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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Taking cars away from drunk drivers – a draft of new road regulations. Marcin Warchoł from the Ministry of Justice on the amendment

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The draft amendment to the provisions of the Road Traffic Law assumes that drunk drivers will lose their cars. Let’s hope that the government will take care of it in October, and the Sejm will vote by the end of the year – says Marcin Warchoł, secretary of state in the Ministry of Justice, government plenipotentiary for human rights.

Warchoł explains in an interview with PAP that the draft amendment “is in the process of inter-ministerial consultations”. – We are after the first week of these arrangements. There will be a summary in a week’s time. Then it will go to the standing committee and be discussed by the Council of Ministers. I hope it will happen in October, and the Sejm will adopt it by the end of the year – he emphasizes.


Drunken drivers pickup – project

– In the first six months of this year, drunk drivers caused 684 accidents in which 68 people died, which means that someone lost a mother, father, child, friends. These are life tragedies that affected hundreds of people. These are interrupted lives, tragedies of entire families. 841 people were injured. Some of them may never stand on their own legs again, they will ride in a wheelchair, they will suffer lifelong suffering. Meanwhile, the perpetrators of these accidents, people who drink with cold indifference, and then get into the car and rush, significantly exceeding the speed limit, should be severely punished – argues the secretary of state in the Ministry of Justice.

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He adds that 15 years ago the prosecutor general “introduced the confiscation of drunk drivers’ vehicles, but the Supreme Court blocked it.” – Now the topic has returned after the tragic accident on July 3 near Stalowa Wola, in my home region – as a result, small children were orphaned. The photo of a firefighter carrying a little boy in his arms, who does not yet know that he has become an orphan, is still in front of our eyes. I believe that vehicles who drink and drive should be taken, Warchoł points out.

Collecting a car – a case of leasing or a borrowed car

The MS representative also explains what, if the vehicle is leased, is jointly owned or loaned. – We have anticipated the forfeiture of the equivalent of such a vehicle. It cannot be that perpetrators who drive someone else’s car can get away with it. We also cannot punish third parties – for example, a mother who lent a car to her son and he got behind the wheel on dual throttle – he says.

He explains that the equivalent will be calculated “through estimates available to insurers or tax offices.” – We don’t want it to be a process in a process – for example, that experts have to research how much a vehicle was worth. And, of course, it will be the value of the vehicle before the event – Warchoł points out.

According to the secretary of state, affluent people who travel limousines on a daily basis, out of procedural precaution, will not suddenly start driving older cars of low value to events. – It’s not like someone drives a Bentley, and if you want a drink, leave it in the garage. Drunken drivers don’t do that. They just – drink and go – he thinks.

He adds that “if they calculated, they thought, they would not get into the wheel drunk and there would be no such accidents”. “But they don’t think rationally, they hope they’ll make it.” That’s why you have to take their vehicles from them, he says.

Penalties for the drunk for tragic accidents

Warchoł also says that “today, such perpetrators are punished with imprisonment from 2 to 12 years, regardless of whether someone causing an accident causes serious bodily injuries or death”.

– But there is a difference. Therefore, we want to differentiate between this and set the lowest penalty level for severe personal injury for three years, and for death it will be five years – two and a half times more severe than today. We also want the perpetrators of accidents in which there are victims to pay them or their relatives pensions. As in the case of these orphaned children, whom I have already mentioned – so that they have protection – he emphasizes.

Warchoł explains that there will also be proposals to improve the collection of fines. – We have an idea. But we are still working on the provisions that we will present as soon as they are ready. In any case, financial support will be guaranteed for children who have lost a parent, he says.

Main photo source: Malopolska Police

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