Where Do Canadian Drivers Get the Most NYS Traffic Tickets?

By: Adam H. Rosenblum Esq. Published: 11/4/19

Canadia

As a border state with Canada, New York is a common road trip destination for drivers from Ontario and Quebec. It’s also a common place for Canadians to get traffic tickets. New data from the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles shows which of the state’s 62 counties give out the most tickets to drivers with Canadian licenses. While some counties such as Erie and Jefferson are obvious suspects, there are some surprising culprits on the list.

Canadian drivers would be mistaken to assume that a traffic ticket issued in New York is not a big deal. New York has a Reciprocal Agreement with Ontario and Quebec, which allows the provincial and state governments to communicate when a driver is convicted of a traffic offense. That means, in addition to paying the fine, Canadians who plead guilty to a NY traffic can end up getting demerit points assessed on their driver’s license. The ticket will also appear on their driving record, resulting in a potential auto insurance increase that can last for years.  

NY Counties that Ticket the Most Canadians

Available data includes figures for Canadian drivers who received speeding, texting, cell phone, seat belt and driving while impaired tickets in New York State. We’ve added these figures so one can see which counties were ticketing the most Canadians based on available data.

According to the data, Jefferson County, which sits across the international border from Leeds and Grenville United Counties in Ontario gave out 1,937 tickets to Canadian drivers, the highest figure of any NY county. Erie, across from Canada’s Niagara Region, came in second, issuing 1,380 tickets to Canadians.

While other border counties in NY such as Niagara and Clinton were also among the top 10, others, such as St. Lawrence and Franklin weren’t even in the top 15. Meanwhile, more southern counties such as Broome, home to SUNY Binghamton, and Steuben handed out enough tickets to Canadians to rank among the top 10. 

Total NY Tickets for speeding, texting, cell phone, seat belt and driving while impaired issued to Canadians (2018)

NY CountyTotal Tickets
JEFFERSON1,937
ERIE1,380
CLINTON1,027
ESSEX1,020
WARREN636
BROOME537
CHAUTAUQUA468
STEUBEN429
CORTLAND386
NIAGARA341

NY Counties Where Canadians Get the Most Speeding Tickets

It should come as no surprise that speeding tickets are the most commonly issued ticket for Canadian drivers in the U.S.; after all, it is also the most commonly issued ticket in New York State overall. In 2018, Canadians received an estimated 11,400 speeding tickets in New York. In fact, speeding tickets make up 95% of all NY tickets given to Canadians for which there is data. Because of this, the list of counties that give out the most tickets, in general, is identical to the list of counties that give out the most tickets in general.

 

NY Counties Where Canadians Get the Most Non-Speeding Tickets

Canadians who don’t have a habit of speeding but who do commit other traffic violations such as texting and not wearing a seat belt might want to avoid Brooklyn and Manhattan. Those two counties gave out the most and third-most non-speeding tickets to Canadians in 2018, respectively. In Brooklyn, 46% of those tickets were for seat belt violations. The rest were evenly split among cell phone and texting tickets. It’s worth noting that there was no data on driving while impaired violations in any of New York City’s five boroughs.

Border counties such as Clinton and Erie made the second- and fourth-place spot for most non-speeding tickets to Canadians. They are followed by Queens, Essex, and Warren counties. 

CountyTotal Non-Speeding
BROOKLYN80
CLINTON67
MANHATTAN53
ERIE42
QUEENS36
ESSEX21
WARREN18
ST. LAWRENCE16
JEFFERSON11
ALBANY11

Proportion of Tickets to Canadians

While the number of tickets written to Canadians is important, the overall percentage of tickets is equally if not more important. For example, 34% of all traffic tickets written in Clinton County in 2018 went to Canadian drivers. So, while it may not have written the largest quantity, it gave out the largest share of tickets to Canadians of any NY county. By comparison, Canadian drivers received less than 4% of all traffic tickets written in Erie County last year. 

NY CountyProportion of Tickets to Canadians
CLINTON33.89%
ESSEX28.26%
JEFFERSON21.72%
WARREN15.85%
FRANKLIN9.65%
CORTLAND7.47%
WYOMING6.86%
LIVINGSTON6.82%
ST. LAWRENCE6.76%
BROOME5.06%

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