The cost of speeding

Speed comes at a cost.
Words: Zac Kurylyk   Photos: As credited

 

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It sounded like a simple story, at first.

Editor ‘Arris and I were talking at the office on a tea-and-crumpets break and thought we should do a write-up on the cost of speeding across Canada. We were looking to find out which provinces were the most expensive to speed in, and which provinces had the most punishing demerits system.

Sounds simple, right? You’d think this sort of information would be available in about 30 seconds of searching government websites … and you’d be wrong.

It literally took days on the phone to track down all this information, days of hassling lazy government employees who didn’t want to give me answers. Thankfully, police traffic officers seemed more than willing to give me the numbers I wanted, even if their counterparts in the provincial government services weren’t usually interested.

Quebec's speeding fines were easy to figure out from their provincial website. Photo: Wikipedia
Quebec’s speeding fines were easy to figure out from their provincial website. Photo: Wikipedia

Only two provincial government websites provided a clear picture of what it would cost to speed, for each kilometre over the speed limit – Quebec and Newfoundland. Go figure.

You'd think the provincial transportation authorities would want to make it easy to find out the cost of speeding tickets, as a deterrent. That's not the case. Photo: Zac Kurylyk
You’d think the provincial transportation authorities would want to make it easy to find out the cost of speeding tickets, as a deterrent. That’s not the case. Photo: Zac Kurylyk

While the information for other provinces may be out there, readily accessible, I wasn’t able to find it, and I spent a lot of time looking for it. Information like this should prove a valuable deterrent to dangerous driving, but for some reason, provinces don’t seem to make it easy to find.

Probably the most ridiculous situation I ran into was when I called Access Nova Scotia to find the cost of speeding tickets in that province; I assumed that, since speeders paid their fines there, the employees would know the cost.

That wasn’t the case, though; instead, they directed me to the Registrar of Motor Vehicles. Fair enough.

Once they’d transferred me, I asked the man on the other end of the phone if he could tell me the cost of speeding fines in Nova Scotia. The government worker hemmed and hawed, then told me I’d have to send in a registered letter asking for that information.

How much will it cost if you get a speeding ticket on the Cabot Trail? Don't expect Nova Scotia's government minions to give you the answer. Photo: Wikimedia
How much will it cost if you get a speeding ticket on the Cabot Trail? Don’t expect Nova Scotia’s government minions to give you the answer. Photo: Wikimedia

I cut him off there, asking incredulously why this information wasn’t available to everyone over the internet. He said he didn’t have that information at his fingertips, and could I please send a registered letter.

While government drones proved less than useful for the most part, police departments across the country were more than happy to provide the information we needed. Photo: English Matt
While government drones proved less than useful for the most part, police departments across the country were more than happy to provide the information we needed. Photo: English Matt

I hung up on him and called the Amherst RCMP detachment, who were only too happy to help me out.

My experience in New Brunswick was pretty similar; government employees transferred my call in a circle, from department to department, until I gave up in frustration and called the Rothesay police.

But, whining aside, here’s what I found.

There’s a wide difference in speeding tickets across the country. Some provinces have hefty fines for even the most minor infractions, while others don’t seem to take it as seriously.

Also, some provinces, like Quebec and Ontario,  have fines pro-rated for every kilometre you exceed the speed limit, and some, like New Brunswick and British Columbia, have brackets – whether you’re 12 or 15 kilometres over the speed limit, you’ll pay the same.

Most provinces have some sort of demerit system in place for your license. Trouble is, it's very hard to compare them. Speed down one of those straight, empty PEI roads, and you'll have demerits added. In other provinces, they're subtracted. Photo: Zac Kurylyk
Most provinces have some sort of demerit system in place for your license. Trouble is, it’s very hard to compare them. Speed down one of those straight, empty PEI roads, and you’ll have demerits added. In other provinces, they’re subtracted. Photo: Zac Kurylyk

As well, the demerits system doesn’t work the same in every province. In most provinces, you lose demerit points, but others – PEI and Quebec, for example – you accumulate demerit points. In some provinces with public insurance (like Manitoba, B.C. and Saskatchewan), the insurance board runs the demerit system, not the department of transportation or public safety.

