Fines are only a small part of the cost of speeding tickets
A run of bad luck with radar
speed traps can sideline a driver who can’t afford the extortionate insurance
premium increase that comes with the tickets.
I’ve been writing about the
latest of my many speeding tickets, after I was nailed a week ago by a cop with
a radar gun, who wrote me up for doing 65 k/ph in a 50 zone, coming down a small
hill on northbound Brimley Rd.,
from the overpass above the 401.
It’s a no-points ticket, just
like all but one of at least a half-dozen I’ve got since 2006, but that doesn’t
matter to insurance companies. Neither do all the years of claims free,
ticket-free driving that may have preceded the tickets.
I hardly ever got a ticket
prior to 2006, when police really started to fish in the easiest places to
catch a lot of drivers going just fast enough to qualify for a ticket, like the
bottom of a hill. I became a magnet for a radar gun.
A few tickets can lay the
groundwork for insurers to cancel a policy, forcing drivers to seek high-risk
insurance that can cost $10,000 a year or more for basic liability coverage, or
park their car.
I know this from first-hand
experience, and so does Fernanda Caranfa of Woodbridge, who emailed me about her run of
bad luck with police fishing holes.
Caranfa says she was caught
in speed traps four times in three years, most recently on Shoreham Dr., near York University, last
July. All were for the minimum of 15 k/ph over, with no demerit points.
At the same time, a minor
bump in a mall parking lot resulted in a small claim against her, prompting
Caranfa’s insurer to refuse her a policy renewal.
“I had been with the same
insurance company for close to 30 years and my driving record was very good. I
prevailed upon them to look at my decades-long record, and my age (58 at the
time), but they refused.”
The lowest quote she could
find for high-risk insurance was $9,000, when she’d been paying less than
“Needless to say, I stopped
driving. This is an outrageous rate for anyone to pay and I refused,” she said,
adding she had to return her leased car to the dealer.
Caranfa said her retired
husband “chauffeurs me about,” including driving her back and forth to work in Toronto, “but it is an
added stress to my life.
“I think the insurance
company was extremely unfair with me. When my past driving record favoured me,
it was discounted. What about all the years I was an excellent driver? I did
not reap any benefit from those, but I was harshly rapped on the knuckles over
a few minor infractions.”
Just to be clear, when police
troll in the likeliest places to hand out $50 and $80 speeding tickets, the true cost to drivers is much higher. And it provides insurers with a windfall from people whose past record indicates
they are not a serious claims risk.
Somebody call the cops.