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Ontario bill would chase out-of-province drivers for fines

Traffic backs up for more than 6 kilometres as emergency crews and tow truck work on clearing some of the approximately 50 vehicles involved in a chain reaction collision on the eastbound 401 highway near, Ingersol, Ont., Feb. 1, 2013.

Dave Chidley/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Scofflaw drivers from other provinces should no longer get a free ride, says Ontario Transportation Minister Glen Murray, who plans to introduce legislation next month to let municipalities recoup costs.

Under the plan, which would have to pass the minority legislature, those guilty of a list of common driving offences are among those who will have to pay up. Municipalities will be able to go back seven years to chase these drivers, potentially raising hundreds of millions of dollars.

"There are about $350-million in outstanding fines," Mr. Murray explained Wednesday after announcing the legislation as keynote speaker at a joint conference of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association and the Ontario Good Roads Association, where the proposal drew applause.

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"Every 1 per cent increase in fine collection is about $2.5-million, so there's potentially $100-million a year in more revenue right now for municipalities just from better enforcement of the law," he added. For those "who are successfully getting away with avoiding their responsibilities, we will have a better toolkit to make sure that they're compliant with the law."

Under the plan, the offences being targeted include speeding, improper lane changes, illegal turns, driving with no insurance and careless driving. Drivers who avoid paying may be denied a licence plate, making them easy to spot on the road.

"People, we find, drive without drivers' licences to avoid costs; there's enough people doing that that it's becoming a problem," Mr. Murray said. "If you [target] a licence plate it's a lot harder to avoid that. It's pretty easy for police to notice if you're trying to drive a car without a licence plate on it. Or with an expired plate on it."

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About the Author

Oliver Moore joined the Globe and Mail's web newsroom in 2000 as an editor and then moved into reporting. A native Torontonian, he served four years as Atlantic Bureau Chief and has worked also in Afghanistan, Grenada, France, Spain and the United States. More

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