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Following too closely while driving

Region: Ontario Answer # 525

The offence of driving too closely is found under Section 158 of Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act It is committed when a driver follows another vehicle at a distance that is not reasonable and prudent. This is a difficult offence for a prosecutor to prove.

The exact definition of a reasonable and prudent distance will depend on the road conditions, and the street or highway you were on.

Penalties

The penalties for following too closely  can include:

  • a ticket or a summons (a summons is generally issued in more serious cases)
  • a fine
  • four (4) demerit points
  • thirty (30) day licence suspension for G1, G2, M1 and M2 drivers

As well a conviction for following too closely

  • stays on your driving record for 3 years, and
  • can affect your insurance rates

As a defence to the charge of following too closely, you could argue that the distance you were following was reasonable. Some people try to argue that their brakes failed. The court is usually very skeptical about this excuse, so unless you have proof it is probably not worthwhile to use this defence.

If you want to fight a ticket of following too closely by arguing that you were following at a reasonable distance, you should prepare your argument. You should know the distance between you and the vehicle you were following, the action you took to avoid the accident, the action taken by the other vehicle that affected your vehicle, and the time span involved.

Get help

View the Ontario Highway Traffic Act for more information on provincial offences.

If you have a criminal record because of a criminal driving offence (or any other criminal charge), and wish to erase your record, call toll-free 1-888-808-3628 or learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.

For legal advice and representation to fight a traffic ticket, contact our preferred Highway Traffic paralegals, Nicola (Nick) Giannantonio Legal Services.


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