06/17/2013 06:57 EDT | Updated 08/17/2013 05:12 EDT

Alberta police chiefs want law to allow them to seize speeders' vehicles

EDMONTON - Police chiefs in Alberta want the provincial government to toughen up its traffic laws.

They have voted in favour of a resolution that would allow officers to seize vehicles of drivers caught going more than 50 kilometres per hour over the speed limit.

It would also give officers the authority to suspend drivers' licences — both of which would last one week.

Edmonton police chief Rod Knecht says there's too many people being killed on the highways and it's due to people driving 160-170 km/h and even 200 km/h.

The chiefs don't want it to be a mandatory seizure; they want police to have the ability to use their discretion when seizing the vehicle.

Knecht says that would accommodate circumstances such as a woman in labour with a complication.

"We just don't want to see people killed," said Knecht, who is head of the Alberta Chiefs of Police.

The vote was not unanimous because in some rural areas, worries about access to tow trucks was an issue.

The chiefs approved a similar motion in 2009, but the province turned it down.

Justice Minister Jonathan Denis said Monday there’s no hard proof it would work.

“We simply haven’t seen any evidence to suggest that these additional seizure powers that are being advocated would actually have a measured impact on these high-speed drivers,” Denis said.

According to the B.C. Ministry of Justice, since its policy went into effect in 2010, the number of fatal and injury-related crashes was cut in half compared to the previous five-year period.

Denis said just because B.C. is doing it, doesn’t mean we have to and in certain situations, Alberta police do have the power to take your vehicle.

“Careless driving, it also talks about if there’s been things like a street race, or a bet or wager, that the officer has that particular power,” he said.

(CHED, CFFR, The Canadian Press)