If you live in Ontario, you’ve probably seen signs for community safety zones while driving through residential areas with schools nearby.
Community safety zones were legislated under the Highway Traffic Act (HTA) in 2012 to protect children walking and biking to school. Zones are marked at the beginning and endpoints using road signs and are typically installed in school areas. While rules of the road don’t change in community safety zones, the consequences for traffic violations are significantly increased.
How are traffic fines different in community safety zones?
All fines received while driving in a community safety zone, including road sign violations, speeding tickets, and other contraventions, are doubled.
So, if your speeding ticket would normally be $40, it would cost you $80 if you’re speeding in a community safety zone.
How do traffic fines in community safety zones impact your insurance rate?
According to Anne Marie Thomas, director of consumer and industry relations at the Insurance Bureau of Canada, fines incurred in a community safety zone don’t affect your car insurance rate differently than fines you incur elsewhere. Both will result in an equal increase in your insurance rate and remain on your driving record for the same amount of time — the only difference is the cost of the fine.
No matter where you receive a traffic ticket, fines are recorded on your driving record and that alone will subsequently affect your insurance rate. By how much and for how long depends on the nature of the violation and the number of violations you’ve acquired.
How long will a traffic violation impact your insurance rate?
In terms of how long fines will continue to affect your insurance rate, Thomas says that it all depends on the severity of the violation. But generally speaking, minor and major traffic convictions can impact your insurance rate for up to three years.
Because different insurance providers have different surcharges for certain fines, it’s in your best interest to compare car insurance rates regularly so that you are getting the lowest premium for your circumstances. Once the ticket clears from your record, it’s a good idea to compare rates then, too.
When it comes to community safety zones and insurance, Thomas advises people to “take your foot off the gas.”
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