Will a Texting Ticket Affect My Auto Insurance Rates?

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Driving and using the phone to text is a lethal combination that could distract you enough to cause a collision. It is illegal to use your phone or any handheld device while driving in many Canadian provinces including Ontario. If you are caught driving distracted then you may pay a heavy fine and be charged for dangerous driving. It is not just texting on your phone but checking playlist or maps while driving may count as distracted driving.

Will A Cell Phone Ticket Affect My Insurance In Ontario?

When you are caught and penalized for distracted driving then your insurance company will be not happy about it. This will warn them that you are a careless driver and therefore could prove to be a high-risk customer. Then you may see a dramatic increase in your premiums in the range of 10% or up to even 20%. For example, if you are paying an annual car insurance premium of $1000 then you may see an increase of $100 to $200.  In addition, if you are convicted for other traffic infractions too many times then they may review your coverage and even deny renewal. If you cause a collision while driving and texting then your insurer may increase your premiums by almost 50%. An at-fault accident on your driving record could raise your rates by even 100%.

Is A Texting Ticket A Moving Violation?

Yes, the ticket you get when you are caught driving while texting on the phone is a moving violation. Driving infractions such as distracted driving come under moving violations and this includes texting on the phone too. In Ontario when you are caught using the phone while driving it is a moving violation and you get 3 demerit points on your conviction.

Does A Texting Ticket Go On Your Record

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If you are convicted of distracted driving then you may get 3 demerit points that are added to your driver record. A novice driver does not get demerit points for distracted driving, however, their license is suspended. In case a novice driver breaks the distracted driving law and injures others then they may face charges. Under Highway Traffic Act they may get charges for careless driving and under Criminal Code of Canada, they may get charge you for dangerous driving.

When a novice driver gets such a conviction then their driving license is suspended for 30 days for the first offense. A second offense may suspend their driver license for 90 days. The third offense may suspend the license and eliminate from the GLS (Graduated Licensing System). An at-fault collision due to distracted driving may have a drastic effect on your record.

What Is The Fine For Texting While Driving In Ontario?

The fine that you have to pay when you are caught driving and texting would be $400 and a victim surcharge fee plus court fee. You may pay up a total of $490 for an out of court settlement. However, if you decide to fight your distracted driving ticket in court or get a summons then you may pay fine of even $1000.

How To Fight A Cell Phone Or Distracted Driving Ticket In Ontario?

If you decide to fight a ticket you got for distracted driving then you may follow the below steps.

  • As per the municipality, you got the ticket in, you have a choice of either a trial request by mail or in person.  Remember to keep a copy of your ticket before mailing it out.
  • To choose the mailing option for a trial request you may fill out the back portion of your ticket. It also has details on how to ask for a trial. You may fill out your address, name and contact number.
  • In case your ticket had no mailing options then you may decide to go to court. Then you may submit your request to fight the ticket in person. You fill out similar information as above.
  • The provincial offenses office listed at the back of your traffic ticket must receive your request for trial in 15 days. There is not a lot of time to decide whether you wish to fight the ticket. In fact, if you choose to fight you get an extra 4 to 14 months for your case to go on trial.
  • You may represent yourself in court if you are confident. It will help to know the intricacies of the HTA rules and procedures relevant to your case.

In Ontario when you hire a paralegal to fight your traffic ticket they may charge around $250 at least. This could be even more costly than your traffic ticket.


Resources:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/distracted-driving

https://www.ontario.ca/page/understanding-demerit-points


 

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