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ONTARIO CARELESS DRIVING TICKETS

Careless Driving offences fall under section 130 of the Highway Traffic Act, which states: “130 (1) Every person is guilty of the offence of driving carelessly who drives a vehicle or street car on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway. 2017, c. 26, Sched. 4, s. 17.” This simple and very broadly-worded legal definition is in stark contrast to the severity of penalties and consequences that come with a conviction for Careless Driving.
WHAT IS CARELESS DRIVING?
Careless Driving charges are arguably most common offence issued any time there is a collision or a vehicle goes off the roadway. This could be a simple matter of a vehicle sliding on an icy road and into the ditch with no injuries or damage. A Careless Driving offence could also be a commercial motor vehicle hitting multiple vehicles resulting multiple injuries. The wording of the law is so broad and generic, that a Careless Driving offence can be issued even when there is no collision at all.
HOW CAN I BE CHARGED AND WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES?
In Ontario, there are two ways that a Careless Driving offence can be issued. The first is by getting what most people would refer to as a ‘ticket.’ These are simpler matters that are prosecuted by a Municipal or MTO Prosecutor depending on whether you are a regular driver or a commercial motor vehicle driver. A ticket lists the basic information about the offence along with a fixed fine. The base set fine is $400 but comes out to a total of $490 once the victim fine surcharge and $5.00 court cost is added in. These charges also carry 6 demerit points. A conviction can also result in being placed on high-risk insurance. The second means of being charged is by way of a summons. These matters are prosecuted by a Provincial Crown Prosecutor or an MTO Prosecutor depending on whether or not the driver is a commercial motor vehicle driver. These cases generally go through more court appearances and carry much greater penalties. Beyond the above-mentioned demerit points and insurance costs, these cases carry a range of fine rather than a fixed fine. A simple Careless Driving offence carries a total-payable fine ranging between $490.00 and $2,500.00. Additionally, the court may issue a term of imprisonment up to 6 months and a suspension of driver’s licence up to two years. If the Careless Driving offence involved bodily harm or death, the total-payable fine can range between $2,500.00 and $62,500.00. Additionally, these cases can result in a term of imprisonment of up to two years and a suspension of driver’s licence up to 5 years.
Offence Total Fine Demerits Imprisonment Suspension*
Ticket $490 6 None None
Summons $490 to $2,500 6 Up to 6 months Up to 2 years
Summons with injury or death $2,500 to $62, 500 6 Up to 2 years Up to 5 years
*Court ordered suspension. A conviction may result in other suspension of your licence by the MTO.
COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE DRIVERS
Commercial motor vehicle drivers such as transport truck drivers can be hit especially hard by a Careless Driving charge. Given the size and weight of a transport truck along with the value of the vehicle and cargo, a collision can result in greater injuries and greater financial losses. In addition to the demerit points, fines, insurance costs, imprisonment, and suspension of driver’s licence that are at the court’s discretion, commercial motor vehicle drivers also have to worry about CVOR points. A conviction for Careless Driving can result in a 5 CVOR point penalty, termination of employment, and difficulty in finding new employment.
NOVICE DRIVERS
Novice drivers are drivers with a G1, G2, M1, or M2 licence. These licences are more fragile than a full licence. They allow for fewer demerit points to be accumulated before a warning, interview, or suspension is issued by the MTO. They are also subject to the following escalated sanctions penalties in the event of a conviction of an offence that carries 4 or more demerit points:
  • 30-day licence suspension for the first occurrence
  • 90-day licence suspension for the second occurrence
  • Licence cancellation and a requirement to re-apply for a G1/M1 after the third occurrence. Any fees paid, credit received for time spent in the program or BDE credit would be forfeited when the licence is cancelled. Please note that in the case of a hybrid driver, only the novice-class licence is cancelled on the third occasion; their full-class licence is maintained.
WHAT CAN I DO?
If you are charged with Careless Driving, it is important to immediately seek out the information upon which to make some very important decisions. A poorly thought out or rash decision can have serious, life-altering consequences for years into the future. A legal misstep in the early stages of your defence can be the difference between a conviction, reaching a resolution to a lesser offence, or having the charge withdrawn or dismissed entirely at court. Hiring a licenced paralegal to represent you at court will ensure that you are making informed decisions and avoiding legal missteps. It is also very possible that your matter will be resolved without the stress and anxiety of your having to attend court. Your paralegal is your legal voice, your legal advocate. They know the law and the court process and are there to fight for your best interests. They will provide you with legal advise throughout your case, ensuring that you are making informed decisions.
HOW DO I HIRE A PARALEGAL?
OTD Ticket Defenders Legal Services provides a no cost, no obligation initial consultation to understand the basic facts of your case and provide you with general information about your charge and the court process. You can either fill out a simple online request for assistance, contact our office via the toll-free telephone number 1‑844‑647‑6869, contact our office by email at info@otdlegal.ca, or text a copy of your ticket to 226-240-2480. Our friendly staff are here to help you.
I WANT TO READ THE HIGHWAY TRAFFIC ACT ON CARELESS DRIVING

The full text of the Highway Traffic Act regarding careless driving offences is as follows:

“Careless Driving

130 (1) Every person is guilty of the offence of driving carelessly who drives a vehicle or street car on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway. 2017, c. 26, Sched. 4, s. 17.

Penalty

(2) On conviction under subsection (1), a person 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 driver’s licence or permit may be suspended for a period of not more than two years. 2017, c. 26, Sched. 4, s. 17.

Careless driving causing bodily harm or death

(3) Every person is guilty of the offence of driving carelessly who drives a vehicle or street car on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway and who thereby causes bodily harm or death to any person. 2017, c. 26, Sched. 4, s. 17.

Penalty

(4) On conviction under subsection (3), a person 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. 2017, c. 26, Sched. 4, s. 17.

Deemed lack of reasonable consideration

(5) For the purposes of subsections (1) and (3), 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. 2017, c. 26, Sched. 4, s. 17.

Sentencing – aggravating factor

(6) A court that imposes a sentence for an offence under subsection (3) shall consider as an aggravating factor evidence that bodily harm or death was caused to a person who, in the circumstances of the offence, was vulnerable to a lack of due care and attention or reasonable consideration by a driver, including by virtue of the fact that the person was a pedestrian or cyclist. 2017, c. 26, Sched. 4, s. 17.”