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Ontario will suspend driver’s licenses for convicted car thieves for at least 10 years

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TORONTO (AP) — Canada’s most populous province announced Tuesday it will suspend driver’s licenses for at least 10 years for those who have been convicted of stealing a car.

Ontario Transportation Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria said those convicted three times of auto theft would have their licenses suspended for life.

Penalties will increase on second and third convictions.

Sarkaria said a car is stolen every 14 minutes in Ontario, which has a population of about 15.6 million. Car thefts in the province have increased dramatically in recent years, especially in Toronto, the largest city in Canada, leaving many residents frustrated.

Authorities have said thieves target relatively new vehicles, including high-end pickup trucks and SUVs, which are then exported to markets in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South America.

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

Sarkaria said the province is also implementing stiffer penalties including a one-year license suspension for those convicted of stunt driving.

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