There’s only one thing worse than getting pulled over by a police officer and being charged for a traffic infraction: getting two tickets at the same time.
For example, if you are pulled over for running a red light, and in addition to being charged for that violation, the officer also charges you for not wearing a seatbelt. How does that affect your auto insurance premium? If you admit guilt and pay the fines, does it count as one conviction or two?
When you receive a ticket for a traffic violation, you have three options:
- Plead guilty and pay the fine
- Plead guilty and make submissions to the court concerning the penalty such as requesting to have the amount of the fine reduced or increasing the time to pay it
- Plead not guilty and request a trial
If you choose to plead guilty and pay the fines, that means you have been convicted of the offences, and in this scenario, it will count as two separate convictions on your driving record. The same is true if you plead guilty and ask the court to reduce the amount of the fine. It is still recorded as two convictions on your driving record.
If you plead not guilty and request a trial, you have the opportunity to defend yourself in court. However, if you hope to get one or both of the charges dismissed by a judge or justice of the peace, be prepared to offer compelling and convincing reasons for challenging the charges. It is possible the Crown Attorney will be open minded to a plea deal. For instance, you may be able to get one of the two charges dropped. However, that still leaves you with one conviction that may affect your auto rate, plus you will have a fine to pay.
How much your car insurance premium may rise as a result of two convictions can vary between insurers, and it depends on what those convictions are. Traffic convictions stay on your driving record for three years.
How Much Does a Fine for Failing to Wear a Seatbelt Cost?
In Ontario, failing to wear a seatbelt will cost you $200, and you will receive two demerit points on your driving record. In Alberta, the cost of a seatbelt infraction is a fine of $115.
Moreover, if anyone under the age of 16 is travelling with you and not wearing a seatbelt while you are driving, it is you who will be charged, not the youth. On that note, child car and booster seats are your child’s best protection when in a vehicle. When installed and used properly, child car seats and booster seats can help reduce the risk of a child being injured or killed in a collision.
How Much Does a Running a Red Light Ticket Cost?
In Ontario, the fine for running a red light or failing to stop for a red light is $325 and three demerit points if you are charged by a police officer. In Alberta, running a red light will cost you $388 and three demerit points. If convicted of this infraction, it will show on your driving history and can impact your car insurance rate.
What If I Get a Red Light Camera Ticket?
If you are issued a ticket for running a red light by way of a red light camera at an intersection, things are a little different.
Whether you are in Ontario or Alberta, it is the registered licence plate holder who receives the ticket, regardless of who was driving the vehicle at the time. But no demerit points are issued as a result of a red light camera ticket. Also, there is no car insurance impact if you get a red light camera ticket, and the infraction will not show on your driving record.
Will Demerit Points Influence My Car Insurance Premium?
In general, the number of demerit points you have will not affect your car insurance rate, but the number and severity of the tickets you accumulate will.
Many factors go into calculating your insurance premium. These include how long you've been driving, where you live, your age, and the make of your vehicle. But driving history counts too. The better your record, the lower your premium.
Your best defence against an increase in your auto rate is to obey all traffic laws, drive defensively, and avoid racking up traffic convictions of any kind.