You might have heard of a merit-based system used in scholarships and Government job applications. But have you ever heard of a demerit-based system? It uses the same concept as a merit-based system but flips it on its head.
Instead of awarding particular behaviour, it aims to penalize it and thus correct it. Drivers who accumulate too many demerits risk having their license suspended and further penalties depending on the severity and frequency of offences.
Read on to learn more about the Alberta Traffic Safety Act Fines and Demerits.
What is the Alberta Traffic Safety Act?
The Alberta safety act is legislation aimed to improve the safety of the province’s highways. However, this also includes all streets, roads, sidewalks or bridges that the public is allowed to use. It is designed to establish proper driving conduct by using a combination of fines and demerits as a penalty for drivers.
Besides, this is designed to reduce frequent and recurring offenders specifically. After a certain number of demerits are received, the offender’s license can be suspended.
However, since the demerits expire 2 years after the date of conviction, it allows drivers to correct their driving habits and reduce the chance of suspension.
The fine or demerit for an offence is usually not the sole penalty. There can also be other legal action taken against the offender, depending on the severity of their offence.
What is a Demerit?
Under the Alberta traffic safety act, demerits are points that are accumulated on a driver’s license for every infraction they commit. Different offences have different demerit points, depending on the severity of the offence.
Accumulating too many demerits can lead to the suspension of the license and increased insurance premiums.
Demerit points are added to your driving record when receiving an offence. You receive an offence when you:
- Pay the fine for the offence voluntarily
- If you are found guilty of the offence in court
- If you fail to appear in court and are convicted in absentia
What Can You Get a Demerit for in Alberta?
There are different demerit points that you can accumulate on your license depending on the severity of the offence you have committed. The most severe will get you the highest number of demerits, and the least severe will only give you a single demerit.
Below is a list of offences in order of severity and the demerits you will receive for them:
7 Demerit points
- Leaving the scene of an accident; can also lead to fines of up to $2000, including a prison sentence.
6 Demerit points
- Speeding 50+kmph over the speed limit and a fine in the range of $650-$2000.
- Reckless driving.
- Driving on a bet.
- Failure to stop for a school bus.
5 Demerit points
- Passing an uncontrolled railway crossing when the vehicle is a school bus, is carrying explosives. or a vehicle used to transport flammables.
- Not stopping for the police.
4 Demerit points
- Unreasonable speeding (not considering road conditions such as weather).
- Speeding 30+kmph over limit with a fine between $253-$474
- Following a vehicle too closely.
- Overtaking a vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk.
- Not yielding to a pedestrian at a crosswalk
3 Demerit points
- Not identifying the owner of a vehicle left unattended or property damaged during an accident.
- Failing to make a report of an accident.
- Speeding 15+kmph over the limit and fine of $140-$239
- Passing in a school zone.
- Passing on an elevated area or in a curve.
- Passing in the oncoming lane.
- Restricted Passing.
- Driving on the left side of the center.
- Driving wrong way on a one-way highway.
- Disrupting a passing vehicle.
- Not stopping at a stop sign.
- Improper passing.
- Doing stunts
2 Demerit points
- Ignoring traffic device instructions
- Improperly reversing
- Unsafe turning
- Unsafe U-turns
- Violating Traffic lane rules
- Speeding between 1-15kmph over the limit and a fine of $78 to $120
The following additional 2-point demerit rules apply only to GDL drivers:
- Breaking curfew (between 12am-5am)
- Driving with more passengers than available seatbelts
- Having an unqualified supervisor
You can check your demerit points by visiting an Alberta Registry and paying a $25 fee. You can ask for up to 10 years of demerit history.
What Will Happen If I Get Too Many Demerits?
The consequences for demerit points vary depending on the offender’s type of license holder.
Fully licensed drivers will receive a notification over mail notifying them of their demerit position if they receive 8 to 14 demerits over 2 years. If it exceeds 14 points, then the license receives an automatic suspension.
After completing the suspension, the driver’s privileges are reinstated, with 7 demerit points remaining on the record. These points remain for 2 years from the completion of the suspension.
GDL licensed drivers will be notified of their demerit status after receiving 4 to 7 points over 2 years. If the demerits exceed 8 points, there will be an automatic suspension of the license.
After completing the suspension, the driver’s privileges are reinstated with 3 demerit points remaining on their record. These will stay over a 2 period from the date of completion.
For both fully licensed and GDL drivers, license suspension durations are as follows:
- For the first suspension – 1 month
- For the second suspension within 1 year of the first – 3 months
- For the third suspension within 2 years – 6 months, the driver may need to attend a review with the registrar of motor vehicles of Alberta Transportation.
What Can I Do If I Get Too Many Demerits?
Usually, there is very little to do if you accumulate too many demerit points. You can appeal for a review of the demerit points you received if you believe you were mistakenly awarded demerits. However, demerit points can only be removed through the courts. You cannot appeal for a suspended license.
Demerits points for any offence are removed after 2 years from conviction. Another way to remove demerits is to complete a Government approved defensive driving course. Successful completion of the course will result in a deduction of 3 demerit points against your license.
Alberta traffic safety act fine amounts may vary from person to person and case to case. Therefore, having a comprehensive demerit points system allows law enforcement to have a fair and easy to enforce system.
Alberta Traffic Safety Act fines and demerits system is designed to prevent unsafe driving practices through penalties. It also targets and suspends the most frequent offenders. The ability for drivers to reeducate themselves and reduce demerits also acts as a corrective element.
Having demerits on your record may also affect your insurance premium and how a judge or police officer may judge you if you are involved in later traffic offences.
Hopefully, this article provided you with insight regarding the rules and regulations being implemented on the roads of Alberta. Drive safe!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few more things to know about the following topic.
How much are traffic fines in Alberta?
Fines can range anywhere between $78 to $2000 depending on the severity of the offence.
How many demerits are you allowed in Alberta?
If you accumulate 15 demerit points, your license will be automatically suspended.
Does Alberta Traffic Safety Act have demerit points?
Yes, Alberta's Traffic Safety Act implements the use of demerit points to penalize offenders.
How do I check my demerit points in Alberta?
Visit a local Alberta Registry and pay a $25 fee for a driver's abstract. It will include your demerits over your requested period of 3, 5 or 10 years.
Do demerit points expire in Alberta?
Yes, demerit points expire after 2 years from conviction. However, they will remain in your permanent record but cannot be accumulated with offences after the 2 years.