In the bustling streets of Toronto and across Ontario, speed cameras have become a common sight. As a driver, you might wonder, “Does a speed camera ticket affect insurance?” This article delves into this question, offering insights and facts to guide you through the implications of speed camera tickets on your auto insurance.
Understanding Speed Camera Tickets in Ontario
If you’ve noticed those towering gray boxes at street corners when walking or driving around, you’re probably observing a speed camera, part of Ontario’s Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) system. Across the city of Toronto, there are 75 speed cameras installed and running. It might not seem like a lot, but the devices have proven themselves to be very effective. In 2022, for example, they issued 21,362 tickets in just one month of December. In total, since their installation in 2020, the speeding cameras have issued more than 560,000 tickets in their first two years in operation. Speed cameras are strategically placed in high-risk areas like school zones and community safety zones, where drivers must exhibit extra caution.
The way they work is pretty simple. Once the camera identifies a vehicle exceeding the speed limit, it captures the following key details:
- The speed of the vehicle
- The vehicle’s license plate, along with its make and model
- The specific date and time of the incident
- The direction in which the vehicle was travelling
Subsequently, a provincial offences officer examines the photo and ticket. They then mail a copy of both the image and the ticket to the car’s registered owner. For this reason, keeping your address up to date on your license and car registration is crucial. One other important thing about the speed cameras: they don’t identify the driver.
Do Speed Camera Tickets Affect Insurance?
The answer is no. Since these cameras can’t identify the driver and the tickets are issued to the vehicle’s registered owner and not a specific driver, they don’t reflect on your driving record, and you won’t get any demerit points for them either. Consequently, they don’t affect your insurance premiums directly. While that’s a relief for many, it doesn’t mean getting a speed camera ticket has no repercussions.
Speed Camera Fines and Penalties in Ontario
While speed camera tickets don’t impact insurance rates, they do come with fines. The cost depends on how much over the speed limit you are travelling. According to Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, the fines and penalties are as follows:
|1-19 km/h over the speed limit
|$5.00 per km
|20-29 km/h over the speed limit
|$7.50 per km
|30-39 km/h over the speed limit
|$12.00 per km
|50km/h or more over the speed limit
Besides the ticket cost, you’ll also pay a $5.00 court fee and a victim fine surcharge, which is applied to certain fines in Ontario and is calculated based on the ticket’s value. In summary, the formula for how much you’ll have to pay is your ticket fine + victim surcharge fee + court fees.
Speed Camera and Regular Speeding Tickets: The Differences
It’s crucial to differentiate between speed camera tickets and those issued by police officers. Regular speeding tickets issued directly by a police officer impact your driving record as well as your insurance rates. They can also include demerit points, unlike speed camera tickets. If you’re curious to see which car models get speed tickets most often, we have conducted a study with all the most interesting statistics and facts.
What to Do if You’ve Received a Speed Camera Ticket
Typically, you have three choices to consider within 15 days:
- Pay the fine.
- Request a trial to plead not guilty.
- Request a trial to plead guilty with a plea for extended payment time.
What Happens If You Don’t Pay?
Ignoring a speed camera ticket isn’t wise. Unpaid fines will be added to your vehicle license, meaning you’ll need to clear them during your plate renewal. Not complying could result in legal issues and the loss of legal driving privileges in Ontario.
Can You Contest a Speed Camera Ticket?
Yes, you can challenge a speed camera ticket in court. However, considering they don’t affect demerit points or your driving record, the effort and potential legal costs might outweigh the benefits.
The Bottom Line
Speed camera tickets, while annoying and financially burdensome, don’t impact your insurance premiums in Ontario. This is a significant distinction from regular speeding tickets issued by police officers. The best way to avoid any ticket and ensure safety is to adhere to speed limits, especially in designated high-risk areas.