Speeding motorists in Austria risk having cars seized and auctioned


Drivers in Austria guilty of extreme speeding will have their cars seized and auctioned off, the government has said, as it seeks to deter “boy racers” by threatening to take away their prized possession.
The planned change in legislation announced by the governing coalition of conservatives and Greens aims to toughen Austria’s rules to bring them closer to those in other countries including neighbouring Germany and Switzerland.
Local authorities say they are trying to bring illegal street races and other cases of extreme speeding under control. While most drivers will not have noticed any races, they do cause deaths, sometimes involving bystanders.
“At the speeds we are talking about here no one is fully in control of their vehicle. The car becomes an uncontrollable weapon and a danger to completely innocent people,” the transport minister, Leonore Gewessler of the Greens, told a news conference outlining the plan.
Specifically, anyone caught driving 60km/h an hour (37mph) above the 50km/h speed limit in towns, or 70km/h above the 130km/h limit elsewhere, will have their vehicle seized for up to two weeks.
If they are a repeat offender, or they are a first-time offender going particularly fast – more than 80km/h above the limit in a town or more than 90km/h above it elsewhere – their vehicle will be confiscated for good and usually auctioned off.
The move follows measures introduced last year that increased the length of time drivers lose their licences for in cases of speeding and extreme speeding.