Demerit Points in Alberta: 9 Things You Absolutely Need To Know

demerit points alberta chart

Demerit points in Alberta are incurred on your driving record when you are convicted of a traffic offence. The following 4 important facts about demerit points in Alberta will help you better understand the regulations and consequences involved with receiving demerit points while in Alberta.

1. This chart listing Demerit Points in Alberta

As this demerits point chart shows, demerits range from two (2) to seven (7) points, depending on the seriousness of the offence.

2. How Long Do Demerit Points Stay on Your Record? (and When Do They Expire?)

Scratching your head, wondering “how long do demerits last in Alberta?” 

The short answer is, demerits last for 2 years on your driving record in Alberta. Demerit points in Alberta operate on a revolving basis; this means that demerit points do not last forever.

Demerit Points for Drivers with a Class 5 License

For drivers with a Class 5 license, license suspension will occur once 15 demerits have been accumulated over a two (2) year period. At eight (8) demerits, a written notice will be mailed to the driver as fair warning. 

Demerit Points for Drivers with a Class 7 License (GDL)

For Class 7, or GDL-licensed drivers, a  license suspension will occur once eight (8) demerits have been accumulated, and a written notice will be mailed to the driver once they have accumulated four (4) demerits.

3. How Long Will my License be Suspended?

For Class 5 drivers, the initial license suspension is one (1) month long.

If 15 demerits are accumulated for a second time within a one (1) year period, the license suspension will be three (3) months long.

If 15 demerits are accumulated for a third time within a two (2) year period, the license suspension will be six (6) months long and the driver may be required to stand before the Alberta Transportation Safety Board.

For Class 7/GDL drivers, the same time periods and suspension lengths apply, but they are invoked once the driver accumulates eight (8) demerits, not 15.

demerit points alberta

4. How Can I Reduce The Number of Demerit Points On My Record?

Many local Edmonton driving schools offer courses directing aimed at reducing demerits; however, not every course offered at Edmonton driving schools is approved, so be sure to check beforehand.

If a driver successfully completes an approved defensive driving course before they have accumulated eight (8) demerit points, they may earn a demerit point reduction of three (3) points.

5. Exactly How To Check Demerit Points in Alberta

If you’re wondering how to check demerit points in Alberta, a quick trip to your local Alberta Registry is all it takes. Simply request an updated driver’s abstract, which will cost around $25. At the registry, you will be able to choose between having a 3, 5 or 10 year demerit history report pulled.

Can You Check Demerit Points Online?

In Alberta, there is no way to check demerit points online. In order to check the number of demerit points on your record, you will have to visit your local registry.

Demerit Points can Affect Insurance Premiums

Demerit Points can Affect Insurance Premiums

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6. How Many Demerit Points Are Given for Distracted Driving in Alberta?

Distracted driving is no joke. Besides the risk of both injuries and fatalities, distracted driving also comes with a hefty price tag.

Drivers found to be driving distracted in Alberta will be faced with a minimum $287 fine, as well as three (3) demerit points.

Think texting is the only distraction while driving? Think again. 

Distracted driving demerits in Alberta can be handed out for:

    • Holding, viewing or manipulating a cell phone or other electronic device
    • Using a GPS system while driving
    • Reading or viewing any printed material
    • Writing, printing or sketching

    • Personal grooming or hygiene

Accumulating too many demerit points can affect your ability to drive, the cost of driving and the cost of insurance. Be street smart by keeping this crash course on demerits in Alberta in mind and keep those roads safe!

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Distracted Driving in Alberta [2019]

7. Demerits for Running a Stop Sign in Alberta

“You’re in a hurry to get things done, yeah, rushin’, rushin’ till…” you’re handed  a few demerit points for failing to stop at a stop sign. 

Failing to stop at both a stop sign, and an intersection where the lights are flashing red will earn drivers 3 demerit points in Alberta.

8. How Many Demerit Points Are Given for Speeding in Alberta?

In Alberta, the number of demerit points that are incurred depend on how fast, or how many kilometres over the speed limit, that you were driving at the time of the offence.

