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What Are the Careless Driving Fines in Ontario?

Traffic Tickets
Jason Baxter

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It sounds like a relatively straightforward traffic ticket. But, there’s more than meets the eye where careless driving charges, and even careless driving fines, in Ontario, are concerned. (a concern)

So let’s start at the beginning.

What is Careless Driving?

According to the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, Section 130(1):
“Every person is guilty of the offence of driving carelessly who drives a vehicle or streetcar on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway.”

To get a better understanding, it helps to know that careless driving is not a criminal charge. But, it is a ticketable offence under the Highway Traffic Act as listed above. Criminal offences, including dangerous driving, are federal laws that are governed by the Criminal Code of Canada.

In practical terms, criminal offences involve the intent to commit the offence. For offences where only a traffic ticket is issued, there is usually no intent to commit the offence. Instead, drivers are considered to have made a mistake in their driving, versus deliberately breaking the law.

What Are the Penalties & Fines for Careless Driving in Ontario?

This is where things get a little complicated. As a Highway Traffic Act offence, standard careless driving fines are generally no more severe than other traffic tickets.

  • Fines of $490 to $2,000
  • Six demerit points
  • Potential six-month driver’s license suspension
  • Convictions for serious offences may get a jail sentence of up to six months

Additional Penalties to Consider

As with other traffic tickets and criminal charges related to driving, there are other penalties that a conviction can bring.

  • 100% increase in car insurance rates
  • Remains on your driving record for three years
  • Commercial drivers may lose their jobs

Ontario drivers who do not hold a full ‘G’ license, or novice drivers, also face a mandatory driver’s license suspension upon conviction of careless driving.

Penalties and Fines for Careless Driving Causing Bodily Harm

The laws surrounding careless driving are designed to get drivers to pay more attention when behind the wheel. When the carelessness of their driving involves bodily harm to a passenger, occupants of another vehicle, or pedestrians, the fines and penalties are significantly higher.

  • Fines of $2,000 to $50,000
  • Six demerit points
  • A jail sentence of up to two years
  • Driver’s license suspension of up to five years
  • 100% increase in car insurance rates
  • Mandatory driver’s license suspension for novice drivers of 30 days
  • Remains on your driving record for three years

Considering the serious consequences of a careless driving conviction, you owe it to yourself to defend yourself as best you can.  X-Copper’s experienced team of former police officers and top criminal defence lawyers and paralegals are ready to fight in your best interests.

To find out more about traffic ticket penalties, check out our article ‘How a Stunt Driving Conviction Affects Your Car Insurance Rates.




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