Latvia the small country located in Northern Europe, once part of the Soviet Union, started a new initiative this week to hand over confiscated cars from drunk drivers to the Ukrainian army.
In Latvia, if a person is caught driving under the influence of alcohol, their car can be confiscated and impounded by the police, depending on the circumstances of the offense. Until now, the cars were sold at auctions, with the proceeds going towards law enforcement or other public services. Latvia’s new coalition government, announced the proposal this week, stating is working on its implementation.
The idea came from an NGO called Twitter convoy, which according to Latvian Finance Minister already donated more than 1,000 cars to the Ukrainian army. “We came to see what it really was like. And I’m surprised how good the cars are, contrary to some myths, that [drunk drivers] drive old junk. They drive normal cars. We came to understand that all of this could be useful in Ukraine. Ukraine needs any car that drives. Jeeps and vans on the front lines, but for provisions, rotation, medical use – any vehicle goes,” said Reinis Pozņaks, head of the Twitter convoy initiative.
On the other hand, Latvia changed its criminal code last year, harshening the penalties for drunk driving. As per reports from LSM, the State Revenue Service (VID) takes in on average 250 cars per year, however, the number of vehicles handled has dramatically increased since the new adjustments went into effect, and parking lots are now nearly full.
Since Russia’s invasion, a number of auto manufacturers have made substantial donations, Ferrari, Porsche, and Nissan donating more than one million euros each. Other companies like Ford, Honda, Toyota, and Lamborghini have all ceased operations in Russia until the war is over.