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The question, “Does a $129,000 ticket for 20 mph over the speed limit seem excessive?” is pejorative. Of course, it’s excessive. Nonetheless, police officers in Finland deemed it reasonable based on how the country accesses fines for speeding tickets. Still, if you’re driving in Finland, this is your warning.

A 76-year-old businessman was going 50 mph in a 30 mph speed zone. Yes, that definitely warrants a speeding ticket. But how warranted is the $129,675 fine plus a 10-day driving suspension? And how often do these extreme speeding ticket fines actually ever get paid? 

How was this speeding ticket fine determined?

Police with radar gun
Police with speed gun | Getty

Well, Finland has a unique way of accessing fines. It’s based on the violator’s income. So it’s a proportional determination, not an across-the-board set fine. It’s the Day-Fine system, and its origins go back to 1921. 

Besides a means to punish traffic violators, the goal is to treat the violator’s monetary pain equally. Part of the calculation also takes into account inflation. So the actual fees are on a sliding scale. This eliminates periodic reviews and fine adjustments. And other countries, not only Finland, find it favorable. These include Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, France, Estonia, and Denmark. 

Does this particular speeder have previous speeding tickets?

Finland tourism
Vintage Finland tourism poster | Getty

The speeding businessman cites the speed limit changing just as the red lights began flashing in his rearview mirror. He argues he was slowing down for the abrupt speed limit change, but the police didn’t give him enough time to do so. 

But this particular businessman’s past traffic punishments haven’t deterred his need for speed. Finnish site Nya reports that he is more than familiar with large speeding ticket fines. In 2018, he was found guilty of speeding after trying to get to a museum to present an art prize. That one cost him the equivalent of around $75,000.

But there’s more. Back in 2013, he was caught speeding (you could have guessed?), going 47 mph in a 30-mile zone. That one cost him the equivalent of $125,000. 

This guy can afford the fine

Police giving traffic ticket
Getting a traffic ticket | Getty

As for his latest infraction, he told Nya, “I really regret the matter. But I have heard they are going to save one-and-a-half billion on healthcare in Finland, so I hope that the money can fill the gap there. Ideally, I would like them earmarked for that purpose.”

Based on his response to his failings, he doesn’t seem too upset about his most recent traffic violation. And based on the number of his speeding tickets, he appears to be wealthy enough to toss the costs off as a charity of some sort. We can’t say for sure, but he might just access the cost of speeding as he’s speeding, based on how important it is to get where he’s going. Or not.


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