Welcome to British Columbia, where you'll get an automatic three demerits with every speeding ticket. Photo: Wikipedia
Welcome to British Columbia, where you’ll get an automatic three demerits with every speeding ticket. Photo: Wikipedia

The demerits you get for speeding are also widely varied; in B.C., you get three demerits for every speeding ticket, no matter how excessive the speed, and you get a total of 15 points before you lose your licence, with a warning at 12.

In other provinces, the demerits are scaled to your speeding, just like ticket amounts. In PEI, for instance, you get three demerits for going 1-29 kilometres over the speed limit, but six demerits for speeding 30 kilometres over the speed limit. Point totals are different by province as well – if you get three tickets for driving one kilometre over the speed limit in PEI in two years (nine demerits), you could lose your license, as opposed to 15 demerits in B.C.

In other words, every province is doing their own thing, and comparing them to each other is pretty much comparing apples and oranges. But, here’s a rough look at the dollar value of low-end speeding tickets.

Remember, these numbers are the best answers we could get; there are so many court costs and other fines that can be added or subtracted seemingly at the Crown’s whim, that some numbers may not jibe with your experience. If so, please don’t get mad and yell at us – we’re doing the best we can with the information we’ve been provided.

Saskatchewan doesn't have a ticket price on the books for offenders less than 10 kph over the speed limit, making it the cheapest province to speed in, in theory. Photo: Wikipedia
Saskatchewan doesn’t have a ticket price on the books for offenders less than 10 kph over the speed limit, making it the cheapest province to speed in, in theory. That’s a good thing, considering how long, flat, and straight those highways are. Photo: Wikipedia

First of all – the cheapest place to speed in Canada has to be Saskatchewan.  Normally, speeders in Saskatchewan are normally assessed a $110 fine, plus $1 per kilometre over, plus court costs, which is higher than several other provinces. You’ll pay a different fine for 11 over than you would for 12 over, and so on. That means their tickets are in line with the national average for speeding citations.

Quebec's speeding tickets are fairly low-priced, but photo radar means you'll get more tickets if you speed regularly. Photo: Wikipedia
Quebec’s speeding tickets are fairly low-priced, but photo radar means you’ll get more tickets if you speed regularly. Photo: Wikipedia

But get this – if you’re speeding below 10 over, there’s no fine listed in the book. We’re not sure if that means speeding below 10 over is free in Saskatchewan, but it should be – you’ve got to cross that flat prairie somehow. Not, of course, that we’d recommend breaking traffic laws . Besides, speeding 5 kilometres over the limit is like kissing your sister – nothing to get too worked up about, unless you’re from Arkansas.

Amongst the other provinces, Quebec and Ontario are just about tied for having the lowest-priced tickets.

At $40, Ontario has the cheapest speeding ticket we know of in Canada. Quebec’s in the same ballpark, charging speeders $15 plus $10 for every five kilometres over the speed limit, for speeding 1-20 kilometres over the speed limit.

Alberta, Newfoundland and PEI will cost you a bit more, but low-end speeding tickets still aren’t going to bankrupt you. Manitoba’s fines are also fairly low at the bottom end of the range.

Like Quebec, Ontario's tickets start off cheap, but rise in price quickly when you pick up speed. Photo: Zac Kurylyk
Like Quebec, Ontario’s tickets start off cheap, but rise in price quickly when you pick up speed. If they catch you going 50 kph over the limit, they can fine you a whopping $10,000 and seize your bike. Photo: Zac Kurylyk

British Columbia, then New Brunswick, raise the costs a fair bit for speeding tickets, with their stepped fines. Check out the graph below for a comparison.

