vehicles confiscatedIf you drive drunk in Latvia, the Ukrainian military will be happy
The Eastern European country has one of the highest rates of people driving under the influence of alcohol. Since last year, the government has been able to sell confiscated cars – or donate them.
That’s what it’s about
On Thursday, a car transport with eight cars made its way from Riga to Kiev.
The vehicles were previously confiscated from their owners, who were found to be intoxicated.
Latvia, which is one of the countries with the most blue drivers, made confiscations possible at the end of 2022 with a change in the law.
A convoy of eight passenger cars left the Latvian capital Riga on Wednesday – they are due to cross the border into Ukraine shortly. It is the first convoy to leave for Kiev under the initiative approved by the Latvian parliament last month. The deputies approved the vehicles confiscated by the Latvian government to be donated to the Ukrainian military for medical and other purposes.
Many Latvians drive drunk
Late last year, the Latvian government approved a change in the law that would allow the government to confiscate and auction off the cars of drivers who had exceeded the legal blood alcohol limit of 1.5 per mil and still got behind the wheel. As in Switzerland, Latvia also has a permitted maximum of 0.5 per mille – there is a good reason why people who exceed this value by at least three times are punished particularly severely by having their vehicles confiscated.
Because according to the BBC, which cites public broadcaster LSM, Latvia has one of the highest rates of drunk driving in Europe, with around 3,500 reported incidents a year. The change in law led to a rapid increase in the number of confiscated vehicles, filling state depots within weeks.
Authorities then pledged to give 24 vehicles each week to Twitter Convoy, a Latvian charity that donates cars to Ukraine. “No one expected that so many people would drive under the influence of alcohol,” Poznaks told Reuters. “They are not able to dispose of the vehicles as fast as people are drinking. That’s why I came up with the idea of shipping them to Ukraine.”
Russia flag on a car
According to the Latvian website Delfi, the first eight cars had a total value of a good 18,000 francs. According to Reuters, a Russian flag was still attached to one of the vehicles, which probably came from the original owner.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Latvia, about a quarter of whose population is ethnic Russian, immediately blocked numerous websites alleged to have disseminated pro-Kremlin propaganda. Vladimir Putin has repeatedly cited the conflict in Ukraine as an example of the Kremlin protecting Russian speakers in other countries.
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