Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Push to seize excessive speeders' vehicles in Alberta

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EDMONTON -- The police chief in Alberta's capital is renewing a push for the provincial government to give officers the legal power to seize the vehicles of motorists caught driving at dangerously excessive speeds.

Rod Knecht says police in Edmonton are routinely catching people driving more than 50 km/h over the posted limit. There have been 879 such cases in the last two years, he says.

"The public is concerned about this -- 50 km/h isn't somebody that is just in a hurry or late for work," Knecht said in a recent interview. "You are making a conscious effort to drive that fast and drive that recklessly."

Speeding is more pervasive than young men stunting on motorcycles or street racing in hopped-up cars.

In October, city traffic police arrested the driver of a Hyundai car roaring down a road at 163 km/h in a 100 km/h zone, weaving across lanes of traffic.

When officers caught up they found what appeared to be a family of four inside -- a 30-year-old man in the driver's seat, a woman in the front passenger seat and two young children in the back.

The man faces several charges, including speeding and dangerous driving.

Knecht said in extreme cases officers should be able to seize vehicles so as to drive home the message dangerous driving won't be tolerated.

In 2010, British Columbia brought in legislation to allow police to seize vehicles from people caught driving more than 40 km/h over the speed limit. Within one year, the number of fatality and injury-related crashes in the province was cut in half.

Ontario and Quebec have similar legislation.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 28, 2013 A22

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