Manitoba targets street racers with tougher penalties
Bill 23 proposes longer impoundment periods, immediate licence suspensions
The Manitoba government wants to crack down on street racers by suspending their licences right away and impounding their vehicles for longer periods.
The NDP government has introduced Bill 23, which proposes changing the Highway Traffic Act to impound vehicles used in street racing for seven days. Currently, those vehicles are impounded for 48 hours.
The bill also proposes giving police officers the power to immediately suspend the driver's licences of those caught street racing for a week.
Suspending licences right away "would help police stop street racers from putting others on the road at risk," Justice Minister Andrew Swan said in a news release Monday.
Under the existing law, street racers may face fines of up to $5,000 and driver's licence suspensions of up to one year.
Serious street racing incidents can lead to criminal charges, jail time and vehicle forfeiture, according to the province.
Drunk drivers also targeted
Last week, the province introduced Bill 21, which would crack down on convicted drunk drivers if they don't follow the mandatory ignition interlock program.
That bill proposes having vehicles impounded if they don't abide by the program, which requires anyone convicted of impaired driving, even for the first time, to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles.
The alcohol-detection device is wired directly into a vehicle's ignition system and uses technology similar to that of breathalyzer tests.
A driver must blow into the device, which prevents the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected.
Bill 21 clarifies the consequences of not meeting the ignition interlock program's requirements, which would include vehicle impoundment, according to the province.
The bill also proposes allowing a restricted driver to seek permission to use an employer's vehicle — even if it doesn't have the ignition interlock system installed — for the sole purpose of maintaining employment.