Automotive

Traffic light ticket in USA while driving rental car. Pay or no pay?

  • Last Updated:
  • Dec 30th, 2019 2:49 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 22, 2016
50 posts
10 upvotes

Traffic light ticket in USA while driving rental car. Pay or no pay?

So I got traffic light ticket in USA while driving a local rental car (fined $200 USD). I was not even aware. I guess the rental car application has my home address info in Toronto so I got a mail from city of Chicago to ask me to make payment online. But the problem is that it asks me to pay with credit card, but no option to select Toronto and fill in Canadian postal code. So the credit card payment does not go thur.

Will not paying traffic light ticket impact my Canadian driving record and credit score in Canada? I am not American and do not intend to live in US.


If I go US again, I probably will use my wife driver license.

just want to hear you guys input! Thanks!
16 replies
Member
Nov 13, 2016
340 posts
198 upvotes
Were you ticketed by an officer? Or was this an automated camera ticket?

Something doesn't add up.

CD
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 22, 2016
50 posts
10 upvotes
it was an automated camera ticket. The letter says it is generated by automated speed enforcement system
Deal Addict
Feb 24, 2007
4010 posts
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There must be some kind of web address or phone number you can use to check if it is a legit official ticket or not.
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Jr. Member
Nov 13, 2013
105 posts
130 upvotes
Toronto
Usually if it's a rental car the Rental company will charge the card they had on file when you did signed for the rental as per the agreement. The ticket should have gone directly to the rental company as they are the owners of the plates /car.

These tickets usually have no impact on the drivers record as they cannot prove who was driving, but them having your information then I'd just pay the ticket if you were actually aware that you ran the light. Who knows when you go down next and get pulled over in Illinois, it will just create an unnecessary headache.

If you could appeal to the ticket and state you are not the owner of the vehicle in question of the violation, but then I assume the rental company would still charge your card in the case they received the same ticket. I'm not sure how long they have to charge your card, but recently got a speeding fine 6 weeks after returning from Belgium on my card, the rental company did email me to make me aware of the infraction and that I would be charged. I was aware of the violation so didn't have any issue paying it
[OP]
Newbie
Oct 22, 2016
50 posts
10 upvotes
yeah. The funny thing is that the rental car company still did not charge my credit card and it have been 6 months.
Deal Addict
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Jun 12, 2008
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Ancaster
Most US States have a traffic violations reciprocity so they have a "one license one record" way of thinking in regards to violations.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_v ... eciprocity

With that in mind, if you don't pay a traffic ticket in Canada you are assumed not to be contesting it and a conviction is registered. If you don't pay the fine then your license is suspended. According to the US/Canada reciprocity agreement this unpaid US traffic cam ticket could result in your Canadian Driver's License being suspended. I'd say you should find out how to go about paying that ticket if you've confirmed it is legitimate.
Deal Fanatic
Oct 26, 2008
6083 posts
1764 upvotes
BC
nielboy wrote: ..... if you don't pay a traffic ticket in Canada you are assumed not to be contesting it and a conviction is registered. If you don't pay the fine then your license is suspended.

According to the US/Canada reciprocity agreement this unpaid US traffic cam ticket could result in your Canadian Driver's License being suspended ......
To clarify this,
an unpaid ticket in Canada does not mean that your driver licence is suspended.
It means that when your renewal comes up, you will be required to pay the fine before your licence is renewed.

an unpaid ticket in the U.S. does not lead to a licence suspension.
If a reciprocity agreement applies, your home jurisdiction can elect to collect the fine on behalf of the U.S. jurisdiction when your driver licence comes up for renewal.
In the meantime, the U.S. jurisdiction can flag your Canadian licence to deny you driving privileges in their State. But that is not a suspension of your licence.

The only ways your current driver licence can be suspended instantly are in essence:
- by a court order in Canada
- by a Canadian police officer at the side of the road
- by the regulatory body in your province (in which case you are notified by letter)
Deal Addict
User avatar
Sep 9, 2012
3737 posts
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Oakville, ON
nielboy wrote: Most US States have a traffic violations reciprocity so they have a "one license one record" way of thinking in regards to violations.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_v ... eciprocity

With that in mind, if you don't pay a traffic ticket in Canada you are assumed not to be contesting it and a conviction is registered. If you don't pay the fine then your license is suspended. According to the US/Canada reciprocity agreement this unpaid US traffic cam ticket could result in your Canadian Driver's License being suspended. I'd say you should find out how to go about paying that ticket if you've confirmed it is legitimate.
For the most part the reciprocity or compacts you refer to only apply within the USA, Mexico, or Canada and do NOT apply across international boundaries.

