Learn about demerit points
Application of demerit points:
The number of points added depends on the nature of the offense. For example:
7 demerit points result from a conviction of:
- failing to stay at the scene of a collision
- failing to stop when requested by a police officer
6 demerit points result from a conviction of:
- careless driving
- street racing
- exceeding the speed limit by 50 km/hour or more
- failing to stop for a school bus that is letting passengers on or off
5 demerit points result from a conviction of:
- failing to stop to check for trains at an unprotected railway crossing (this applies to bus drivers only)
4 demerit points result from a conviction of:
- exceeding the posted speed limit by 30 to 49 km/hour
- following another vehicle too closely
3 demerit points result from a conviction of:
- holding or using a hand-held wireless communications or entertainment device while driving
- operating a vehicle while looking at a display screen unrelated to the task of driving
- exceeding the speed limit by 16 to 29 km/hour
- driving past a lowered railway crossing barrier
- driving in the wrong direction on a divided road
- driving or otherwise using a vehicle on a closed road
- failing to yield the right-of-way to another vehicle
- failing to obey the directions of a stop sign, traffic control stop/slow sign, traffic light or railway crossing signal
- failing to obey a police officer’s directions
- failing to make a police report of a collision
- failing to slow down and pass carefully if a stopped emergency vehicle or a tow truck has its amber lights flashing
- failing to give, where possible, an extra lane’s space when passing a stopped emergency vehicle or a tow truck with its amber lights flashing
- passing improperly
- driving improperly on a road with lane with lane divisions
- improperly using a high occupancy vehicle lane
- driving in the wrong direction on a one-way road
- crossing a divided road at a spot where no proper crossing is available
- crowding the driver’s seat
2 demerit points result from a conviction of:
- an improper execution of a right turn
- an improper execution of a left turn
- an improper opening of a vehicle door
- making prohibited turns
- towing people behind a vehicle on toboggans, bicycles, skis
- driving unnecessarily slowly
- backing up on highway
- failing to lower headlamp beams when a vehicle is approaching
- failing to obey street signs
- failing to stop for a pedestrian at a crossing
- failing to share the road with other road users
- failing to signal your intentions
- driver failing to wear a seat belt
- driver failing to ensure infant/ child passenger is properly secured in the correct and appropriate child restraint system or booster seat
- driver failing to ensure that any passenger weighing under 23 kg is properly secured
- driver failing to ensure that any passenger under 16 years old is wearing a seat belt
Penalties for accruing demerit points
The consequences for accumulating demerit points depend on the number listed on your driving record.
With a full license, if you have:
2 to 8 points:
You will receive a warning letter notifying you of issues with your driving skills and behaviour.
9 to 14 points:
You will receive a second warning letter indicating an urgent need for an improvement in your driving skills and behaviour.
Your license will be suspended for 30 days.
When that happens, you will receive a letter from the Ministry of Transportation informing you of the date your suspension takes effect and instructing you to surrender your license on that date.
If you fail to follow the instructions, your license can be suspended for up to two years.
Penalties for accumulating demerit points for new drivers
The term “new driver” refers to anyone with a G1, G2, M1, M2, M1-L or M2-L licence. New drivers face more severe consequences for adding demerit points than more experienced drivers do.
As a new driver, if you have:
2 to 5 points:
You will receive a warning letter.
6 to 8 points:
You will receive a second warning letter urging you to improve your driving skills and behaviour.
9 or more points:
Your licence will be suspended for 60 days.
At that point, you will receive a letter from the Ministry of Transportation giving you the date your suspension takes effect and instructing you to surrender your license.
If you fail to surrender your license, you can lose driving privileges for up to two years.
Escalating Penalties for Novice Drivers
Under Ontario’s escalating penalties program, novice drivers who have received demerit points for committing an offence may also receive a licence suspension or cancellation.
Violating the laws of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act results in penalties for all drivers, regardless of experience. In addition, novice drivers can receive “escalating” penalties for breaking certain laws. These consequences become more severe with each similar offense.
Cases where escalating penalties apply include:
- a conviction for breaking graduated licensing rules
- a conviction for a Highway Traffic Act offense with a penalty of four or more demerit points (e.g., street racing, careless driving)
- a court-ordered suspension for a Highway Traffic Act offense normally resulting in four or more demerit points
For a first offence: license suspension for 30 days.
For a second offence: license suspension for 90 days.
For a third offence: loss of your novice license. If this happens, you will need to start the process from the beginning, taking all tests and paying all fees. In addition, you will lose all earned time discount, any credited time, and any fees you have paid.
Two ways to surrender your license:
- in person at a Service Ontario Centre
- by mail:
Ministry of Transportation
Driver Control Section
77 Wellesley Street West, Box 671
Suspended licenses will not be accepted at DriveTest centres.
At the completion of your suspension:
You may be required to take your vision, written and road tests again. On a successful completion of these tests:
- your driver’s license will be reinstated
- the number of demerit points on your record will be reduced to 7 for full license holders and 4 for novice license holders
These demerit points will remain on your licence for two subsequent years and any new points could result in another interview regarding your driving habits.
Accumulating an excessive number of points a second time will result in a six-month license suspension.
Out-of-province demerit points
Convictions for a driving offence in another Canadian province, the State of New York or Michigan results in demerit points being added to your driving record in the same way as if the offence happened in Ontario.
Traffic offences outside Ontario resulting in demerit points:
- failing to obey a stop sign
- failing to obey a signal light
- failing to stop for a school bus with its lights flashing
- street racing
- failing to remain at or return to the scene of a collision
- driving carelessly
Criminal offences committed outside Ontario resulting in a suspension:
- vehicular manslaughter
- criminal negligence
- dangerous driving
- failing to remain at the scene of a collision
- driving while impaired
- driving while disqualified or prohibited