autoevolution

Speeding Fines Come Under Fire in Finland as Country’s Wealthiest Protest

If you’re a wealthy individual in Finland, you’d better stay on the right side of the law. That’s because the Scandinavian country has a peculiar way of calculating the fines people get and it all depends on how much money you make.
Finland speed limit sign 1 photo
It’s an old issue in Finland, one that has been discussed on previous occasions but has recently come under scrutiny once again as a Finnish businessman got a fine of €54,024 (around $58,000) for driving 23 km/h over the speed limit. No, that wasn’t a typo, it’s all due to how much the man-made last year.

You see, fines for Finns are calculated based on how much money you made last year. Reima Kuisla, the businessman in question here, made €6.5 million in 2014, so his fine rose to this unimaginable level. If he were to make, say €300,000, for the same traffic violation, he would’ve received a fine of €1,480.

However, our good man wouldn’t just lie down and pay the fine. He decided to post all sorts of protest on Facebook and started a new debate throughout the country. According to him, Finland is a country where rich people don’t belong and are not welcome. It might seem like a stretch at first, but the government is actually taking into consideration a revisal of its laws.

Traffic violation rules are some of the harshest in Europe, and it seems like it all boils down to an old legislation. As a matter of fact, the system used to calculate how much you’ll have to pay in case you break the law has been set up in the 1920s and was revised in the 1970s.

As it was set up back then, the system calculates the fine based on half the offender’s daily net income and takes into consideration the number of people in his/her care. The figure obtained is then multiplied by the number of days of income the offender should lose, judging by the offense.

For example, in the case of the millionaire, the €54,000 fine was obtained after this system calculated that his offense would amount to about eight days of penalty. Then, using his reported income for 2013 (€6.5 million) the authorities calculated how much he made in a day and set the amount accordingly.

The main problem with this system is not only that it was set up back in the 20s but that back then Finland didn’t even have speed limits. Over the years, fines went up progressively, on an accelerated path, leading to this sort of numbers.

The debate sparked is still going though, and it’s not referring only to the taxation of the rich when breaking traffic rules. Mr. Kuisla is also complaining about other laws as well. For example, did you know that Finland laws allow the state to tax over 50 percent of the value of an inheritance? That’s pretty steep by any standard, and the examples can continue.

At the same time, the general public seems to agree with the current system, saying that there has to be some difference depending on the income someone has. From their point of view, the millionaire should’ve obeyed the law, and he wouldn’t have been in this situation but that’s not even the biggest fine ever received in Finland.

Back in 2002, Anssi Vanjoki, a 44-year old Nokia executive was caught riding his Harley through a 50 km/h (30 mph) speed zone with 75 km/h (46.5 mph) on the clock. He received a fine of €116,000 that was also calculated based on his income.

 
 
 
 
 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories