Austria Will Seize Your Car if You Break the Speed Limit by 37 MPH or More

Lawmakers in the small European nation say the act is meant to deter "boy-racers" by impounding — and sometimes selling off — their cars.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Image for article titled Austria Will Seize Your Car if You Break the Speed Limit by 37 MPH or More
Photo: Karl-Josef Hildenbrand (Getty Images)

Police in Austria will now take away the cars of drivers caught speeding by excessive amounts. The new measure is a followup to previous legislation that Austria enacted in 2021, which was meant to discourage drivers from driving too fast by suspending licenses for extended periods of time based on the speeding offense, as Reuters reports.

Apparently, taking away drivers licenses wasn’t strict enough for Austrian legislators, who’ve decided to increase the severity of the punishment. The coalition of parties, made up by Austrian conservatives and Greens, passed the law to deter so-called “boy racers” by taking away their vehicular pride if they’re caught flouting the country’s speed laws. After all, if you don’t have a car to drive, you also don’t have a car to race or speed in, as the country’s Transport Minister Leonore Gewessler says:

He who has no car anymore cannot speed anymore. That is precisely why this measure is so successful in other countries - because it hits where it hurts and protects the general population.


Minister Gewessler acknowledged that the new measure is tough, but added that it’s necessary and is not altogether unheard of: Germany and Switzerland have similar laws that let police take away the cars of those caught going way over the limit. In extreme cases — cars that have been seized more than once, or drivers who speed by a truly extreme amount — the vehicles can be auctioned off, with the proceeds kept by the state.

If drivers are caught exceeding the speed limit by 60 km/h (37 mph) in town or 70 km/h (44 mph) elsewhere, the cars will be seized on the spot and will not be returned for up to two weeks. Reuters says the speed limit in Austrian towns is typically 50 km/h (31 mph), and 130 km/h (81 mph) on highways — meaning if you’re caught doing 68 mph in town or 125 mph on the highway, you should be ready to walk home. Repeat offenders and anyone driving 80 km/h (50 mph) over the limit in town or over 90 km/h (56 mph) on the highway will have their car seized and it won’t be returned at all; these cars will be sold off at auction.


The U.S. doesn’t have rules that are as strict — unless, of course, you’re in Texas or North Carolina, where speeding that’s determined to be a part of “street racing” has often led to vehicles being impounded.