Speed camera tickets in Ontario: What impact do they have?

You're running late for work in the morning and while you're rushing through traffic, you unknowingly pass by a new speed camera. A week passes and while you forgot about that particular incident, you get a ticket in the mail that serves as your reminder. You start worrying about all the implications of getting this ticket and immediately regret rushing that morning. Although getting a speed camera ticket is far from ideal, it’s different than getting a regular speeding ticket. We'll go through all the details about speed cameras and how they can impact you should you get a ticket.

What are speed cameras and how are they used?

Well, first things first, if you've seen those tall grey boxes on the street corner, you're likely looking at a speed camera. These speed cameras are strategically placed around schools and community safety zones as a way to have constant monitoring around high foot traffic, low speed limit areas. Remember: driving around schools and buses requires extra caution, regardless of if you're running late. Speeding is against the law and safe driving should always be practiced.

For those that don't follow the rules and go past the designated speed limit in certain areas, the speed camera – otherwise known as an automated speed enforcement (ASE) camera – is able to take a photo of the car in the act. That photo will capture a couple things like the date and time, the car make and model, the license plate number, and most importantly, the speed the driver was going. From there, the image and ticket gets reviewed by a provincial offences officer and a copy of the enlarged image and ticket is sent to the registered owner of the car via mail.1

What are the financial penalties of speed camera tickets?

The main penalty is the fine when a ticket gets issued to you. And if you're wondering how a speed camera determines the fine in the first place, let's consider what makes up the final ticket cost:

  1. The actual ticket fine – this is determined by how many kilometers you were going past the speed limit. For specific fines, check your regional guidelines.
  2. The victim surcharge fee – this amount will vary depending on the amount of your actual ticket fine. It serves as an additional fee that is regulated by the provincial government and is added to all provincial offenses (except for parking tickets). That money is then directed to the victims' justice fund account2 which is used to support programs and provide services to victims of criminal code offenses.3
  3. There is also a court fee4 that applies to all tickets and is set by provincial regulation.5

Here's the overall formula:
the actual ticket fine + victim surcharge fee + court fees = the fine that you'll be required to pay.6

Will a speed camera ticket affect my insurance?

Although speed camera tickets have no direct impact on your insurance,7 it's not a reason to drive recklessly. It's crucial to stay safe on the road to keep communities safe and to reduce any unnecessary risk.

The reason ASE cameras don't affect insurance is because when a speed camera is triggered, a ticket gets issued to the registered owner of the car based on the license plate in the photo. Because there's no way for the camera to capture an image of the specific driver at the time of the incident, the offense goes against the plate of the car rather than the person driving it. Since the ticket is not issued to a specific driver, the offense can't be reflected on your record which means it can't impact your insurance premiums.8

This is similar to red light cameras which capture plate numbers rather than the individual driver and also have no impact on insurance. However, if we compare this to a traditional speeding ticket where you get pulled over by an officer, that ticket will be issued to you (the person speeding) which is reflected on your record and in turn, impacts your insurance.

Are there any other penalties for speed camera tickets?

Ultimately, the cost of the ticket is the only penalty you pay. However, keep in mind that there's no maximum number of tickets you can get from these cameras.9 If you happen to speed past these ASE cameras more than once, you'll rack up more tickets and have a greater fee to pay out of pocket. And, if you fail to pay these tickets, you won’t be able to renew your license plate sticker until all your speed camera tickets are paid off.

What are the differences between a speed camera ticket and a speeding ticket?

There are actually a couple differences between the two, which we've broken down for you below:

Speed Camera Tickets

  • Incident is caught on camera, the image and ticket is verified by a provincial offenses officer and is then later issued via mail.10
  • Ticket is issued to the registered owner of the vehicle in the captured photo.11
  • Camera determines the speed the vehicle is travelling.
  • Ticket is not recorded on your driving record since it's not directed to an individual driver and doesn't impact insurance premiums.12
  • Ticket includes an initial fine + victim surcharge fee + court fees with no demerit points.13

Speeding Tickets

  • Issued then & there by a police officer when they pull you over for surpassing the speed limit in a designated area.
  • Ticket is issued to the person driving the vehicle, regardless of if you're the owner of the vehicle/primary driver or occasional driver.
  • Speed gun is used to determine the speed that the vehicle is travelling.
  • Ticket will be listed on your driving record for 3 years from the conviction date.
  • Ticket will increase insurance premiums (amount will vary by severity and insurer) and depending on how many offenses you're convicted with, you risk your insurance policy cancelling.
  • Ticket typically includes an initial fine + victim surcharge fee + court fees + demerit points.

So, if I get a speed camera ticket, what are my next steps?

There are generally 3 options you can choose from in which you have 15 days to act on:

Option A: Paying the fine;

Option B: Request a trial to plead not guilty;

Option C: Request a trial to plead guilty and request a longer time to pay.14

After that, it's your responsibility to practice safe driving to prevent any other tickets and to keep everyone on the road safe, including yourself.

Is there any tool I can use to help me stay accountable?

In an effort to promote safe driving and to help you stay accountable, TD Insurance customers have the option to enroll in our TD MyAdvantage program, which can also help you save up to 25% on your car insurance premiums, too.

Follow these simple steps to start saving:

  1. Call a TD Insurance Advisor to opt into the program.
  2. Download the TD MyAdvantage app and activate it within 15 days.
  3. Hit the road (safely) for at least 4 months and cover at least 1,000 kms (eligibility criteria may change) – that's it.

Upon the renewal of your insurance policy, we'll take into consideration your overall driving score and you can receive a discounted premium as a reward for your safe driving. Have questions about the program? Check out our FAQ for more information.

Not yet a TD Insurance customer but looking for some extra savings? Start by getting a quote in as little as 3 minutes.

Now that we've covered all the implications of getting a speed camera ticket, it may be wise to plan ahead to avoid a 'next time'. Whether that means preparing your breakfast the night before or skipping the snooze button, make sure you give yourself some extra time to avoid rushing (and inevitably speeding) so that you can help keep the roads safe for everyone.

Sources:
1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. https://www.aseontario.com/faq
3. https://www.ontario.ca/page/victim-services-ontario
5. https://www.toronto.ca/home/311-toronto-at-your-service/find-service-information/article/?kb=kA06g000001cwU9CAI