Not only are Nova Scotia's speeding tickets ridiculously high, but like most provinces, they double them in work areas. Be careful when riding through the province's speed traps - they love to nab riders leaving the track at Shubenacadie. Photo; Zac Kurylyk
Not only are Nova Scotia’s speeding tickets ridiculously high, but like most provinces, they double them in work areas. Be careful when riding through the province’s speed traps – they love to nab riders leaving the track at Shubenacadie. Photo; Zac Kurylyk

You don’t hear a lot of talk about outrageous tickets in Nova Scotia, but they have the highest-priced tickets for low-speed offenses in Canada. If you’re nabbed for speeding 1 kilometre over the speed limit in Nova Scotia, you’ll pay $227.41.

There are other factors at play here beside raw numbers, though;  speed fines might seem draconian in certain provinces, but if enforcement isn’t heavy, then riders have little to worry about.

Provinces with photo radar (Quebec, Alberta) might have lower fines, but you’re more likely to get a ticket there, than in Maritime provinces like Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, with long highways where you rarely see traffic patrols.*

Remember, too, that in most provinces, fines double for speeding in construction zones or school zones. In other provinces, like Newfoundland, speeding tickets tickets don’t cost much on your first offense, but repeat offenders will see their ticket costs rise drastically. To make things more convoluted, other provinces allow speeders to settle their fines out of court and save money.

In rural Canada, traffic enforcement tends to be a little more loose. Photo: Adventurecycle.org
In rural Canada, traffic enforcement tends to be a little more loose. Photo: Adventurecycle.org

Ticket prices rise in each province, depending how fast you’re going, but again, there’s plenty of discrepancy here. Overall, Manitoba consistently has the highest-priced tickets, with Nova Scotia close behind. In everywhere but Quebec, you can expect to pay a lot more for speeding once you’re nabbed for about 20 kilometres over the limit.

Of course, there are plenty of other ways to get in trouble. Even if you aren't speeding, you can get a ticket for anything from coasting downhill in neutral, or shifting gears as you cross a railway track, depending on which province you're riding in. And of course, The Man always disapproves of wheelies - even the small ones. Photo: Zac Kurylyk
Of course, there are plenty of other ways to get in trouble. Even if you aren’t speeding, you can get a ticket for anything from coasting downhill in neutral, or shifting gears as you cross a railway track, depending on which province you’re riding in. And of course, The Man always disapproves of wheelies – even the small ones. Photo: Zac Kurylyk

Our graph only goes to 49 kilometres over the speed limit, because after that, things get crazy. In Ontario, if you’re caught going 50 over, you can get slapped with a fine ranging from $2000 to $10,000 for stunting. In Nova Scotia, 50 over also gets you a stunting charge, good for a $2412.41 ticket. In other provinces where automatic stunting charges aren’t written into the lawbooks, you can still have your vehicle seized and stunting or unsafe driving charges laid at an officer’s discretion.

So, what if you don’t speed? If you’re able to consistently stick to our fearless leaders’ speed limits, you should be able to avoid tickets, right?

Well, sure. As long as you don’t ride two abreast, coast downhill in neutral or shift gears as you cross a railway track while riding through Newfoundland. Don’t try “coasting down a grade illegally” in B.C. either, and don’t ride two abreast in New Brunswick (feel free to do so in B.C., however!).

According to Nova Scotia's traffic laws, the V-Star 650 Custom, with a 695 mm seat height, isn't a motorcycle.
According to Nova Scotia’s traffic laws, the V-Star 650 Custom, with a 695 mm seat height, isn’t a motorcycle.

Want to ride through Nova Scotia on your Harley-Davidson, or Yamaha V-Star 650 Custom? Make sure your seat height is above 70 centimetres (about 27 inches), otherwise your bike doesn’t meet the legal requirements of a motorcycle – perhaps you could register it as a scooter?

Motorcyclists, beware: The Man is out there, waiting. Photo: Mike Cloke
Motorcyclists, beware: The Man is out there, waiting. Photo: Mike Cloke

Want to speed through the back roads of PEI? Don’t try it in front of a game warden – like most provinces, PEI allows game wardens to bust you for traffic violations, in their downtime from chasing poachers.

