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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Man, 85, clocked at 100 mph in snow, ice

TORONTO -- An 85-year-old motorist lost his license and his Oldsmobile for a week and likely faces a hefty fine after becoming the oldest person snagged to date by a new Ontario law aimed at cracking down on street racers, even though he was just speeding.

The man, whose name was not released, was driving on a highway north of Toronto Wednesday when he was allegedly clocked doing 100 mph, 40 mph over the posted speed limit.

"He said he was going to the bank and shopping," said Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Cam Woolley, who noted snow and ice made road conditions treacherous at the time.

Under new provincial legislation, billed last year by Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner Julian Fantino as a "shock and awe" campaign, drivers who exceed the speed limit by 31 mph or more stand to lose both their vehicle and license for one week, along with a fine of at least $2002.

While no other drivers were involved in Wednesday's incident, Woolley said the legislation - ostensibly aimed at ridding city streets and highways of street racers - is intended to crack down on all aggressive drivers.

"It got silly - we were getting crashes at high speeds and the defense was, `Well, if they weren't racing someone, then they weren't racing,' even though the consequences are the same," he said.

Police statistics show that more than 2,300 drivers across the province have been charged under the legislation since it became law on Sept. 30, 2007.

Most of those charged have been men in their mid-20s to mid-30s. But in the past three months, 20 drivers aged 65 and older, including three women, have been charged under the new Ontario law.

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