Drunk Drivers in Latvia Lose Their Cars to Ukraine War Effort
The first delivery of cars seized from drunk drivers in Latvia set off for Ukrainian front lines Wednesday as part of a new program designed to keep drunks off the streets and assist in the war effort against Russia.
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Latvia’s new law allowing the government to seize the vehicles of any driver found behind the wheel at three times the legal blood alcohol content level went into effect on the first of this year. The program has proven to be a little too successful. The country has the highest rate of drunk driving in all of Europe, BBC reports, with 4,300 drivers found to be driving over the legal limit last year.
In the first two months of 2023, authorities seized 200 vehicles from severely sauced drivers. With impound lots quickly filling up the government found it could not auction them off fast enough to make room for even more.
Instead the government has vowed to send two dozen cars a week to the front line in Ukraine via the nonprofit Twitter Convoy. From BBC:
“No-one expected that people are drunk-driving so many vehicles,” the NGO’s founder, Reinis Poznaks, told Reuters news agency. “They can’t sell them as fast as people are drinking. So that’s why I came with the idea - send them to Ukraine.”
The first eight cars had a combined value of about €18,500 (£16,500), according to Latvian website Delfi. One owner had left a Russian flag pinned on his seized vehicle, Reuters reported.
The Twitter Convoy has provided 1,200 vehicles to Ukraine hospitals and the country’s military. The NGO has also raise more than $2 million to purchase vehicles as well as assist with infrastructure and logistic, Reuters reports.
War affects every aspect of life and passenger cars are no exception. We’ve seen the humble Chevy Aveo transporting anti-tank weaponry while the nation’s welders are busy outfitting regular cars for front-line work. Right-hand drive vehicles from the UK in particular are a godsend, as Russian snipers attempting to shoot drivers usually aim for the left. And if you think vehicles are being targeted just in Ukraine, think again. Russia’s EV chargers were shut down by the Ukrainian company that developed the software to run those chargers. The company even managed to program anti-Putin messaging on the displays.
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