Skip to main content

Speeding tickets and fines can put a serious dent in drivers’ finances in the United States, even without the danger of horrific accidents. However, the average American speeding or traffic ticket is a drop in the bucket compared to countries with “means-tested” fines. In Finland, penalties for excessive speeding are determined by considering drivers’ income and can result in hilariously-high speeding fines for wealthy owners. However, Finland isn’t the only country with outrageous fines; Switzerland also has a history of charging based on income and circumstances. 

Which countries have the strictest speeding laws?

While some countries and regions have low tolerances for speeding and traffic violations, Scandinavian countries have some of the strictest fines and penalties of any country. For instance, Finland practices means-tested punishments, meaning fines are determined by looking at the violators’ income. 

Drivers could be charged thousands in speeding tickets on this road in Kuopio, Finland.
A coastal road in Kuopio, Finland | Blom UK via Getty Images

As a result, stratospherically-wealthy drivers can expect to get slapped with fines akin to their vast incomes. Moreover, Switzerland factors in both income and velocity when considering sliding penalties, per the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce. Means-tested, sliding-scale, or “day fines” tend to hold the mega-wealthy accountable for fines that wouldn’t register with an American millionaire. 

Moreover, some countries, like Norway, levy strict fines and punishments, including jail time and license suspensions for serious traffic tickets. However, the country’s relatively slow average speed limits are tricky to operate within. Minding your speed and using cruise control is always a good idea. 

Is Finland strict on speeding?

Finland likely won’t unceremoniously toss you in jail for sailing past a police officer or traffic camera in excess of the speed limit. Still, the Scandinavian country will fine you based on your income. For instance, Finland recently fined a wealthy motorist €121,000 (about $129,451) for speeding.

According to The Atlantic, monumental charges are infrequent in Finland and other Scandinavian countries, as mega-wealthy drivers aren’t commonplace. However, instead of simply considering a driver’s gross earnings, Finland employs day fines. The government will assess how much money a violator has for expenditures on a daily basis. After that, authorities will multiply the figure by a number of days based on the severity of the incident. As a result, some millionaires and billionaires can incur five or six-figure fines for a single infraction. 

Does Switzerland have speed cameras?

Switzerland operates speed cameras to catch and punish drivers who exceed the limit. However, unlike the bright-yellow average speed cameras in the United Kingdom, Swiss units are typically gray and, in some cases, concealed. 

A speed camera enforces traffic and speeding laws in countries like the UK and Switzerland.
A speed camera | David Davies, PA Images via Getty Images

Furthermore, the Swiss Canadian Chamber of Commerce says Swiss judges reserve the right to levy income-based penalties. As a result, drivers can incur fines based on the severity of the violation, the location, and annual earnings.