Drunk driving, beyond being ridiculously selfish and exceedingly dangerous, can have significant financial consequences if the driver is caught. Though police sometimes impound the vehicle being driven, there are usually ways for the person to get it back. Authorities in Latvia also impound drunk drivers’ cars, but it’s sending the worst offenders’ rides to Ukraine to help in the war effort.
Reuters reported that Latvia had seized 200 cars from drunk drivers over two months. Only the worst offenders have their vehicles taken, as authorities set the bar at three times the legal limit, or a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15. That’s a stout number for a country with fewer than two million residents, and it’s apparently shocking to the people in charge. The initial plan was to sell or auction the confiscated vehicles, but the number of impounded cars quickly exceeded the government’s ability to sell them.
Volunteers ship the cars from Latvia to Ukraine, a more than 800-mile drive. The group’s founder said authorities promised two dozen vehicles per week and noted that the Twitter Convoy, as it’s called, has moved around 1,200 cars so far. The Latvian finance minister said the country is happy to ship the cars instead of auctioning them, telling Reuters, “we are ready to do practically anything to support Ukrainians.”
Even everyday passenger cars play essential roles in the war, with some acting as ambulances and supply transport vehicles. The group said that off-road vehicles are in high demand for obvious reasons, but they note that other vehicles are used to transport volunteers and move between checkpoints.
The small Baltic nation appears poised to send thousands of vehicles to Ukraine each year if its current trajectory continues. There were 4,300 over-the-limit drivers on Latvia’s roads last year, causing almost a thousand accidents. Though the cars will almost certainly meet their end in Ukraine, their demise will at least save lives instead of taking them.