The topics in the Dial-A-Law series provide general information on legal issues within the Province of Alberta. The purpose of this topic is to inform you of your legal rights and responsibilities. This is not legal advice. If you require legal advice, you should contact a lawyer.
This topic will discuss the demerit point system in Alberta.
Alberta has a demerit point system where demerit points are accumulated against your driver’s licence if you are convicted of certain traffic offences. Demerit points are assigned to a client’s driving record in accordance with the Traffic Safety Act, the Demerit Point Program and Service of Documents Regulation. If you accumulate or receive too many demerit points you can lose your licence and your insurance premiums may increase.
For fully (non-GDL) licensed drivers (Class 5 drivers), automatic suspensions are issued as follows:
- If you receive at least 8 but less than 15 demerit points, you will receive a cautionary notice in the mail.
- If you receive at least 15 points within a 2-year period, your license is automatically suspended for one month.
- If you receive a second suspension within a year, your license will be suspended for 3 months.
- If you receive a third or subsequent suspension within 2 years, your license will be suspended for 6 months. You may also be required to appear before the Alberta Transportation Safety Board for a hearing.
Where a suspension ends, your license will be reinstated with 7 demerit points that will remain on your driving record for 2 years following reinstatement.
For graduated driver’s license drivers, automatic suspensions are issued as follows:
- If you receive at least 4 but less than 8 demerit points, you will receive a cautionary notice in the mail.
- If you receive at least 8 points within a 2-year period, your license is automatically suspended for one month.
- If you receive a second suspension within a year, your license will be suspended for 3 months. You will also be required to appear before the Alberta Transportation Safety Board for a hearing.
- If you receive a third or subsequent suspension within 2 years, your license will be suspended for 6 months. You will also be required to appear before the Board for a hearing.
Where a suspension ends, your license will be reinstated with 3 demerit points that will remain on your driving record for 2 years following reinstatement.
The Alberta Transportation Safety Board may suspend your licence if they consider you have a poor driving record based on the number of demerit points you have accumulated, for however long they see fit, including indefinitely. Prior to the suspension of your licence, you will receive at least 10-day written notice of the hearing. You may attend the hearing to give your statement with or without the presence of a lawyer. Among other things, the Board will consider your driving record from the last 10 years, your attitude toward driving, your driving skills and disabilities, and written comments from relevant sources, when making their final decision.
If a Suspension Order is issued, there may be conditions that must be completed before the licence will be given back. There is also a fee that must be paid before the licence is returned. There is no appeal against a suspension of your driver’s licence for accumulating too many demerit points, unless you can prove the demerit points were issued in error.
Demerit points will begin to accumulate on your licence from the date of conviction and will remain on your driving record for 2 years from the date of conviction. The date of conviction is the date in which you pay the fine or are found guilty/guilty in absence, not the date on which you received the fine.
Some common traffic offences carry the following number of demerit points:
You will receive 7 demerit points for:
- Failing to remain at the scene of an accident
You will receive 6 demerit points for:
- Speeding by more than 50 km/hr over the speed limit
- Careless driving
- Racing, including driving on a highway on a bet or wager
- Failure to stop for a school bus
You will receive 5 demerit points for:
- Failing to stop, and provide information to a peace officer
- Failing to stop at a railway crossing not controlled by a traffic control signal (if driving a school bus, driving a vehicle which carries explosive substances as cargo, or driving a vehicle used for carrying flammable liquids or gas as cargo)
You will receive 4 demerit points for:
- Speeding more than 30 km/hr but not more than 50 km/hr over the limit
- Speeding at an unreasonable rate
- Following too closely
- Failing to yield right of way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk
- Passing another vehicle stopped at a crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross
You will receive 3 demerit points for:
- Distracted driving
- Driving left of centre lane
- Speeding more than 15 km/hr but not more than 30 km/hr over the limit
- Passing another vehicle in a playground or school zone, or improper passing
- Driving on the wrong side of the road or highway
- Blocking passing vehicles
- Failing to stop before entering a highway, or driveway
- Failing to yield to a pedestrian at a green light, flashing yellow light or alley entrance
- Failing to stop for traffic signs (ex. stop signs or yield signs), or proceeding before it is safe to do so
- Failing to stop at traffic lights (red and yellow) including flashing lights
- Failing to report an accident
You will receive 2 demerit points for:
- Speeding up to 15 km/hr over the speed limit
- Failing to obey a traffic control device
- Traffic lane violation including driving near the centre line, passing on a solid line, and straddling two lanes
- Slow driving impeding traffic
- Failing to change lanes safely, or failing to signal change
- Improper turns, including U turns
- Improper backing
- Failure to signal
- Failure to abide by curfew (no driving from midnight until 5 am for Class 7 Learners)
- Having more passengers than seat belts (GLD drivers)
- Supervisor not fully qualified (GDL drivers)
To see all associated demerit points to certain traffic offences, refer to Schedules 1 and 2 of the Demerit Point Program and Service of Documents Regulation.
You may find out how many demerit points you have against your licence at any Alberta Registry. There is a fee to obtain a driver’s abstract. You may take an approved defensive driving course before you reach 15 demerit points on your licence which will result in 3 points being taken off your licence. This can only be done once every 2 years. Your license will be reinstated when your demerit points are down to only 7 demerit points.
If you want more information regarding demerit points levied against your licence for specific offences, contact an Alberta Registry at 780-427-7013 or toll free at 310-0000 if you do not live in the Edmonton area.
Dial-A-Law is a Calgary Legal Guidance public service project funded in part by the Alberta Law Foundation.