Saeima advances plan to confiscate unregistered Russian cars

In order to implement the sanctions imposed by the European Union and reduce security risks, the Saeima on Thursday, October 26, supported amendments to the Road Traffic Law, in a first reading. The amendments envisage confiscation of vehicles registered in Russia if they are not re-registered in Latvia within three months of crossing the border.

The draft law provides that the vehicle will have to be registered or legally exported from the territory of Latvia within three months from the law coming into effect. If a Russian vehicle unregistered in Latvia is found to be using the roads after this deadline, it will be seized and confiscated. The confiscated vehicles are planned to be handed over to Ukraine, according to the authors of the bill, as currently happens with the cars of heavily intoxicated drivers. In addition, the owners of unregistered Russian vehicles will face monetary fines.

The use of vehicles registered in Russia in road traffic in Latvia will be allowed only if a person crosses the territory of Latvia in transit, which will have to be completed within 24 hours. Before entering Latvia, the owner will have to provide information about the vehicle and its driver using the e-services provided by VSIA "Road Traffic Safety Directorate" (CSDD).

The amendments do provide for certain exceptions, such as for the diplomatic vehicles that can frequently be seen plying the routes from Rīga to the Russian border.

It is planned that the bill will enter into force on November 15 of this year, but before then the Saeima must also support it in a second reading. That would mean that in theory, the first confiscations of Russian vehicles might start happening in mid-to-late February 2024.

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