Lifetime Driving License Ban For Car Thieves In Ontario, Proposes Ford Government

Doug Ford government proposes 10-year licence suspension for 1st offence, lifetime for 3rd offence.

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In a bid to curb the rising menace of car theft and street racing in Ontario, proposed amendments to the Highway Traffic Act could result in lengthy licence bans for repeat offenders. Transportation Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria and Solicitor General Michael Kerzner are slated to unveil these measures during a highly anticipated news briefing scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Under the proposed changes put forth by the Ford government, a first-time conviction for auto theft involving violence, weapon use, force, or driven by financial motives could lead to a severe 10-year driver’s licence suspension. For subsequent offenses, the suspension period could be extended to 15 years for a second conviction and a lifetime ban on driving for a third.

“Driving is a privilege, not a right. If you’re shameful enough to prey on other members of the community for your own reckless gain, you’ll lose that privilege,” Transportation Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria said Tuesday.

Minister Sarkaria emphasized the psychological trauma inflicted upon victims of car theft, labeling it as a cowardly act. Statistics paint a grim picture, with a staggering rate of one car stolen every 14 minutes across Ontario.

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“It is unacceptable that people are being forced out of their vehicles at gunpoint and forced to look over their shoulders while pumping gas or pulling into driveways,” Sarkaria added.

Notably, Toronto’s Chief of Police, Myron Demkiw, disclosed alarming figures in mid-March, revealing a shocking incident of vehicle theft occurring every 40 minutes within the city limits during 2023. Furthermore, the onset of 2024 witnessed a disturbing surge in carjackings, more than doubling compared to the previous year. Instances of home break-ins specifically targeting vehicle theft have already surpassed the entire count recorded in 2023.

In addition to tackling auto theft, the proposed legislation, expected to be introduced on Thursday, aims to impose stricter penalties on street racers. For instance, a first conviction could mandate a minimum one-year licence suspension, escalating to a permanent revocation of driving privileges upon a third conviction.

Stunt driving, encompassing reckless behaviors such as high-speed driving and racing, will also face heightened scrutiny. Government data revealed a staggering 12,000 roadside suspensions issued in 2023 for street racing and stunt driving, marking the highest figures recorded since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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