EU member approves giving drunk drivers’ cars to Ukraine
The Latvian parliament has allowed the government to donate vehicles seized from members of the public to Ukraine. The new power will be applied by ministers to cars confiscated for traffic violations, such as driving under the influence of alcohol.
The legal change, an amendment approved in a landslide vote on Thursday, was promoted by lawmaker Raimonds Bergmanis, chairman of parliament’s Defense, Internal Affairs and Corruption Prevention Commission.
“Currently, we can utilize vehicles confiscated from drunk drivers by selling them, scrapping them or disassembling them for spare parts,” he explained, according to the parliamentary website. “But we see that in the current conditions they would be a useful support for the people of Ukraine.”
MPs gave the Latvian cabinet the right to decide on a case-by-case basis, whether a state-impounded car should be donated.
The law authorizing the seizure of cars from drunk drivers entered into force in December, and was used against 215 people in the first month, according to local media.
The Latvian agency responsible for handling state property said at the time that it may need extra funding to provide additional storage space for confiscated vehicles.
The Latvian Justice Ministry predicted that around 2,500 cases would be prosecuted annually under the new law. It allows a driver to buy back their car at full cost, before a certain deadline.