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Ontario Careless Driving - New Penalties

Posted: January 24, 2018
By: Ron Harper

Careless Driving charges in Ontario are about to result in potentially increased penalties in cases where bodily harm or death has occurred.  Careless Driving offences have long been the go to charge for police to issue in cases of collision in Ontario.  These charges can be issued anywhere from single vehicle collisions with no injury or damage, up to multiple vehicle collisions with injuries or even fatalities.  Collisions can happen unexpectedly in an instant.  Collisions happen every day for Ontario drivers.  This charge could end up directly impacting you in the future.

Originally section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act defined the penalties for a conviction of Careless Driving as follows:

"is liable to a fine of not less than $400 and not more than $2,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both, and in addition his or her licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than two years."

It is important to keep in mind the fine issued by the court is also subject to a 25% victim fine surcharge.  Careless Driving also results in 6 demerit points and generally means going onto high-risk insurance.

The new penalties to be applied in cases where there has been bodily harm or death are:

"is liable to a fine of not less than $2,000 and not more than $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years, or to both, and in addition his or her driver’s licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than five years."

This is a very significant increase that could result in a total payable fine ranging between $2,500.00 to $62,500.00.  The potential imprisonment moves from a maximum of 6 months up to 2 years.  Potential suspension of driver's licence moves from a maximum of two years to a new maximum of five years.  Keep in mind that even minor collisions can result in bodily injury.

One of the other important changes to this section of law is the definition of Careless Driving:

"a person is deemed to drive without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway if he or she drives in a manner that may limit his or her ability to prudently adjust to changing circumstances on the highway."

The concern here is that this condition states "may limit."  This doesn't necessarily mean that the manner of driving actually did limit their ability to prudently adjust to changing circumstances on the highway.  Simply that it may have done so.  This could potentially have a huge impact against Ontario defendants facing these charges.  

No one expects to be in an accident.  No one expects to be charged with an offence like Careless Driving.  However, if you do find yourself in this position it is important that you understand the penalties that you are facing and your legal rights in protecting your financial, licencing, and insurance interests. We offer a no-cost, no-obligation consultation to help provide the basic information that you will need to make an informed decision on how to proceed in your matter.

Our staff can be reached via the toll-free number 1-844-647-6869 or info@otdlegal.ca and will be happy to assist you.

Posted under Careless Driving, Professional Truck Drivers, Traffic Ticket Defence