In the US, cars are impounded on a regular basis for everything from committing a crime to parking in the wrong spot. Most of the time, these cars sit in an impound lot before being claimed or auctioned off. The process is likely similar in other countries. However, Latvia has come up with a novel approach. Instead of selling off the impounded cars, the government is pressing them into war service and sending them to the Ukrainian army.
Recently approved by Latvia's new coalition government, the program uses cars impounded from drunk driver arrests. It was proposed by Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karin and was championed by the finance ministry, which is currently preparing the program for implementation.
The idea originated from a Latvian social movement known as Twitter konvojs/NGO Agendum, which has already delivered more than 1,000 cars to the Ukrainian army. "Now they're seeing a lack of cars to continue their good deed at the same speed," said a finance ministry spokesperson. "Therefore, we believe that confiscated cars from drunk drivers in Latvia would complement this great initiative."
In Latvia, drunk drivers can have their cars confiscated with an intoxication level over 1.5 per mg/dL, the equivalent of a blood alcohol level of 0.15%. Originally the cars were then auctioned by the State Revenue Service. However, the new proposal makes them available to Ukraine free of charge.
Over the past year, a number of charities have donated money, supplies, or vehicles to the Ukrainian war effort. Farm trucks, commercial vehicles, and just about anything that runs have been sent to the country and retrofitted for military use. In cities like Lviv, volunteers weld steel plates and other reinforcements to the vehicles before sending them into battle.
Charitable donations are one of many ways cars and automakers are helping with Ukraine relief efforts. Manufacturers like Ferrari, Porsche, and Nissan have donated more than one million euros each, while others, including WSBK’s Team Pedercini, have helped transport goods for the effort. Meanwhile, companies like Ford, Honda, Toyota, and Lamborghini have suspended business in Russia until the war ends.