To sum it all up – motorcyclists have long said traffic tickets were nothing more than a speed tax handed down by The Man. We’re here to say you can lower that tax rate, by changing your province – but he’ll still catch up to you somehow.

*Not that you’d want to speed excessively on the wobble-inducing, frost-heaved, cracked roads in this province anyway – ‘Arris.

Speeding Chart

Wondering how all those different speeding offences across Canada add up by Province? Well, here’s a handy chart so you can plan just how fast you can go on your next trans-Canada trip.

Gallery

Check out all the pics that go with this story! Click on the main sized pic to transition to the next or just press play to show in a slideshow.

New Brunswick speeding ticket cost

Speed comes at a cost. Photo: Zac Kurylyk

canada speeding ticket cost

In rural Canada, traffic enforcement tends to be a little more loose. Photo: Adventurecycle.org

Canada speeding ticket cost

While government drones proved less than useful for the most part, police departments across the country were more than happy to provide the information we needed. Photo: English Matt

englishmatt-photo-3

Congratulations! You've received a "performance award." You can pick up your prize after you mail in your check. Photo: English Matt

Fines double speeding ticket cost nova scotia

Not only are Nova Scotia's speeding tickets ridiculously high, but like most provinces, they double them in work areas. Be careful when riding through the province's speed traps - they love to nab riders leaving the track at Shubenacadie. Photo; Zac Kurylyk

Newfoundland speeding ticket

Newfoundland's speeding tickets are more expensive than Ontario and Quebec. They're about on par with Alberta and PEI. Whether or not you want to speed on their moose-filled, cracked highways is another question. Photo: Zac Kurylyk

Ontario 401 Speeding Ticket Cost

Like Quebec, Ontario's tickets start off cheap, but rise in price quickly when you pick up speed. Photo: Zac Kurylyk

Motorcycle cop

You'd think the provincial transportation authorities would want to make it easy to find out the cost of speeding tickets, as a deterrent. That's not the case. Photo: Zac Kurylyk

Wheelie ticket

Of course, there are plenty of other ways to get in trouble. Even if you aren't speeding, you can get a ticket for anything from coasting downhill in neutral, or shifting gears as you cross a railway track, depending on which province you're riding in. And of course, The Man always disapproves of wheelies - even the small ones. Photo: Zac Kurylyk

Prince Edward Island speeding ticket cost

Most provinces have some sort of demerit system in place for your license. Trouble is, it's very hard to compare them. Speed down one of those straight, empty PEI roads, and you'll have demerits added. In other provinces, they're subtracted. Photo: Zac Kurylyk

British Columbia speeding ticket cost

Motorcyclists, beware: The Man is out there, waiting. Photo: Mike Cloke

Quebec speeding ticket cost

Quebec's speeding fines were easy to figure out from their provincial website. Photo: Wikipedia

Nova Scotia Speeding Ticket cost

How much will it cost if you get a speeding ticket on the Cabot Trail? Don't expect Nova Scotia's government minions to give you the answer. Photo: Wikimedia

British Columbia speeding ticket cost

Welcome to British Columbia, where you'll get an automatic three demerits with every speeding ticket. Photo: Wikipedia

Saskatchewan speeding ticket cost

Saskatchewan: The land of flat, straight roads, and insurance insanity. Photo: Wikipedia

Quebec speeding ticket cost

Quebec's speeding tickets are fairly low-priced, but photo radar means you'll get more tickets if you speed regularly. Photo: Wikipedia

V-Star 650

According to Nova Scotia's traffic laws, the V-Star 650 Custom, with a 695 mm seat height, isn't a motorcycle.

cost of speeding tickets across Canada

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New Brunswick speeding ticket costcanada speeding ticket costCanada speeding ticket costCongratulations! You've received a "performance award." You can pick up your prize after you mail in your check. Photo: English MattFines double speeding ticket cost nova scotiaNewfoundland speeding ticketOntario 401 Speeding Ticket CostMotorcycle copWheelie ticketPrince Edward Island speeding ticket costBritish Columbia speeding ticket costQuebec speeding ticket costNova Scotia Speeding Ticket costBritish Columbia speeding ticket costSaskatchewan speeding ticket costQuebec speeding ticket costV-Star 650cost of speeding tickets across Canada

21 thoughts on “The cost of speeding”

  1. Great information. Got a ticket in Sask this summer for doing 130 in a 100 =$150 and 0 points on my liscense. Add to that the Member complimented the bike about five times.