Here’s a quick look at the number of demerit points that are handed out for speeding in Alberta:

  • 2 demerit points for driving 15 km/h over 
  • 3 demerit points for driving 15 – 30 km/h over 
  • 4 demerit points for driving 30 – 50 km/h over 
  • 6 demerit points for driving more than 50 km/h over

In addition to these guidelines, there is also one last penalty for speeding and that is for driving at “an unreasonable rate.” This offence sees 4 demerit points being assigned. 

9. How Demerit Points Affect Your Auto Insurance

There’s no doubt that there is a relationship between demerit points and insurance. While we wish it weren’t true, demerit points do in fact affect insurance rates. 

While it isn’t exactly a black and white issue, drivers that have received demerits on their record will most likely have to deal with raised insurance rates. 

Handed a Few Demerit Points?

Handed a Few Demerit Points?

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In some cases, if the insurance company you are dealing with decides to consider you as a “tough” or “dangerous” client, they may decide that you will require high risk insurance. 

In this case, it really is best to speak with a professional insurance agent to explore all of your options and fully understand your situation. 

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6 Expert Winter Driving Tips for New Drivers

If there’s anyone in Canada who knows about snowy, icy, roads, it’s Albertans. Each winter, drivers in Edmonton are presented with challenging conditions and when it comes to new and less experienced drivers, a few winter driving tips are sure to help.

1.Three Point Check Before The Winter Months

Ensuring your vehicle is ready for the more challenging snowy and icy driving conditions ahead is a key component of safe winter driving. Be sure to check these 3 things on your vehicle before you hit the road this winter:

  • Check your vehicle’s wiper blades to ensure they are streak-free and provide an unobstructed view of the road
  • Have your brakes tested to ensure they provide firm braking capabilities
  • Check your tire tread to ensure they are in good form. Pro Tip: insert a nickel in the tire tread. If you are able to see the top of the Queen’s crown, the tread is insufficient.

2. Slow And Steady Wins The Race

Expect to experience slower travel speeds, congested roadways and collision delays, especially with first snowfalls.  Give yourself extra time to get to your destination.

3. Fuel Up

Rollin’ on empty? Think again. Keeping your gas tank at least half full will prevent gas line freeze-ups.

4. Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3

Not sure how a recent snow or rainfall has affected driving conditions? Before leaving your block, test your brake’s traction by braking suddenly. This will give you an  idea of how your vehicle will handle. Of course, be sure to check that there are no vehicles behind you before suddenly braking.

Remember, accidents raise auto insurance rates so be mindful behind the wheel.

5. Danger Zone

Take note of higher risk driving segments such as highways, deceleration or braking zones (stop lights, steep hills, curves or bends in the road). Bridges are also danger zones as they can ice more quickly than roads due to cold air passing above and below the driving surface.

6. Best Case Scenario

Did you know that the speed limit is actually just that – a limit? Speed limits are simply meant as a guideline for ideal driving conditions. Roads that are compromised by rain, snow, ice or fog are best navigated with a reduced speed, especially the danger zones listed above.

Help make Edmonton’s roads safer this winter by sharing these tips with the new and young drivers in your life. And remember, when it comes to auto insurance in Edmonton, keep your local neighbourhood insurance broker in mind, Sadler Insurance.

Save Your Neck: Adjust Your Headrest

When you get into your vehicle, one of the first things you probably do is buckle up your seat belt. Then, it’s a quick mirror check. But when is the last time you adjusted your headrest? Over 80% of insurance claims are due to soft tissue injuries to the upper body caused by collisions. Studies show that if drivers properly adjust their headrest they can reduce thee injuries by 40%.* These same studies tell us that only 23% of women and 7% of men have their headrests in the proper position. People don’t seem to realize that the headrest works in conjunction with your seatbelt to prevent your head and neck from twisting and/or snapping backwards.

So what is the right way to use your headrest?

You can suffer whiplash or other soft tissue injuries even at speeds of 15KM per hour so following these tips is essential:

  1. Position the top of the headrest in line with the top of your head.
  2. Make sure the distance between the headrest and your head is 5-10 CM.
  3. Always sit up straight when driving.
  4. If you have time to react during an accident, lean back into your headrest.

