Commuting to a place of work, running errands for home, school pickups and drop-offs… all these chores rely on your ability to drive from one place to another. Having your class 5 license allows you a sense of freedom without being dependent on anyone. As a regular commuter, having demerit points on your driving license can feel like no less than a curtailment of your freedom. It can impact both your professional and personal life.
So what are the demerit points, and what can you do to reduce them?
In simple terms, demerit points are penalty points that get attributed to your drivers license on conviction of a driving offence. The number of demerits incurred depends on the seriousness of the traffic violations and convictions.
Violations that can earn you demerit points on your driving license include speeding, careless driving, failing to stop for a police officer, tailgating, fleeing the scene of an accident, passing in a school zone, going the wrong way on a one-way road, racing, and distracted driving, to name a few. These are some of the common violations for which drivers get demerit points. It is beneficial to keep yourself updated on the extensive list of possible violations in your home province that can result in demerit points. The list for Alberta can be found in the current Traffic Safety Act.
A conviction is confirmed under one of these three circumstances: when you pay a fine on your ticket, when you appear in court and are found guilty, or in case of failure to appear in court and proven guilty in your absence. It is helpful to know that you can fight some of the convictions in court if you believe you are innocent. If you are convicted, then the demerit points will remain on your record for a period of two years from the date of conviction.
Now let’s get to the much-awaited question – what can you do to reduce these penalty points?
Reducing demerit points on your driver’s license is possible. You may undergo an approved defensive driving course that satisfies the Alberta Government’s requirements. According to the Alberta Traffic Safety Act, the defensive driving course must be completed before accumulating too many demerit points on your license — at the time of writing this blog, the Traffic Safety Act identifies that number to be 14 or fewer demerit points. If you exceed that number of points, you are not eligible to receive the demerit reduction. Successfully passing the course with an aggregate of 80% or higher will get you a certificate that can be submitted to your local registry. You will then be eligible for a reduction in up to three demerit points from your Alberta driving license. You must be mindful of the fact that not all defensive driving or driver improvement courses are approved by the government. Therefore you must be sure to take a course that is government-approved.
Although it’s possible to remove demerit points from your driver’s license with a government-approved course, prevention still remains the best way forward. So, pay attention to the traffic rules and enjoy stress-free driving.
For more defensive driving information, explore our driver training programs at Fleet Safety International. Our courses help new drivers, commuters, corporate and commercial drivers learn the SAFER™ System of defensive driving. To sign up for a defensive driving course or in-vehicle training at our driving school in Calgary, get in touch with us today to see how we can help!