  2. What’s deceiving in the fines for Ontario, is the additional fees. That $115 ticket will run you over double that once you’ve paid it.

    Then there’s the insurance company’s levies. There’s a scam…

  3. It’ll be pretty hard to shift gears crossing a railroad track in Newfoundland. We don’t have trains in NL anymore, and of course no railroad crossings. Our original system ran on a narrow gauge system that was too costly to maintain, so we shifted to trucking for all cargo over 25 years ago. You can, though, now ride across the province on the old rail bed, the T’Railway. http://www.trailway.ca/

  4. Here’s the info from Yukon’s Motor Vehicle Act:

    Driving at an unreasonable speed $125.00 4
    Exceed posted speed limit by not more than 15 kph $25.00 2
    Exceed posted speed limit by more than 15 kph but less than 30 kph $40.00 3
    Exceed posted speed limit by more than 30 kph but less than 50 kph $75.00 4
    Exceed posted speed limit by more than 50 kph $150.00 6
    Exceed posted speed in playground or school zone by not more than 15 kph $50.00 3
    Exceed posted speed in playground or school zone by more than 15 kph but less than 30 kph $100.00 4
    Exceed posted speed in playground or school zone by more than 30 kph but less than 50 kph $150.00 5
    Exceed posted speed in playground or school zone by more than 50 kph $200.00 6

    The number at the end of each line are the points against your licence.

  5. In Nova Scotia, police will typically not pull you over if you are within 20km of the limit. If you are over 20km but not by a lot, they will typically charge you with “failing to obey posted signs” rather than speeding per se. This charge has a lower fine (I think around $110) and no points penalty.

  6. In Ontario it’s easy to find this information. Just go to the e-Laws site and do a search. I f you do you will find that we do, in fact, accumulate demerit points. From the Highway Traffic Act—”accumulated demerit points” means the total demerit points in a person’s record acquired as a result of offences committed within any period of two years

  7. So, if I understand correctly, I can gain some demerits by speeding in the right province and then lose them back by speeding in another province. Excellent! I just hope I keep them clear in my mind.

  8. Considering how crappy Quebec roads are, how could any body speed? Last week, I saw a bumper sticker: I’m not drunk, I’m dodging potholes!

  9. Very poorly researched article…. there are no more railroad tracks in use in Newfoundland. My brother is an RCMP constable and says you only accumulate points, you do not get a set amount to lose. As I stated, very poorly researched article…

    1. Whether or not there are tracks in NFLD the law is on the books. I saw it. If you think you can do better, take a few weeks, call police departments and DMVs across the country and write your own. If it’s better than this one, maybe you can find someone to print it.

      And re: railways in NFLD – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_North_Shore_and_Labrador_Railway. Sure, it’s technically not on the island, but it’s under the provincial jurisdiction.

  10. 40 over in BC get’s you the following ticket 390, impound for 7 day 30-50 per day-350, tow to impound yard 200-300, dangerous driver 3 year classification per year-1200, 6 points on insurance bumps your insurance up 600 bux first year 300 second year for a grand total of 3140. This is the real cost and this is why the alberta government has tried to warn their drivers about coming to BC as your family can and do get their vehicles seized, several hundred this year. Most highways traffic flows at 15 km above the posted limit so if you pass anyone your in impound.

  11. I am from bc and I have a n drivers license just got pulled over in swift current Saskatchewan doin 140 in a 100. I received a 200 dollar ticket I was just wondering if this is going to effect my license in bc ?

    1. The way to find out is to determine whether there is an ticket information-sharing agreement between Saskatchewan and BC. If there is, then, yes, you’re likely screwed. If not, then you could be safe.

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