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11 Essential Careless Driving Ontario Facts

You have been charged with Careless Driving in Ontario and you don’t know what to do next.

Not to worry, we have been there as well. We promise to take away any worry you have about this charge by the time you finish reading this article.

We are going to provide you with 11 essential facts that will touch on what the charge actually is, the penalties, insurance implications, and what your next steps should be.

Red Corvette crashed into a Chrysler Sebring

What is Careless Driving?

Careless driving is the act of operating a vehicle without due care or consideration for other drivers. As of September 1, 2018, there has been an update to the charge of Careless Driving in Ontario, and it has been divided into two versions.

1. Careless Driving NOT Causing Bodily Harm or Death

The definition as per the Highway Traffic Act:

    • 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.”

2. Careless Driving Causing Bodily Harm or Death

The definition as per the Highway Traffic Act:

  • 130 (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.

Careless Driving Ontario Penalty Careless Driving Ontario

Careless Driving is one of the most serious and commonly laid charges under the Highway Traffic Act. It also has some of the most severe penalties associated with it. The penalties associated with the two versions of Careless Driving Ontario are as follows:

Penalties For Careless Driving NOT Causing Bodily Harm or Death are:

Type of PenaltyDetails
Demerit Points6 Demerit Points
Fine$400.00 To A Maximum Of $2,000.00
Jail SentenceUp To Six (6) Months
Licence SuspensionPossible Two (2) Year Suspension
Novice Drivers Licence SuspensionAutomatic Suspension
InsuranceIncrease Or Cancellation Of Policy

Penalties For Careless Driving Causing Bodily Harm or Death are:

Type of PenaltyDetails
Demerit Points6 Demerit Points
Fine$2,000.00 To A Maximum Of $50,000.00
Jail SentenceUp To Two (2) Years
Licence SuspensionPossible Five (5) Year Suspension
Novice Drivers Licence SuspensionAutomatic Suspension
InsuranceIncrease Or Cancellation Of Policy

Careless Driving Demerit Points

If you are found guilty, you will be assessed a total of six (6) demerit points to your driver’s licence. The amount of demerit points stays the same whether you are charged with either Careless Driving not causing bodily harm or death or you are charged with Careless Driving causing bodily harm or death. If you are having trouble understanding how demerit points work, our article on The Demerit Point System explains it all in full detail.

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How Long Does Careless Driving Stay on Record In Ontario?:

A Careless Driving ticket in Ontario will stay on your driving record for a total of (3) three years from the conviction date. The conviction date is either the date in which you are found guilty in court or the date you choose to pay the ticket before court.


Careless Driving Ticket – Fine 

The fines for this charge vary depending on what version you have been charged with:

Careless Driving NOT Causing Bodily Harm or Death

  • Minimum Fine – $400.00
  • Maximum Fine – $2,000.00

Careless Driving Causing Bodily Harm or Death

  • Minimum Fine – $2,000.00
  • Maximum Fine – $50,000.00
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What Is Considered Careless Driving In Ontario?

Due to the fact Careless Driving Ontario is so vague, some common examples are as follows:

  • A motor vehicle collision.
  • Tailgating another vehicle while driving.
  • Passing another vehicle in an aggressive manner.
  • Failing to yield to pedestrians on a crosswalk.
  • Using your cell phone or portable navigation device while driving.
  • Performing a burnout.
  • Failing to yield to the right of way of another vehicle.
  • Eating or drinking while driving a vehicle.
  • Overtaking and forcing your way into a line of vehicles waiting to turn or exit.
  • Applying make-up while driving.

Is Careless Driving a Criminal Offence In Ontario? 

In short, NO. Although, the offence of Careless Driving permits a penalty of jail time, that does not make it a criminal offence. This is due to the fact you are being charged under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act and not the Criminal Code. So, you will not be given a criminal record if you are found guilty of either Careless Driving not causing bodily harm or death or Careless Driving causing bodily harm or death.

