Outrageous Traffic Fines in Europe – Are They Justified?
A businessman in Finland is irate after being fined $58,000 for a speeding ticket. He was ticketed for driving 64 mph in a 50 mph zone. It has nothing to do with his past driving record. It has everything to do with his income because in Finland and in many European countries traffic fines are based on a formula that takes into account how much a traffic violator earns each year.
In Finland, fines are calculated on an estimate of how much spending money a person has for a day. That number is then divided in half and for speeding up to 15 mph over the limit that number is multiplied by 12. If you go 25 mph over the limit that number is multiplied by 22. The resulting number is your fine.
The theory is a fine should be punitive. For someone earning $20,000 a year a $200 fine hurts a whole lot more than it would for someone making $100,000 a year.
Former NHL hockey player Teemu Selane was hit with a $39,000 fine in 2000. But the largest traffic fine ever assessed was in 2002 when a Nokia executive was stopped for speeding on his Harley motorcycle in Helsinki. Based on his $12.5 million annual salary his fine was $103,600.
For someone with a million dollar salary a $200 speeding fine is basically pennies. Is this a system that would work in this country? Is it a system we should think about using?