Denmark wants to confiscate cars, revoke licences from reckless drivers

Denmark wants to confiscate cars, revoke licences from reckless drivers
Photo: Linda Kastrup/Ritzau Scanpix
The Danish government says it has had enough of reckless driving and wants to take firm measures to clamp down on it.

A “general rule” providing for the confiscation of vehicles from reckless drivers, regardless of whether the driver actually owns the car, is part of a new proposal on traffic laws presented by the government on Thursday.

“If a couple of gang members drive recklessly up the Helsingør motorway, the police, when they stop them, will be able to take the driver’s licence and seize, confiscate and sell the car,” Justice Minister Nick Hækkerup said.

“The money will go to the treasury and the two gangsters will have to take the train and get a Rejsekort [public transport card, ed.] so they can get home,” Hækkerup added.

Current rules already enable police to revoke driving licences from reckless drivers on the spot, but new rules could see this become compulsory rather than an option for law enforcement.

All cars used by reckless drivers will, under the new rules, be confiscated before being auctioned off, with few exceptions. That applies even if the car is owned by a leasing company or other third party. Leasing companies would be entitled to apply for compensation from the driving offender.

Hækkerup said that companies have a responsibility over who drives their cars and must be thorough in background checking their customers.

READ ALSO: 'No consideration for anybody except themselves': The damning verdict on Danish driving

The new rules will enable car leasing firms to check customers’ online tax data, blocking third parties with poor financial viability from leasing their vehicles.

Leasing companies suspect that reckless drivers use strawmen to lease cars in an effort to skirt around poor credit ratings, Ritzau writes.

The government proposal also includes seven different definitions of reckless driving.

These include particularly reckless driving; driving in excess of the speed limit by more than 100 percent; driving with a blood alcohol level of over 2 per mille, or endangering others by driving.

Hækkerup admitted that the stringent new rules could impact people other than reckless drivers.

“If it’s a leasing company, it’s true that they wouldn’t see the car again. The company would ned to think carefully and research thoroughly before leasing out cars. They can raise compensation claims against people caught for reckless driving,” the minister said.

He also commented on users of car-sharing services such as GoMore, a popular app which enables short-term car rentals from companies and private individuals.

“If you lend your car, you have to think carefully about who you lend it to. We are not talking about a random violation of traffic laws,” he said, stressing that reckless driving is considered a serious crime.

Christian Brandt, director of interest organization Finans og Leasing (Finance and Leasing) criticized the proposal as overly simplified.

“(The government is) shooting but missing the target. You are actually punishing the leasing company and not the reckless driver who has been an idiot on the road,” Brandt said.

The government's overall proposals are expected to be put forward as a bill during the spring and are expected to pass comfortably, given that the opposition Liberal party has already made a comparable proposal.


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