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Fight Your Ticket For Following Too Closely In Ontario
If you’ve received a ticket for following too closely in Ontario, you may not know much about the consequences. The penalties for a following too closely ticket include demerit points, a fine, a conviction on your driving record, and an increase in your insurance rates. But many novice drivers are surprised to discover that paying a follow too closely ticket can also result in a driver’s license suspension.
How many demerit points for following too closely?
A following too closely ticket is issued under the Highway Traffic Act section 158 (1). If you are convicted of following too closely, you will receive 4 demerit points from the Ministry of Transportation. If you are a novice driver with a G1 or G2 license, this will result in a license suspension or cancellation of your driver’s license under the MTO’s Escalating Sanctions rules. It is important to know how demerit points work before deciding how to proceed.
Insurance consequences of a Follow Too Closely ticket
The average person is not aware that a 4-point following too closely violation can be considered a major or serious violation on a person’s insurance record. If this happens, a significant increase could occur to an insurance premium. This impact will occur whether a driver is on a graduated license or not.
What driving behaviour results in a following too closely traffic ticket?
There are two common reasons that a police officer may issue a traffic ticket for following too closely. The first reason is when there is a motor vehicle accident where one driver hits another driver from behind. The second reason is when a police officer observes a driver following the vehicle ahead too closely. This is often referred to as “tailgating”. A driver could also be issued a ticket for following too closely if another driver reports observing certain driving behaviours, such as road rage, brake checking, or aggressive driving. It is important to know your rights and what options you have if you are charged with any traffic offence.
Is there a difference between a G class driver’s ticket and a commercial driver’s ticket?
The rules for commercial motor vehicle drivers are different than for G class drivers. There are specific distances that a commercial driver must keep between the vehicle ahead and their vehicle. A commercial driver found to be following the vehicle in front too closely will be issued a traffic ticket under the Highway Traffic Act section 158 (2). The words “commercial motor vehicle” will be written on the ticket as well, indicating that a commercial vehicle was involved in the incident. In addition to 4 demerit points, a commercial driver will also receive 5 CVOR points if convicted of the charge.
How to fight following too closely ticket
There are many defences available to drivers who are issued traffic tickets for following too closely. The most successful defences are usually discovered by drivers that seek legal representation for their following too closely charge. An experienced lawyer or paralegal can make legal arguments on your behalf, often without the need for you to step foot in a courtroom. Most drivers do not understand the complexities of fighting a traffic ticket and may attempt to fight it on their own. This can result in penalties, demerit points, license suspensions, and insurance rate increases that the driver could have avoided by seeking legal advice ahead of time. The experienced team at OTD Legal have enjoyed the highest success rate on this type of charge.
What is driving or following “too close”?
Many drivers have been taught that you should leave a certain amount of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. For example, it may be believed that leaving one car length between the motor vehicles is a reasonable distance. It is also commonly accepted that the space you should leave between two motor vehicles depends on the speed limit. While either of these scenarios could be safe, they could also both be dangerous, depending on the road conditions, weather, driver’s experience, the other traffic, and many additional factors. A safe distance is subjective, therefore there are mitigating and aggravating factors that need to be considered in each situation.
Understanding a Following Too Closely ticket in Ontario
A traffic ticket includes a lot of information. A ticket will have an offence date and ticket number at the top. Your personal information and the Act and section you are charged under will be found in the middle of the ticket. You will also notice that there is a set fine amount and a total payable amount on the bottom of your traffic ticket. The total payable includes the Victim Fine Surcharge, which is present on all Ontario traffic tickets. The total payable for following too closely is $110.00. The fine amount is the same for a commercial vehicle driver, however the subsection on the ticket will be different, as are the rules for how closely a commercial motor vehicle driver can follow the vehicle ahead.
Having a traffic ticket reduced in court to Following Too Closely
While Following Too Closely tickets are relatively common, it is more likely that police officers issue tickets for Careless Driving when an accident occurs. A driver charged with Careless Driving may decide to dispute their traffic ticket on their own. This may result in an unrepresented driver being coaxed by a court prosecutor into pleading guilty to following too closely instead. A person with little experience in court may think that this is a great deal. However, pleading guilty to Following Too Closely, along with an at-fault accident, will result in dramatically increased insurance rates.
Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act s. 158 (1) & (2) says:
Headway of motor vehicles, generally
- 158 (1) The driver of a motor vehicle or streetcar shall not follow another vehicle or streetcar more closely than is reasonable and prudent having due regard for the speed of the vehicle and the traffic on and the conditions of the highway. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 158 (1).
Headway for commercial motor vehicles
- 158 (2) The driver of a commercial motor vehicle when driving on a highway at a speed exceeding 60 kilometres per hour shall not follow within 60 metres of another motor vehicle, but this shall not be construed to prevent a commercial motor vehicle overtaking and passing another motor vehicle. R.S.O. 1990, c. H.8, s. 158 (2).
Contact OTD Legal Services for a free quote
If you have been charged with Follow Too Closely in Ontario, contact our office for a free, confidential consultation. You can complete an online request here, call us toll-free at 1-844-647-6869, or text a picture of your ticket to 226-240-2480. You don’t have to navigate the legal system alone! We are available to help drivers all over Ontario, including Kitchener, Cambridge, London, Georgetown, Blind River, Leamington, and Windsor.