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Would higher fines for the rich work here?

A multi-millionaire who drove a Ferrari at 85mph through a Swiss town has been fined almost £200,000.

The record-breaking fine was handed out to the 53-year-old man under the Swiss system of proportional punishments, which takes income into consideration.

The driver of the Ferrari Testarossa took his vehicle through a 50mph speed zone at 85mph in St Gallen, a town in the north-east of Switzerland, near the border with Austria and Germany.

The driver was initially fined £60,000 by the local jurisdiction, but this was raised twice on appeal when he claimed falsely to have diplomatic immunity. He was reported to have an annual income over £500,000 and be worth more than £12 million.

It is more than double Switzerland's previous record speeding fine - handed to a Porsche driver in Zurich in 2008.

Other countries such as Finland use a similar system of proportionate fines, with the head of Nokia receiving a £70,000 punishment for speeding in 2002, equivalent to 14 days' pay.

* Would a system of proportional fines work in the UK? Let us know!

17 comments

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Jon Burrage [998 posts] 6 years ago
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I am not keen on it. If a poor person was doing 70mph in a 30mph the results would be the same as if a rich person was doing it.

I think that making different sectors of the population pay more due to the amount of time and effort they have put into their career goes against promoting an aspirational society.

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cactuscat [284 posts] 6 years ago
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Jon Burrage wrote:

I think that making different sectors of the population pay more due to the amount of time and effort they have put into their career goes against promoting an aspirational society.

yeah but the point is that they're not paying more. proportionally, they're paying the same. what kind of disincentive is a £500 fine to a multi-millionaire? if you do it on a proportion of salary then you level the playing field. it makes a lot more sense to me to say 'it'll cost you a month's wages if you're caught' - that's the same punishment for everyone in a much more real sense than a standard fine that's the same for a 17 year old in a Saxo and a bigwig in a Veyron.

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stuke [335 posts] 6 years ago
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When I last got done for speeding it went to court as i couldn't produce my license for the 7 day wonder as it was at the DVLA for an address change, I had to fill out a load of forms for the court including my bank details as they wanted to see how much I had in there and what my salary was so that they could decide on a suitable fine comparative to my financial situation.

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the-yorkshire-p... [173 posts] 6 years ago
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it's a nonsense as it goes against one of the pillars of justice that the punishment fits the crime. therefore, two people guilty of the same crime should have the same punishment. To do differently sets a dangerous precedent.

What should be happening is that the proportional response to crimes is changed, whereby there are clear and decisive strata as to the points / fine incurred for the speeding. 10mph over the limit shouldn't have the same punishment as 30mph, and there should be no discretion to mediate between the strata.

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dave atkinson [6145 posts] 6 years ago
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Quote:

two people guilty of the same crime should have the same punishment

that's certainly true, but what's being discussed here is how you define 'punishment', ie whether it is related to your means.

i would argue that fining a low-income single parent £250 for speeding is in no way the same 'punishment' as giving a millionaire banker the same fine. that might be a month's disposable income for one and literally nothing to the other.

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Fringe [1047 posts] 6 years ago
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maybe they should just take his car away as well.

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cannonball [1 post] 6 years ago
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Surely the punishment is the 3 (or more) point penalty on the driving licence. Regardless of status/wealth everyone is banned when then have 12 or more points on their licence - that should act as the deterrent.

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jobysp [143 posts] 6 years ago
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Surely the best form of punishment for wreckless crap like this is take their car away like Fringe said.

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OldRidgeback [2554 posts] 6 years ago
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It sounds about right. They have a similar system in Finland. Using the Finnish equivalent of the PNC (Police National Computer), the cops can use the system to work out the earnings of any offending driver and the fine is set accordingly. I'm not aware of any data loss issues in Finland incidentally, though admittedly the country only has a population about the same as Scotland at around 5 and a bit million.

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Denzil Dexter [140 posts] 6 years ago
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Jon Burrage wrote:

I am not keen on it. If a poor person was doing 70mph in a 30mph the results would be the same as if a rich person was doing it.

I think that making different sectors of the population pay more due to the amount of time and effort they have put into their career goes against promoting an aspirational society.

What about the ones that inherited their wealth, won it on the lottery/work in the city, or simply nicked it?

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Jon Burrage [998 posts] 6 years ago
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Agree with joby, that would be a better punishment.

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skippy [408 posts] 6 years ago
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what crime is the question!

Driving a few kilometres above the limit merits a slap on the wrist, penalty and points But driving at an outrageous speed as indicated here deserves Gaol time! that prat was giving the system the "finger" and deserves a "holiday camp with hard labour"!
When you set out to say "I am a VIP "by this behaviour you deserve to pay the penalty and hitting the pocket is the better way than causing the state more expense in locking the perpetrator away.

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arowland [144 posts] 1 year ago
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the-yorkshire-pk-ripper wrote:

two people guilty of the same crime should have the same punishment

Would you agree that 14 days in prison is the same for a rich and a poor man?
So isn't 14 days' pay the same for a rich and a poor man? Seems very fair to me, but fining one person 28 days' pay and another less than an hour's pay is not -- especially as a rich person is better able to manage paying a fine of whatever size, having more resources, when a very poor person may be tipped over the edge by even a small one.

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stumps [3186 posts] 1 year ago
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Fine them on what they earn plus a disqualification of say 1 month for every 10mph over the speed limit.

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DrJDog [294 posts] 1 year ago
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skippy wrote:

what crime is the question!

Driving a few kilometres above the limit merits a slap on the wrist, penalty and points But driving at an outrageous speed as indicated here deserves Gaol time! that prat was giving the system the "finger" and deserves a "holiday camp with hard labour"!
When you set out to say "I am a VIP "by this behaviour you deserve to pay the penalty and hitting the pocket is the better way than causing the state more expense in locking the perpetrator away.

I think "85 in a " 50 zone "is" hardly as outrag"eous" as you're "" suggesting"."

M"ayb"e in a "30"?

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bigshape [108 posts] 1 year ago
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so in theory, if i was declared bankrupt and drove above the speed limit, they would pay me?  3

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zanf [759 posts] 1 year ago
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DrJDog wrote:
skippy wrote:

what crime is the question!

Driving a few kilometres above the limit merits a slap on the wrist, penalty and points But driving at an outrageous speed as indicated here deserves Gaol time! that prat was giving the system the "finger" and deserves a "holiday camp with hard labour"!
When you set out to say "I am a VIP "by this behaviour you deserve to pay the penalty and hitting the pocket is the better way than causing the state more expense in locking the perpetrator away.

I think "85 in a " 50 zone "is" hardly as outrag"eous" as you're "" suggesting"."

M"ayb"e in a "30"?

85mph in a 50mph zone is 1.7 times the speed limit. The kinetic energy difference would be massive. A Ferrari Testarossa weighs 1506kg so the amount of kinetic energy would be 376,208 joules @ 50mph but 1.87 x 10^6joules @ 85mph.

What is outrageous is your inability to correctly use quotation marks or are you having something similar to a facial tick or restless leg syndrome?