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What Happens When You Get a Ticket in Another Province?

Confused about what happens when you get a ticket out of province? We'll let you know the 411.

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by Team Onlia

Getting a traffic ticket can be a reality check, but if you're travelling in another province, it can just lead to confusion. What happens when you get an out of province ticket, and what does it mean for your driving record? With so many Canadians exploring the country, we read up on the Highway Traffic Act to answer these very questions. 

Out of province driving tickets  

For travellers, getting a traffic ticket outside your home province is a not-so-nice souvenir for your return. Ontario's Ministry of Transportation reminds drivers that any out-of-province convictions (or even in some American states, like New York and Michigan) may translate into demerit points on your driving record, just as if the offence happened in Ontario. Most Canadian provinces have reciprocal agreements in place, recognizing cross-border infractions just as though they’d happened at home.

And we aren't just talking about speeding tickets – these traffic offences can all add to your demerit points: 

  • Failure to obey stop signs or signal lights
  • Failure to stop for a school bus
  • Failure to remain at the scene of a collision
  • Careless driving 

Criminal offences also fall under the out-of-province rule, with vehicular manslaughter, criminal negligence, dangerous driving, failure to remain, impaired driving, or driving while prohibited, all translating into Ontario demerit points.

Do the crime, pay the fine

If you're pulled over, treat it as a routine traffic stop, providing your licence and registration. Take note of any tickets issued, as they may have serious consequences when you return home. Offences and their corresponding demerit points will be shared with your province of residence; this means that your Ontario licence will reflect that speedy moment in Quebec or the blown stop sign in Alberta all the same.  

Don’t delay when it comes to paying fines, or you may risk the wrath of a collections agency or even a CRA deduction from tax refunds. While an unpaid ticket from another province won't impact your ability to renew your registration or licence at home, you could be pulled over and even detained when you return to the province where you initially committed the offence. If you want to dispute the ticket, it will require attending a court date in the jurisdiction that issued the ticket. For those that were just passing through, travelling back for court may end up being more costly than paying the original fine.

Frequent violations on your driver’s licence add up over time, with different offences worth more demerit points. Add in out-of-province penalties, and your infractions may have some surprising consequences. Demerit points aren’t just an inconvenience – rack up too many and you risk a licence suspension or complete cancellation.

Prep for travel

Whether you are packing up for a road trip or travelling across provincial borders for work, research local driving laws. Speed limits or red light turn legislation may vary across jurisdictions, and it’s your responsibility as a driver to know the rules of the road you’re driving on..

If you’re travelling to the United States, familiarize yourself with the conversion from kilometres to miles per hour. Your speedometer will have both measurements, and if your display is digital, you may be able to switch it to reflect the local units of speed. Try as you might, claiming ignorance about metric to imperial measurement conversions won’t be a valid defence. Better to avoid the whole issue by driving by the rules and obeying the speed limit.

Have a safe journey

Driving safely within the limits of the road is up to the driver. If you are unclear, check with local authorities, search online for answers, or, if you're nervous, opt to take other modes of transport. Traffic tickets can be the ultimate road trip buzzkill, and not the type of memory you want to make. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

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