Ontario will start banning car thieves from driving

To curb rising auto theft in the province, the Ontario government is taking a page out of our parents’ playbook and threatening to take away driving privileges: A new law will introduce driver's licence suspensions of at least 10 years for some convicted car thieves.

  • Auto theft insurance claims in Ontario surpassed $1 billion last year, up from $160 million in 2018. According to early data from this year, the thefts aren’t slowing down.  

Why it matters: Car thieves already face the prospect of up to 18 months in jail. Whether the threat of a suspended licence will make them reconsider is unclear, but with 90,000 cars stolen annually, ‘no idea is a bad idea’ might be the new directive at Queen’s Park. 

  • Toronto Star’s newsletter writer Andrew Potter tweeted, “‘Damn, I would definitely steal that car tonight — if only I had a driver’s license!’— things that have never been said.”

Yes, but: Research has shown that increasing the severity of a punishment doesn’t really dissuade criminals… since no one ever thinks they’ll get caught. The real deterrent — one that’s harder to put into practice — is making it more likely that car thieves get charged.—LA