The Cost Of Speeding Around The World
- €54,000 fine for speeding? Finland’s Robin Hood fines for speeding
- Progressive systems in Scandinavia tax rich and poor offenders alike
- Driver’s tax records accessed by police on the roadside
- $1m fine for a Swedish driver caught in Switzerland
- $2.4m Bugatti Veyron confiscated for speeding in Holland
In March 2015, a Finnish businessman found himself in hot water after being pulled over for speeding by police. Reima Kuisla, a millionaire businessman, was caught travelling 65mph in a 50mph zone – an offence that would see him receive a fixed penalty notice of £60 and three points on his license in the UK. But after police ran his details through a federal taxpayer database and found his 2013 tax return – which showed that he earned £4.2m that year – he was told to hand over 54,000 euros.
Interestingly, some countries take personal circumstances into account when setting fines for speeding offences. Though offenders may grumble, income-adjusted penalty schemes – like those introduced in Finland and Norway – attempt to ensure each offender fully understands the levity of their actions.
In Finland, fines for traffic violations are assessed based on the driver’s earnings and calculated as ‘day fines’. Having pulled the offender, police ping a federal taxpayer database with their details to uncover their income. It then starts with an estimate of the amount of spending money a Finn has for one day, and then divides that by two to get a number considered to a reasonable fine. Then, based on the severity of the crime, the system has rules for how many days the offender must go without that money. For instance, exceeding the speed limit by 15 mph earns you a multiplier of 12 days, and going 25 mph over carries a 22-day multiplier.
The average driver would see themselves paying around £30 per day, for a total fine of around £300 or £400. Finland’s maximum multiplier is 120 days, but there’s no cap on the fines themselves – which proved unfortunate for the Nokia executive caught speeding on his Harley Davidson in 2002. With a salary of 14m euros, he was handed a day fine of 116,000 euros for his recklessness – roughly 14 days of income.
In the past Finnish police struggled to calculate the size of a fine because people tended to lie about their income when they were caught speeding – but thanks to mobile technology and the Internet of Things, tax returns can now be verified directly at the roadside. As one commenter on Kuisla’s case remarked, “Small fines won’t deter the rich – fines have to ‘bite’ everyone the same way”. Progressive systems ensure that there is parity between rich and poor offenders, treating both equally in the eyes of the law.
But that’s just one country – for a global guide on the costs of speeding, make sure to check out the rest of the infographic below.