A millionaire from Finland was recently hit with a $57,000 fine for speeding, having been caught going just 15 mph over the legal limit.
Reima Kuisla was stopped by police after driving 65 in a 50 mph zone, according to the Daily Mail. In the United States, his speeding ticket would amount to just a few hundred dollars, yet in Finland, a very different system is in place. Fines for some traffic offenses in Finland, as well as shoplifting and some securities and exchange violations, are tied to the income of the offender. After consulting the federal taxpayer database to determine Kuisla’s annual income, which was roughly $7.2 million in 2013, Finnish police determined his fine amounted to an astounding $57,000.
— CityLab (@CityLab) March 12, 2015
The system for calculating fines in Finland is far different than in America, as the Atlantic points out. Finland’s program assesses how much spending money an offender has for each day of the year, dividing that sum in half to establish a reasonable penalty amount. Certain crimes generate mathematical multipliers that reflect the severity of the infraction, which are then applied to the penalty sum. In the case of Kuisla’s speeding ticket, a multiplier of 12 days was applied to achieve the sum of $57,000.
Kuisla posted an image of his ticket on Facebook, complaining about the sum he was penalized.
“Finland is impossible to live in for certain kinds of people who have high incomes and wealth. I’m considering leaving the country.”
Though seemingly exorbitant, Kuisla’s speeding ticket isn’t the most expensive one to be issued in Finland. In 2002, a similar speed violation of 15 mph over the limit earned a Nokia executive a $103,000 ticket, while two years earlier, a $39,000 fine was leveled at NHL player Teemu Selanne.
In Finland, fines are based on income. In 2002, a Nokia executive was fined with a US$103,000 speeding ticket. pic.twitter.com/w2LXYE0L5r — WorldWideFacts (@FactsWW) March 12, 2015
The practice, referred to as a day fine, has previously been implemented in the United States, though it failed to catch on. The first day fine issued in America was handed out in 1988, as part of a pilot program in Staten Island. According to Judith Greene, founder of the non-profit organization Justice Strategies, day fines failed to find support due to an increased focus on locking up criminals at the time.
Questionable ticketing and fining practices that arose out of Ferguson, which the Inquisitr has previously reported, as well as recent concerns related to over-incarceration, have once again raised interest in implementing such a system in the United States.
What do you think of Finland’s system for calculating speeding tickets?
[Image via Twitter/ @MSNAutos]