Safety League: It's your responsibility to know status of your license

A 40-year-old Toronto man's story should remind you it's your responsibility to know the status of your driver's license, according to the Ontario Safety League.

James Strachan tells the Toronto Star that when he was stopped for speeding in 2013, he forgot to pay the ticket and didn't do so until five months later.

He found out when he was pulled over last month that his license has been suspended all this time because of the late payment.

Because Strachan's license was suspended for more than three years, it can't just simply be reinstated by paying a fine. He has to start over again by taking the G1 test.

He blames the ministry of transportation for not alerting him to the suspension when he was renewing his license plate sticker over the years.

Brian Patterson with the Ontario Safety League says it's the responsibility of the driver to know the status of their license. He says if you are unsure because of a ticket you received or a late payment, you can easily check with Service Ontario.

Patterson says it's fair to require a driver with a license suspended for three years to go through the graduated licensing system again, because the government can't take their word for it that they are still knowledgable drivers.

"The fact of the matter is, that is the safest way," Patterson says.

He adds that the story brings up a statistic that is of greater risk to other drivers. He says it is estimated that about 1 per cent of drivers on the road have suspended licenses, and some of them are dangerous drivers who know about the suspension but are trying to get away with driving again.

The OPP have equipped some of their vehicles with automatic license plate scanners, and Patterson says that is helping police find the drivers who have issues with their license.