I was in an accident a week ago where I rear ended someone and ended up with a careless driving ticket. I was driving towards a light that had just turned green. The cars ahead of me were increasing in speed from stop to go. I slowed down but not anticipating a stop because traffic had begun moving at the green light. The person ahead of me was not speeding up as fast as I thought they were so I was like "I'll just change lanes". I was in the middle lane and was going to move to the left or right lane but then I panicked because I thought there were cars beside me in the other lanes. As a result I decided to slam on the brakes but it was too late and I hit the car ahead of me. The damage to their car was minor and my car suffered significant damage to the front of it (old car, write off). I am wondering if there's any advice I can get for eliminating or at least reducing my careless driving ticket. I was just offered a Summons to court rather than a physical ticket. Thanks.
The summons is not your trial, so you don't have to decide what to do immediately. You should get your disclosure at the summons and the prosecutor may offer to reduce it at that time. Your scenario sounds like it would be a good candidate for a reduction to Following too Closely. Definitely don't plead guilty to the careless; it is a very serious charge and will cause your insurance premiums to rise by a large amount or have your policy cancelled altogether.
Okay, hopefully I will get offered a reduction. Any idea how much a follow to close would affect insurance rates? Not nearly as much as careless I assume?
Careless is a huge hit. Follow too close is a minor ticket. If offered it, I'd bite their hand off.
Of course I am of the opinion most of the time that you should fight everything..
However insurance rates convictions as either MINOR, MAJOR or SERIOUS. Careless is SERIOUS, the same as a DUI and will cause HUGE increases in your insurance. A MINOR is like a speeding ticket... it might cause a small increase over three years (or none at all for some people). So in a case like this, it is probably worth taking a MINOR versus going to trial and risking the possibility of a SERIOUS if you lose.
How much a minor ticket like following too closely will affect your rates depends on i) which company you are insured with, ii) how many years you have been licensed and iii) what your driving record was like before you received the ticket. My first point is because some insurers offer a conviction free discount, some do not, Some insurers will surcharge when you receive your first minor conviction, some will not. So you could see your rates increase 10% or it might not change at all because of the one minor. The second point is due to the fact that there is an at-fault accident involved here means if you've been licensed (starting from the time you obtained your G2) less than four years (generally) having an at-fault accident plus a minor conviction could mean you no longer qualify for the standard market and your policy will not be renewed. This means you might have to be insured with the non-standard market or, heaven forbid, the Facility Association (the insurer of last resort in Ontario). My third point ties into my second point. If you had no previous accidents or tickets prior to this incident then you might be able to stay with your current insurer. However if you've had other convictions in the last 3 years, having one accident and one minor ticket might not disqualify you from being non-renewed, however having an at-fault accident and two minor convictions might be the straw that breaks the camel's back (regardelss of the number of years you've been licensed.) It is best to speak to your broker/agent and discuss this with them as they can give you more accurate information for your situation.
Thanks everyone I have had my licence (starting from my G2) for at least 7 years. I got a 15 km over speeding ticket in the summer of 2013, but nothing else. I have called my insurance company who said if I get a minor ticket on my record from this accident, the surcharge should be 0%, presumably meaning that my insurance would not increase. But since the ticket hasn't been put on my record yet, they could not confirm yet. My court date is April 25, so I have all my fingers and toes crossed that I will get offered with a plea deal of a minor conviction.
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