Monday, August 18, 2008

OPP seize truck and give it away

For the first time ever in Ontario, or Canada for that matter, the government has seized the personal vehicle of a repeat drunk driver and forfeited it to a community interest group.
Timmins was the first location in the country where Ontario Attorney General Chris Bentley was able to seize and then forfeit that vehicle.
The event took place at the South Porcupine Ontario Provincial Police detachment in Timmins, Monday. The vehicle, a GMC 2500SL pickup truck, was seized from an Iroquois Falls man, who has had three impaired driving convictions in the past ten years. Bentley gave the keys of the vehicle to Anne Leonard, the Executive Director of the Ontario Community Council on Impaired Driving.
The action follows the Ontario government’s new civil forfeiture law, which is part of the Safer Roads for a Safer Ontario Act.
“This is the first time that the vehicles owned by repeat drinking drivers are being seized by the government under civil forfeiture laws. It is a very strong and very powerful message to those who think they can do what they like , who think they can repeatedly drink and drive,” said Bentley.
“But if you drink and drive, you’re gonna lose your ride,” he added.
Bentley explained that a conviction is not necessary. He said the new law may be applied in the case of anyone who has “been suspended for a drinking and driving offence two or more times in the previous ten years, you can be subject to having your vehicle and seized and lost forever”, Bentley told reporters.
The move was applauded by Anne Leonard, (below) the executive director of the Ontario Community Council on Impaired Driving, which runs Ontario’s well-known Arrive Alive-Drive Sober campaign.
“We are glad to see it off the road and not being driven by a repeat drunk driver,” she said, holding up the ownership papers for the truck. She added that the vehicle will be used to raise awareness among high school students about the many downsides of drinking and driving.

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