Getting parking and speeding fines abroad

December 1, 2014

Did you get pulled over for speeding? Or perhaps you want to know what happens if you do get a parking ticket while travelling abroad. Here’s how it works.

Getting parking and speeding fines abroad

Driving offences in the USA

There is no all-encompassing agreement between the 50 states and the Canadian provinces and territories for exchanging information about driving records and driving infractions. Each state and province must have an agreement for this to be possible. Whether potential demerit points will affect your insurance premiums in Canada depends on the state you were driving in and whether they have an agreement with your province or not.

As for fines, you should pay any traffic violation fines to the traffic court of the state in question. In some cases, you will be able to pay by credit card once you get back home, but traffic courts in some states don’t offer this service. In that case, you’ll need to mail in a cheque. If you don’t pay a fine, most states don’t have much recourse for obtaining that payment from you. But if you return to that state with an unpaid traffic violation under your name, that unpaid fine may come back to haunt you.

Traffic violations in Europe

European countries have an ever increasing number of speeding cameras set up. Because you’ll likely be using a rental car in Europe, the car rental company will end up fining you for any unpaid tickets incurred while using their car. Most companies will automatically bill you on the same credit card you used to rent the car. Plus, most agencies add a handling fee on top of your fine.

You won’t get any demerit points as the systems in European countries are not linked to the Canadian system.

Infractions in Asia and Oceania

If you’re renting a car in a country in Asia or Oceania, you’ll most likely have to deal with the car rental company just as in Europe. The same applies for demerit points.

All in all, you’re better off paying any fines incurred abroad just to avoid any future problems. In the case that you have ties to a country or plan to revisit, paying fines is imperative. Some countries in Europe have been known to use border patrol officers to ensure no drivers have outstanding fines. This is something that could hypothetically start happening anywhere in the world. In most cases, if you are caught with unpaid fines to your name, you’ll be asked to pay the fine in cash. However, it is not unheard of that drivers were held until a court appearance after refusing or not being able to pay upfront. Play it safe and just pay those fines. At least you’ll have peace of mind!

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