Higher speeding fines for the rich?

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Is it time for Australia’s speeding fine system to be overhauled so the rich don’t get away with comparatively light fines while working Aussie motorists pay among the highest fines in the world?

According to British website GoCompare, Australians rank sixth in the world with the highest fines and 10th in relation to their average wage.

Ours is supposed to be an egalitarian and fair society, but how can it be fair for a motorist on a low wage to pay the same fine as a millionaire?

The average Aussie speeding fine for 21km/h over the limit is $401. South Australia leads with $771 fine, followed by NSW ($472), Queensland ($435), Western Australia ($400), Victoria ($332) and Tasmania ($163).

Top 10 fines for speeding 20km/h+

  1. Norway $1028
  2. Iceland $750
  3. Estonia $626
  4. United Kingdom $595
  5. Sweden $412
  6. Australia $401
  7. Switzerland $362
  8. Israel $282
  9. Netherlands $278
  10. Canada $275

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Several countries, such as Britain, Finland and Switzerland, have a system where speeding fines are linked to their wages.

The UK has just introduced a system where fines for excessive speeding have increased to 150% of their weekly income. It is capped at £1000 ($A1770), or £2500 ($A4435) if caught on a motorway.

After all, they argue that a rich pro footballer, celebrity or wealthy aristocrat would not be deterred by the average UK speeding fine of £188 ($A333).

Meanwhile, the UK has retained their minimum speeding fine of £100 ($A177) and motorists can chose to reduce that further by attending a speed awareness course.

Switzerland and Finland are much tougher on their rich speeders.

Finland uses a “day fine” system of half the offender’s daily disposable income with the percentage increasing according to their speed over the limit.

In 2002, former Nokia director Anssi Vanjoki copped a $A190,000 fine for riding his motorcycle 75km/h in a 50km/h zone.

But that’s not the world record speeding fine which was handed out in Switzerland in 2010 to a Swedish motorist caught driving at 290km/h.

He was fined 3600 Swiss francs per day for 300 days which worked out to almost $A1.5m.

Click here for our tips on riding in Europe.

 

4 Comments

  1. Since the higher amount is still capped I don’t think it’s going to be any real deterant and just an extra revenue raiser for cops. As Fred mentioned in his comment, I think points are the major deterant and also through in some mandatory community service for good measure if you want a real deterant for the rich.

  2. It’s not egalitarian to divide people into classes. “The rich”, “working Aussies”.
    The old English class system does not belong here.
    We’re just “motorcyclists” and “others”.

  3. I’m more concerned about the points than the cash. It’s far easier to get more cash than it is to get more points!

    But I do think that “user pays” situations like this could be made more equitable with a sliding scale relative to your gross income. No point in linking it to taxable income, though… the ultra-rich will end up paying a lower fine than any “normal” taxpayer.

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