Blog Careless Driving Charges In Ontario

Apr 5, 2024

Ontario careless driving charges and fines for 2024

man texting and driving in his car

Being charged with careless driving is not a situation you want to find yourself in. Careless driving is a severe offence that can result in a ticket, fine, or worse, depending on your behaviour behind the wheel. It can be combined with other incidents, such as distracted driving and driving impaired, making matters even worse.

In this blog, you'll learn about careless driving charges, how they can affect you and if you can do anything to fight the fine.

Three main takeaways about careless driving

  • Careless driving fines can be found if you are guilty of multi-tasking while driving, unsafe driving, getting into accidents; basically any situation where you are not taking proper care on the road.
  • OPP mentions that careless driving is blamed for preventable road deaths.
  • Depending on your financial circumstances and the fine, you may want to fight the ticket with the support of a legal professional.

What’s on this page

What is careless driving?
What are the types of careless driving tickets in Ontario?
Careless driving fines and penalties In Ontario 2024
Is careless driving a criminal offence?
What is the difference between careless driving and dangerous driving?
Careless Driving FAQs

What is careless driving?

Careless driving can be confusing due to the nature of the law. The charge is open for interpretation by the police, and there are many situations where careless driving qualifies as an offence. It is a charge or ticket given out by police when they deem a driver was not using care and failed to pay attention and drive safely properly.

Even though the law is open to interpretation, there are acts commonly considered careless driving. Here are some examples:

  • Failing to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles
  • Road rage.
  • Failing to check mirrors when reversing or changing directions.
  • Risky or unsafe passing or lane changes.
  • Running a red light or stop sign.
  • Excessive speeding, street racing or stunt driving.
  • Accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists.
  • A crash is caused by an inconsiderate action – such as texting and driving.
  • Any other situation where proper care is NOT taken on the road.

Section 130 of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act defines the act of careless driving: Every person is guilty of the offence of driving carelessly who drives a vehicle or street car on a highway without due care and attention or without reasonable consideration for other persons using the highway.

What are the types of careless driving tickets in Ontario?

Careless driving fines and penalties vary in Ontario based on the severity of the situation leading to you being charged. Here is some information on the type of fines and tickets you could receive.

  1. Careless driving with a fine: You receive a ticket with a fine amount and 6 demerit points. Paying the fine is your admission of guilt.
  2. Careless driving without a fine: Receiving a ticket with no fine occurs for more serious offences. You will receive a summons to appear in court. You can expect to receive a fine closer to the upper limits with the potential of a license suspension and even jail time for severe offences.

A careless driving charge in Ontario applies to many situations. You can be charged with it if an accident meets the following:

  • With an accident
  • Without an accident
  • Causing death or bodily harm

Regardless of the situation, your charges will still fall within the careless driving penalties. Just because there is a fatality doesn’t necessarily mean it is a criminal offence. It’s how the incident occurred and what led up to it, explains Sgt. Scott Parker of the COPP’s Traffic Operations Division.

If the police believe there was more in play, or there was malicious intent, you could receive a charge for criminal negligence or dangerous driving, both with stiffer penalties and the potential for a criminal conviction.