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Solicitor General Michael Kerzner (l) and Transportation Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria, May 14, 2024. Screen shot

Increase license suspension for vehicle theft/stunt driving

By Randy Thoms May 14, 2024 | 2:37 PM

The provincial government is looking to bring in new penalties against those convicted of stunt driving or vehicle theft.

Proposed legislation calls for vehicle thieves to face a 10-year driver’s licence suspension for a first offence, a 15-year suspension for the second and a lifetime ban upon the third conviction.

The suspensions would apply to convictions where the court found that aggravating factors were involved, such as violence, use of a weapon, use of force, threat, or pursuit of financial gain.

Transportation Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria says it sends a message to thieves.

“If you’re shameful enough to prey on other members of the community for your own reckless gain, you’ll lose that privilege,” says Sarkaria.

“I know this isn’t a silver bullet, and more changes working with the federal government to achieve meaningful reforms are needed. But the joke is on criminals if they think Ontario is going to stand by and not do our part.”

Sarkaria says he would like the federal government to put in place minimum sentencing for vehicle theft and increase inspections of cargo at rail yards and ports to look for stolen vehicles.

The province is also proposing to strengthen the penalties for stunt driving, also referred to as street racing, which also includes a lifetime driving ban upon the third conviction.

This could be reduced to 10 years under certain criteria.

The province defines stunt driving as driving 50 kilometres per hour or more over the speed limit, 40 kilometres per hour more on roads and streets where the speed limit is less than 80 kilometres per hour.

Solicitor General Michael Kerzner says drivers caught breaking the law need to be held accountable.

“Ontarians do not deserve to be driving safely and have an irresponsible driver fly past them. Putting innocent lives, including their own, at risk. In the simplest of terms, speed kills,” says Kerzner.

“All too often, we see drivers disobey the speed limits across the province, and this is unacceptable, especially for the diligent drivers that follow the law.”

Drivers now face fines and license suspensions of up to six months upon a first conviction.