any or all of these queries.
Do you think that the demerit points for speeding is reasonable? Should it be fewer? Should they be increased?

Do you think that intent to speed needs to be considered as a factor in these laws? Or is speeding, speeding and doing so regardless of intent should be a direct conviction?

Have you ever been charged with a speeding offense? How has having a good defense affected the outcome? Were the demerit points lessened or possibly removed altogether?

To view the different bills and legislatures associated with speeding, street racing, and/or stunt driving in full, please visit these links that we have compiled for you:

Highway Traffic Act

Legislative Assembly of Ontario
Bill 122 2006
An Act to enhance safety on Ontario’s roads and to empower police officers to shut down street racing

Bill 203 – Safer Roads for a Safer Ontario Act
This legislation targets both street racers as well as drinking drivers

Demerit Points in Ontario – Part 3

Part Three – Demerit Point Penalties In-Depth

Many drivers still have questions about the Demerit Point System in place in Ontario. This is the third in a series of articles that will explain the laws and how they work, and the various ways that Demerit Points can affect your driving record.

In this instalment we’ll be looking at the penalties for Demerit Point offences in more detail. As mentioned in part one (link), the Demerit Point system functions in a cumulative manner, with every driver beginning with zero points and a clean record. Points are then applied for offences under the Highway Traffic Act, the most serious of which are covered in our previous post (link).

Penalties for Demerit Points are applied when a driver reaches certain thresholds of accumulation, with stiffer penalties for higher totals. Below is a breakdown of the penalty escalation system in effect currently in Ontario:

  • 6-8 Points / 2-5 Points (New Drivers) – Drivers will receive a warning letter informing them that further points could result in an in-person interview to determine any further sanctions.
  • 9-14 Points / 6-8 Points (New Drivers) – After reaching this threshold, the Ministry of Transportation has the right to suspend a licence based on the outcome of a mandatory in-person interview. Failure to show up for the scheduled meeting could also result in a suspension.
  • 15+ Points / 9+ Points (New Drivers) – If at any time you reach 15 points or more, your licence will be automatically suspended for 30 days. New drivers reaching nine points and above are subject to double that amount, an automatic 60 day suspension.

As you can see, new drivers are given less leniency with regards to when penalties are subject to application. It should also be noted that the all of the above suspension and penalty information relates only to first time offenders. Accumulating subsequent points to warrant a second or further suspension will result in a mandatory six month suspension.

This brings us to the aforementioned mandatory meeting with the Ministry of Transportation for those drivers with more than nine points (or six points for New Drivers). This is the only subjective aspect of the Demerit Point Penalty system and requires the driver in question to provide details as to why they should be allowed to continue holding a valid licence. If a suspension is levied the driver will be notified by mail of the dates of the suspension. Failure to appear for the scheduled meeting can result in automatic suspension, while failure to surrender a licence which has been suspended can lead to an extension of the time the driver is under suspension.

When Are Demerit Points Are Applied?
Demerit points are only applied to an offender’s record at the time of conviction. This can occur with either a judgment at an in person hearing, or upon the payment, signature, and processing of the originally issued ticket. All drivers have the right to contest their ticket in front of a judge, with or without assistance from legal counsel.

How Long Do Demerit Points Remain On A Driving Record?
Once convicted of an offence, Demerit Points remain in effect on the driver’s licence until two years from the offence date (date they received the ticket). At the end of the two year period the demerit points will be removed from the current cumulative count, but the record of the offence will remain on your driving record.

Lastly, if multiple violations occur as part of a single incident, demerit points are only applied for the one most serious charge. For example, if a driver is involved in a situation in which they are charged and convicted with Exceeding the Speed Limit by 30-49km/h (4 points), Following Too Closely (4 points), and Careless Driving (6 points), the driver would only face the most serious penalty of those offences – six points – as opposed to the cumulative amount for each offence – in this case 14 points.

Our next look into Demerit Points will examine the special circumstances and legislation regarding Excessive Speeding and the charge of Street Racing in Ontario.

Click Here for a complete list of Demerit Point information from the Government of Ontario.

visit: To access the Highway Traffic Act, Click Here.

Click Here to view our introduction to Everything You Need To Know About Demerit Points series: The Basics. Click Here to view Part Two: The Most Serious Offences.