How Expensive Are Speeding Fines in Finland?

Along with several other European countries, Finland determines traffic fines by a driver's income. In 2002, one wealthy man was fined the equivalent of $103,600 USD for speeding.
Along with several other European countries, Finland determines traffic fines by a driver's income. In 2002, one wealthy man was fined the equivalent of $103,600 USD for speeding.

Crime doesn't pay, and in Finland, even a misdemeanor can be really costly. Under Finland's "progressive punishment" system, speeding violators face "day fine" penalties based on their disposable income -- usually half of their daily pay. But fines also increase as a driver's speed goes beyond the speed limit, as officers are allowed to assess more than one day fine at a time.

One notable incident occurred in 2002, when wealthy businessman Anssi Vanjoki was caught riding his motorcycle 15.5 mph (25 km/h) over the 31 mph (50 km/h) speed limit and was hit with a fine of $103,600 USD (€116,000). Similarly, in 2015, another Finnish businessman, Reima Kuisla, had to pay $62,000 USD (€54,000) for zipping along at 13.6 mph (22 km/h) over the same speed limit. Afterward, Kuisla, a millionaire, took to Facebook to complain. "Finland is now an impossible country to live in for people with a large income and wealth!" he posted.

While Finland is not the only European country to use progressive punishment -- Switzerland holds the record for a speeding fine, at $1,091,340 USD (1,080,000 Swiss Francs) -- it also offers even more of a reason to slow down: Repeat offenders can be sentenced to jail.

Funky Finland:

  • Finnish people drink more coffee per capita than anyone else, at close to 22 lbs (10 kg) of roasted coffee per year.

  • There are approximately 2 million saunas in Finland, a nation of 5.5 million people.

  • October 13 is National Day of Failure in Finland, allowing everyone to learn from their mistakes -- like speeding, perhaps.

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Discussion Comments

dimchild

Imagine paying $1,091,340 USD in fines and being a repeat offender.

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    • Along with several other European countries, Finland determines traffic fines by a driver's income. In 2002, one wealthy man was fined the equivalent of $103,600 USD for speeding.
      Along with several other European countries, Finland determines traffic fines by a driver's income. In 2002, one wealthy man was fined the equivalent of $103,600 USD for speeding.