Careless Driving Ontario 2

If the police would like to proceed criminally with a traffic related offence, you would be charged with Dangerous Driving. Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle reads as follows under the Criminal Code:

“Operating a motor vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to the public, having regard to all the circumstances, including the nature, condition and use of the place at which the motor vehicle is being operated and the amount of traffic that at the time is or might reasonably be expected to be at that place”


Regular Ticket VS. SummonsCareless Driving Ontario

Beyond the two versions of Careless Driving Ontario, there are two versions of traffic tickets that you can receive.

1. You can receive a traffic ticket that has a set fine, which means that it is your choice if you wish to fight the ticket in court.

2. The second type of traffic ticket is one without a set fine; a court date is written on the ticket, you are required to attend court and answer to the charges against you. This type of ticket is better known as a summons.


Types of Careless Driving Tickets in Ontario

There are three types of Careless Driving Tickets that you can receive:

  • Careless Driving with an accident.
  • Careless Driving without an accident.
  • Careless Driving causing bodily harm or death.

In order to determine what version of Careless Driving you have been charged with, you will need to look at the section number on the ticket.

If you have been charged with Highway Traffic Act 130 (1), this means that you were charged with Careless Driving with an accident or Careless Driving without an accident.

If you have been charged with Highway Traffic Act 130 (3), this meanas that you were charged with Careless Driving Causing Bodily Harm or Death.

careless driving definition

While the definitions of Careless Driving are extremely broad, there is a reason for this. The charge was created with the intent of being used in almost any situation. For this reason, it is classified as an umbrella or default charge. This is why it is one of the most common charges under the Highway Traffic Act.

In hopes of further defining the charge, the Act now specifies what reasonable consideration means.
It reads as follows:

“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.”

While the intention was to define this charge in further detail, it has actually made it less specific. The definition uses the word “may”, which implies that something could potentially happen. This already broad charge, has now become more vague.


Impact Of Careless Driving On Your Insurance

Every insurance company treats a Careless Driving ticket in Ontario their own way. It is without a doubt that your insurance rates will rise if the Court of Law finds you guilty of this offence. Additionally, if you are younger there is a high probability that you will see a larger increase than others. It is also likely that this increase would continue for a period of 3 years while the traffic ticket is currently on your record.

Although you have been charged, that does not mean your insurance rates will go up right away. Depending on how regularly your insurance company checks your policy to see if you have received a traffic ticket, there is the possibility you might be able to avoid an increase for a small period of time or all together.

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How To Get A Careless Driving Ticket Dismissed In Ontario

Fight it! This is the only option you have if you want your ticket withdrawn or dismissed. Here are your six steps to follow:

1. Don’t plead guilty or pay the ticket.
2. Select option three on the ticket and take it to trial.
3. File your ticket with the court within 15 days.
4. Request the disclosure or officer’s notes.
5. Prepare for trial.
6. Attend your court date prepared and ready to fight your careless driving ticket.

Remember, you have the legal right to go to trial and view all the evidence against you. The courts must prove you committed this act beyond a reasonable doubt; if they don’t, that’s grounds for dismissal. The advantage of taking the matter to trial is that the ticket and demerit points do not go on your record during that period. Only if you are found guilty will the ticket and demerit points be added to your driving record.

Your best chance at getting the ticket withdrawn or dismissed would be hiring a legal representative and taking the matter to trial.


What You Should Do Next

Due to the severity of this charge, we would recommend that you speak to a legal representative to ensure you fully understand the impact this charge could have on your ability to drive. At Sturino Walker Legal, we offer a free consultation to answer any questions you may have about Careless Driving and what your next steps should be. Feel free to contact us today regarding your Careless Driving ticket in Ontario.

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    One Response(s) for “11 Essential Careless Driving Ontario Facts

  • Bhargav Patel says:

    Hello, I am charged with under the highway traffic act 130(3) and the opp have summoned me with the charge of careless driving causing death and bodily harm. I am looking for a good and promising legal adviser who could help me clear my record.

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