There are a few exceptions:

“Ontario only has a reciprocal agreement for driving convictions with the rest of Canada, New York and Michigan,” the MTO’s Nichols said. “Therefore any driving convictions obtained in any other jurisdiction would not be applied to an Ontario driving record.”

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.theglob ... sdictions/


That said, although this ticket from Illinois won’t follow OP to Ontario it would still be a good idea to pay it and have peace of mind that you’re not going to somehow be haunted by it on a subsequent return to either Illinois or the US. Since OP got the ticket in the mail, his licence plate, name, and address are in a database somewhere to track whether or not the violation has been paid for. I wouldn’t want a petty unpaid violation ruining my next vacation.

And as an additional note, that expensive fine will only get more expensive when the Rental company eventually pays it and adds a hefty processing fee on top.
Newbie
Dec 27, 2014
73 posts
59 upvotes
Toronto, ON
macnut wrote: To clarify this,
an unpaid ticket in Canada does not mean that your driver licence is suspended.
It means that when your renewal comes up, you will be required to pay the fine before your licence is renewed.

an unpaid ticket in the U.S. does not lead to a licence suspension.
If a reciprocity agreement applies, your home jurisdiction can elect to collect the fine on behalf of the U.S. jurisdiction when your driver licence comes up for renewal.
In the meantime, the U.S. jurisdiction can flag your Canadian licence to deny you driving privileges in their State. But that is not a suspension of your licence.

The only ways your current driver licence can be suspended instantly are in essence:
- by a court order in Canada
- by a Canadian police officer at the side of the road
- by the regulatory body in your province (in which case you are notified by letter)
You will still get a driver's licence suspension if you don't pay your fines.

As you note above, you will receive a registered letter that will notify you of your suspension. This is enough notice so that if you get stopped, you could be charged with driving under suspension. You will also face reinstatement fees ($281)

https://www.ontario.ca/page/reinstate-s ... rs-licence

Just an FYI
Deal Guru
User avatar
Jun 12, 2007
14958 posts
4195 upvotes
London
CanadianLurker wrote: ...
And as an additional note, that expensive fine will only get more expensive when the Rental company eventually pays it and adds a hefty processing fee on top.
I'm more surprised the rental car company hasn't done this already. Isn't it usually the cost of the ticket (plus late fees) with an extra $50 US or $100 US handling fee?

Edit ......Researching this some more.:

There's company called American Traffic Solutions (ATS) that leases red-light cameras and photo radar cameras to the various US cities. As part of the lease, ATS takes care of the camera installations as well as providing the processing of violations. The big car rental companies also have a contract with ATS to handle collection of violations involving their fleets. The rental companies pass your contact/ driver's license and credit card info to ATS who in turn takes care of the collection of the fines, adding a $30 US fee

https://www.thenewspaper.com/news/31/3193.asp

....At least four of the country's top rental car firms sell information on their customers to a photo enforcement firm. American Traffic Solutions and its subsidiary, ATS Processing Services, signed contracts through which Avis, Budget, Hertz and Advantage agreed to hand over information on renters so that ATS can collect extra money on photo tickets....
Last edited by l69norm on Dec 30th, 2019 1:16 pm, edited 4 times in total.
Deal Fanatic
May 1, 2012
9177 posts
7696 upvotes
Markham
Why is there even a discussion here?
If you don't pay the fine, the rental company will just charge it to you + whatever handling fee they tack on it. It only gets more expensive.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Sep 9, 2012
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Oakville, ON
l69norm wrote: I'm more surprised the rental car company hasn't done this already. Isn't it usually the cost of the ticket (plus late fees) with an extra $50 US or $100 US handling fee?
Indeed, it’s usually the case that they jump in and pay the fine, add fees, and put it through the card on file.

There’s also some innovation in this area where service companies get a data feed on tolls/violations on behalf of fleets and they redirect them to drivers to give the driver a first crack at paying. Then, only if it still goes unpaid, the fleet steps in and pays to keep the registration clean. Maybe the Rental company is subscribing to a seri e like this in order to save administration costs.

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