According to Brian J. Lawrie, founder of Pointts, the answer should always be “yes”.
The founder of the traffic ticket agency obviously has a vested interest in people taking the charges to court, but he says anyone who receives a slip should be concerned about how it will affect their insurance rates.
“Insurance companies themselves have gone way overboard in their assessment of people’s risk,” Lawrie tells CityNews.ca. “They’re using this as an alternate way of boosting premiums.”
A ticket for just 1km over the limit will count against your insurance, if convicted, as a minor violation, he said.
Lawrie also claims municipalities are using traffic tickets as an alternative revenue source. During the Toronto Police job action last year where some officers refused to write out the slips, it was estimated the city lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“The municipalities now, they’re in a position where they get all the revenue and they’re responsible for running the courts,” he said. “Then the pressure is on to look at this as a revenue stream.”
While the O.P.P. and the Ministry of Transportation are currently the only agencies using the new e-ticketing technology, Toronto Police are planning to start using it as well.
Approximately 1 to 1.2 million traffic tickets are handed out every year in Ontario, Lawrie said.
Is It Really Worth Fighting Every Ticket?
Many traffic ticket services offer a free consultation, so it’s a good idea to visit a few and find out what your chances are of winning your fight in court.
How Long Does It Take?
Lawrie said the process could take anywhere from five to eight months, but it depends on the municipality and how busy the courts are at that time.
“Traffic court is high in volume and limited in time,” he added.
How Much Does It Cost?
Costs could range anywhere from $250 to $500, depending on the complexity of your case. Some services offer a flat rate if multiple trips to court are required.
“The municipalities will always make it easier to pay it,” Lawrie said. “But the trick is to at least find out what the ramifications are and then you’re able to make an educated decision of what you want to do.”
How Much Would My Insurance Go Up Because Of A Traffic Ticket?
“If somebody pays $2,000 for insurance … and they’re involved in a minor rear end collision and they’re charged with the offence of careless driving, their insurance will go from $2,000 to somewhere around $5,000 – $7,000,” Lawrie claims.
Here’s a look at the Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s demerit point system:
- Failing to remain at the scene of a collision
- Failing to stop when signaled/requested by a police officer
- Careless Driving
- Exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/h or more
- Failing to stop for a school bus
- Driver of a bus failing to stop at an unprotected railway crossing
- Exceeding the speed limit by 30 to 49 km/h
- Following too closely
- Exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 29 km/h
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Failing to obey the directions of a police officer
- Failing to report a collision to a police officer
- Crowding the driver’s seat
- Driving or operating a vehicle on a closed road
- Failing to slow and carefully pass a stopped emergency vehicle
- Improper passing
- Driving through, around or under a railway crossing barrier
- Failing to obey a stop sign, traffic light or railway crossing signal
- Driving the wrong way on a divided road
- Improper driving when road is divided into lanes
- Going the wrong way on a one-way road
- Crossing a divided road where no proper crossing is provided
- Failing to move, where possible, into another lane when passing a stopped emergency vehicle
- Improper opening of a vehicle door
- Towing people-on toboggans, bicycles, skis, etc.
- Failing to stop at a pedestrian crossing
- Improper right turn
- Failing to signal
- Reversing on a divided high-speed road
- Driver failing to ensure that a passenger less than 23 kg is properly secured
- Failing to lower headlamp beams
- Driver failing to ensure child passenger is properly secured in an appropriate child restraint system or booster seat
- Prohibited turns
- Failing to obey signs
- Failing to share the road
- Improper left turn
- Unnecessary slow driving
- Driver failing to wear a seat belt
- Driver failing to ensure that a passenger under 16 years is wearing a seat belt
- Backing on a highway
For more information on the province’s demerit point system, click here.