Following too Closely

What is Following Too Closely?

In the realm of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, “Following Too Closely” is an offence outlined under section 158. This violation takes place when a motorist does not maintain a safe distance between their vehicle and the vehicle they are following. The Act stipulates that a driver should keep a reasonable and prudent distance, taking into consideration speed, road conditions, and traffic flow. Failing to do so increases the risk of rear-end collisions and jeopardizes road safety.

Key Factors to Consider

When evaluating the appropriate distance to maintain, consider the following variables:

  • Speed of Both Vehicles: The speed at which you and the front vehicle are travelling affects the required stopping distance. The faster you go, the longer it will take to bring your vehicle to a complete stop.
  • Road Conditions: Environmental factors like wet, icy, or uneven roads demand more cautious driving and greater following distances.
  • Traffic Flow: In congested traffic where frequent stops or slow-downs are the norm, maintaining a larger gap is essential to prevent collisions.

Following Too Closely Penalties in Ontario

A follow-too-closely ticket in Ontario is not a matter to be taken lightly. Being convicted of this offence has severe repercussions:

  • Fine: The fine for following too closely varies between $60 and $500, depending on the gravity of the offence.
  • Demerit Points: Conviction leads to 4 demerit points added to your driving record, which can have long-term implications.
  • Insurance Rates: Insurance companies often hike premiums after a conviction, making it an expensive long-term burden.

Table: Ontario Penalties for Following Too Closely

Fine Range Demerit Points Insurance Impact
$60 – $500 4 Points Likely to Increase

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Follow Too Closely for Commercial Drivers

In Ontario, commercial drivers are often subject to stricter rules and regulations compared to non-commercial drivers. One such rule specifies that commercial drivers are required to maintain a distance of at least 60 meters from the vehicle they are following. This regulation is aimed at promoting road safety by accounting for the larger size and weight of commercial vehicles, which inherently have longer stopping distances.

This rule serves multiple safety objectives:

  1. Improved Reaction Time: Commercial vehicles need more time to come to a full stop due to their larger mass.
  2. Enhanced Visibility: Keeping a 60-meter distance ensures that commercial drivers have a better field of vision, making it easier to anticipate the actions of other drivers.
  3. Lower Risk of Accidents: A greater following distance considerably lowers the probability of rear-end collisions, which are more catastrophic when involving commercial vehicles due to their size and weight.

Commercial drivers should pay extra attention to this offence. Not only are the standard fines and demerit points for following too closely applicable, but commercial drivers might also face additional penalties, such as:

  • License Suspension: Accumulating too many demerit points could lead to a temporary suspension of your commercial driver’s license.
  • Employment Risks: Employers in the transport sector frequently assess driving records as part of their hiring or ongoing employment evaluations. A driving too closely ticket may severely hinder job prospects or even result in job loss.

Note on Vehicle Types and Commercial Consequences

Different types of commercial vehicles may experience diverse penalties. For instance, the penalties may be more stringent if you operate a vehicle carrying hazardous material. Therefore, it’s crucial to consider the type of commercial vehicle you drive when addressing a follow-too-closely ticket.

Defending Against a Following Too Closely Ticket in Ontario

If you receive a following too closely ticket, you should consider hiring Traffic Paralegal Services to represent you. With comprehensive knowledge of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, our firm offers the following services to help you:

  1. Case Assessment: We initiate a comprehensive review of your ticket, considering the police officer’s notes, possible video evidence, and any available witness statements.
  2. Legal Consultation: Our paralegals will provide a complete breakdown of the potential repercussions, both immediate and long-term.
  3. Court Representation: Our team is well-equipped to represent you in court, presenting a cogent argument aimed at eliminating or at least minimizing the penalties you face.
  4. Negotiation: When appropriate, we will negotiate with the prosecution for a reduced charge to lessen the impact on your driving record and insurance premiums.

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What is "Following Too Closely" in Ontario?

It's an offence under section 158 of the Highway Traffic Act for not maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle ahead.

How many demerit points for a following too closely ticket?

Four demerit points are added to your driving record.

What is the fine range for following too closely?

Fines can range from $60 to $500.

Does a following too closely ticket affect insurance rates?

Yes, your insurance premiums may increase.

What is the 60-meter rule for commercial drivers?

Commercial drivers must maintain a minimum 60-meter distance from the vehicle they are following.

How can Traffic Paralegal Services help me?

We offer case assessment, legal consultation, court representation, and negotiation services tailored to Ontario's traffic laws.

Why should I consider hiring Traffic Paralegal Services?

Our focused practice on Provincial Offences Act and Highway Traffic Act violations equips us to defend your case effectively.