MINSK, October 24 (Itar-Tass) - A law has come into effect in Belarus on Thursday envisioning confiscation of cars for drunk driving if drivers reoffend within a year. The money derived from the sale of such vehicles might be handed over to the victims of road accidents caused by drunk drivers.
The Belarusian parliament approved the legislation in June, and the next month, President Alexander Lukashenko signed it. The law does not apply to stolen cars. It toughens penalties for drunk driving, handing over a vehicle to the driver in a state of alcoholic intoxication and refusal to take an alcohol test (for those caught violating traffic regulations for the first time).
Prison terms for the drivers guilty of causing the death of two or more persons in road accidents will increase up to ten years, compared with three years in prison before. "The law will apply to Belarusians and foreigners. There is the principle of time and place of the commission of crime. Liability occurs under the law of the country where the offence has taken place," Prosecutor General Alexander Konyuk said.
The crackdown is meant to combat an increasing number of road accidents involving drunk drivers. Official statistics said police stopped 55,000 drunk drivers each year. Of those, some 1,000 reoffend within 12 months. Belarusian road police reported they had detained more than 20,000 drunk drivers in the first half of this year.