Having your headrest properly adjusted can save you a lot of headaches if you ever get into an accident.

For more driving and insurance tips, contact us now.

*http://www.hcrcwa.ca/downloads/insheadrest.pdf

Car Seats and Children: Your Safety Questions Answered

When can I switch to a booster seat? When can my child sit in the front seat?

Parents often have questions about what is safe and when to switch seats.

Car seats, booster seats and seatbelts save lives when positioned the proper way and also help avoid unnecessary injuries.

Keeping kids safe in vehicles is a  priority when driving.

Take a look below to find the answers to some frequently asked questions about children and car seats.

When can a child sit in the front seat of a vehicle in Alberta?

Among safety experts, it is agreed that children under the age of 12 should never sit in the front seat of a vehicle.

While your little one may put up a pretty good plea for sitting in the front seat, it really is safest to have children 12 and under ride in the back seat.

Age vs. weight recommendations: which one should I follow?

The general rule of thumb is to always follow the weight and height recommendations.  Because children of the same age can be substantially different sizes, age should be understood as only a secondary guideline.

Can I use my friend’s used car seat?

Although it may seem wasteful, car seats are a one-user item.

While some people may sell or give their “accident-free” car seats away, the fact is that the seat could have fallen off a shelf or been compromised in some other way.

It’s important to always use new car seats and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Can I let my baby sleep in his or her car seat?

When your baby falls asleep in the car seat it may be tempting to let him or her take a relaxing hour nap and not disturb their slumber.

A car seat, however does not provide an ideal sleeping position for their growing bodies.

If you’re out and about or on a road trip, let them sleep – but it shouldn’t be a substitute for a crib.

It’s important to understand that babies and children should never be left sleeping in an unattended vehicle for any length of time.

Is Your Family Covered?

Is Your Family Covered?

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When can my child ride in a forward-facing car seat or booster seat?

To reach this milestone your child must weigh over 22 pounds, be able to walk and be over 1 year of age.

Remember that children are safest in the backseat in rear-facing seats as they are less likely to be harmed by airbags in the event of a collision.

When is it time for a booster seat?

Alberta guidelines dictate that your child must weigh between 40 and 80 pounds and be at under 4’9” tall. They should fit well in the seat and not have the seat belt going across their necks. Remember that if you’re not using a high backed booster seat, there should be a head rest behind your child’s head.

When my child is not in the car can I leave my car seat in the back?

You most definitely can leave your car seat and booster in the car for convenience but it should be buckled up in case of a quick stop or accident so the passengers are not injured by the seat.

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RVing with Your Pet

travel dog‘Tis the season for RVing and no one wants to be left behind! Many travelers bring along their cats or dogs for fun with the whole family. Bringing the family pet can cause a bit of stress for both the pet and the pet’s parents if it is a new experience. Getting your pet ready for RV travel takes some planning and forethought. Here are 10 tips:

  1. Purchase and secure a travel case for your pet to lounge in while you are driving on the highway. This ensures the safety of the pet, the driver and passengers.
  2. Make sure your pet has the proper vaccinations and preventative medications. Research the area you are heading to and make sure you know what the possible hazards are (fleas, ticks, etc.) Also, bring your vet records with you in case you need to have proof of rabies shots, etc.
  3. Do a Google search on veterinarians in the area you are traveling to and bring a list with you. If your pet gets sick or injured you will know exactly where to go in a hurry.
  4. Is your pet’s brand of food is widely available? If not, make sure to bring enough food I an airtight container to last the whole trip. Changing brands while on vacation could result in an unhappy animal or a messy situation.
  5. Check out the rules at the site you are staying. Obviously they have to allow pets, but you may have to pay a fee for your furry companion or you may be zoned to a “pet area”.
  6. Bring a leash, collar, harness, etc. so your pet can be secured outside while you are there. You should never leave your pet tied up while you are gone as they could get tangled in the leash or become easy prey for wildlife.
  7. Have a waste cleanup plan! Bring baggies and a scooper with you and clean up a few times a day.
  8. Immediately dispose of leftover pet food to you don’t attract wildlife.
  9. If your pet is to be left alone in your RV while you are out make sure there is proper ventilation, water, food and a comfortable sleeping area. Put anything away that they might chew or that is a pet hazard. The may be more stressed than usual as they are having a new experience.
  10. Before you set out on any long journeys, start with short weekend jaunts to get your pet accustomed to RV life!

