Manitoba bill would allow drunk drivers’ vehicles to be seized

WINNIPEG (June 9) — Manitoba legislators are reviewing proposed amendments to the Highway Traffic Act that would allow authorities to seize a vehicle driven by a drunk driver — or a driver who refuses a breathalyzer test — for 30 days.

As well, vehicles used in prostitution-related offences could be confiscated permanently and eventually sold by the province.

Under the new bill, drivers with a blood alcohol content of .08 or over or who refuse a breathalyzer test would immediately have their vehicle impounded for 30 days and face provincial and federal criminal charges. A repeat offence within two years could result in a 90-day impoundment.

However, the vehicle’s registered owner could apply to have a vehicle returned if he was not driving it at the time and could not have reasonably known that the vehicle would be driven by a drunk driver.

Current law allows the province to seize a vehicle for up to 90 days if the driver has been suspended before.

In addition, amendments to the act would provide for an increased period of licence suspension where a motorist is convicted of refusing to take a breathalyzer test. For a first offence, the period of suspension would be doubled to two years, while repeat offenders would see the period of suspension increase to seven years from five.

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