Is your RV properly insured? Call Sadler today for more information on recreational vehicle insurance.

 

 

 

Highway Driving Tips

Are you up on your highway driving etiquette? Or are you a new driver that is nervous about getting behind the wheel on Alberta’s highways? Whether you’re a newbie or a driving veteran, highway driving can be challenging if everyone has their own set of driving rules that differ from your expectations. Here are some basic highway driving tips to keep you and your family safe this long weekend and every weekend.

Staying alert is imperative on the highway. Drivers are unfortunately going to be driving at varying speeds and levels of aggressiveness so it’s in your best interest to be extremely alert. Make sure you plan for breaks so you can stretch, refuel, get coffee and snacks, etc. That way you can refresh your mind and your eyes so you’re fully ware of your fast paced surroundings.

When you are merging, do NOT stop on the highway entrance ramps. Make sure you get your vehicle up to the speed needed to enter the flow of traffic.

If someone is merging on to the highway and you are in the right lane, either move to the left lane nearest you (if it’s all clear) or be polite and adjust your speed accordingly to let the person merge on to the highway with you. This doesn’t mean slamming on any brakes; slight adjustments in your speed will most likely help the situation.

If you are not passing it’s best to stay in the right lane. The left lane is technically a passing lane.

Drive at the posted speed limit or within a few KM per hour above. Speeding and extremely slow driving are very dangerous on a busy highway. Also, be consistent with your speed.

Use your signal light when changing lanes and avoid making any sudden movements. Try to plan your lane change to be gradual.

Practice the “2-second Rule”: allow at least two seconds of room between you and the vehicle in front of you. (Watch as the car in front of you passes a stationary object like a fence and then count 2 seconds to make sure there is room between you.)

When driving near large commercial vehicles make sure you stay out of their blind spots and never cut them off when changing lanes as they need extra time to stop their trucks.

Be sure to practice safe driving on the highways and enjoy your long weekends in Alberta!

Call Sadler Insurance for all of your car insurance needs.

Is Your Dog a Driving Distraction?

Our partners at Aviva have brought a very good question to mind: Is your dog a driving distraction? Many people take their furryedmonton car insurance friends everywhere, but do they take the proper precautions so that Fido isn’t the cause of a fender bender (or worse)?  Read more about how you can safely transport your doggy.

Most people wouldn’t think twice about grabbing their pet and taking them for a ride in the car to run some errands or to visit friends and family. However, with an increased focus on distracted driving and overall driving safety, there is growing concern about pet safety in the car.

“Many people overlook the potential distraction that a pet can be, especially if they are loose in your vehicle. They can distract you from the road, impair your vision, and even attempt to climb on you while driving,” states Achiel Goossens, Senior Manager of Auto Claims with Aviva Canada. “This is why pet safety in cars is so important. Properly securing your pet will ensure both you and your pet are safe.”

There are a number tips that drivers can follow to ensure their pet is safe and secure when they go for a ride in the car. They include:

  • Don’t let your pets run loose in the car.
  • Don’t let your dog hang its head outside the window.
  • Secure your pets using a pet friendly seat belt or safety harness.
  • Small pets should be crated at all times.
  • Avoid letting your pets sit on your lap when driving.
  • Never leave your animal in the car unattended, especially in the summer months.
  • Consider installing a dog barrier in your vehicle if you have a hatchback, van or SUV.

Properly securing your pets and insuring they are safe in the car before you hit the road will give you one less distraction that you have to worry about. There are already enough things that require your attention on the road, and you pet should not be one of them.

For more information on car insurance, call Sadler today.

Article Source: Aviva Canada, a Sadler Insurance partner