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Old 01-11-2010, 12:35 AM   #1
5vz-fe
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Default Speeding ticket debate

Is it the right approach to determine the fine base on a person's wealth?

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,...est=latestnews

GENEVA European countries are increasingly pegging speeding fines to income as a way to punish wealthy scofflaws who would otherwise ignore tickets.
Advocates say a $290,000 speeding ticket slapped on a millionaire Ferrari driver in Switzerland was a fair and well-deserved example of the trend.
Germany, France, Austria and the Nordic countries also issue punishments based on a person's wealth. In Germany the maximum fine can be as much as $16 million compared to only $1 million in Switzerland. Only Finland regularly hands out similarly hefty fine to speeding drivers, with the current record believed to be a $190,000 ticket in 2004.
The Swiss court appeared to set a world record when it levied the fine in November on a man identified in the Swiss media only as "Roland S." Judges in the eastern canton of St. Gallen described him as a "traffic thug" in their verdict, which only recently came to light.

"As far as we're concerned this is very good," Sabine Jurisch, a road safety campaigner with the Swiss group Road Cross.
She said rich drivers were lightly punished until Swiss voters approved a 2007 penal law overhaul that let judges hand down fines based on personal income and wealth for moderate misdemeanors including excessive speeding and drunk driving. Before, they had to assign relatively small fixed penalties or rarely a few days in prison.
The fines were traditionally insignificant for rich people, and in the rare cases where prison terms for small-time offenders were handed down, they were usually suspended anyway. And even when they were sent to jail, the deterrent was limited compared with the costs of incarceration borne by the taxpayers, officials said.
"It wasn't about making the punishment harsher or lighter, but more sensible," Heinz Sutter, an official at the Swiss Justice Ministry, told The Associated Press.
In the latest Swiss case, the court took into account the man's history of similar offenses, the high speed with which he drove through a small village (60 miles an hour, nearly twice the 30 mph limit), and his estimated personal wealth of over $20 million.
"The accused unscrupulously and without obvious reason, probably out of pure desire for speed, used a powerful vehicle to break elementary traffic rules," the court said, noting that the man could have risked the lives of pedestrians and other drivers.
Thomas Hansjakob, a prosecutor in the nearby city of St. Gallen, said the average driver is likely to get a more modest fine of several thousand Swiss francs.
"I think the man in the pub will get that this guy is only paying so much because he's rich, so it won't necessarily scare off others," he said. "But this is a signal for other rich people. We've had a real problem with wealthy foreigners hiring cars and conducting races on Swiss roads."
Last year a court sentenced six men from Hong Kong to fines of up to 95,000 francs after the men buzzed through Switzerland in hired Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Aston Martins and Audis at speeds of up to 142 miles an hour.
In a separate case, a Frenchman was fined 70,000 francs after being caught on a highway doing 151 miles an hour.
Switzerland's Association for Transport Psychology wants authorities to place more emphasis on compulsory courses for speeders and regular reviews of their fitness to drive.
"Our view is that ordering the drivers to take part in therapy sessions is much more effective than simply making them open their wallets," Andreas Widmer, the association's president, said.
And the nationalist Swiss People's Party wants to reverse the 2007 penal code changes, allowing judges to once again impose short prison sentences for lesser infractions, said one of its lawmakers, Luzi Stamm.
The current law could lead to "ridiculously low" penalties without any possibility of jail time for poor people who are caught driving drunk or speeding excessively, Stamm told the AP.
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Old 01-11-2010, 02:18 AM   #2
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Yet more socialist jealousy of the wealthy.

I would bet ALL those voters who had to face a $10,000 fine would cry foul. The world really needs an enema.
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Old 01-11-2010, 01:01 PM   #3
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Don't they have a points system, the fines aren't connected to wealth or income but you can lose your licence, that's punishment enough I reckon. Perhaps though if the driver wants to cough up a ton of cash it could be spent on improving roads??
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:22 PM   #4
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agreed ... points and licence loss should be enough ... would even agree with some kind of "community service", but redistibution of wealth ... enough, does a person with less personal wealth break the law to a lesser extent while speeeding ... should wealthy murderers get 20 or more life sentences?
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:29 PM   #5
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I agree, taking away the license is the best way of punishment.....regarding the wealth thing, I am sure the insurance company already did that on behave of the government
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Old 01-12-2010, 06:09 AM   #6
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Fines are usually useful for repeat offenders or property crime offenders. This is because people don't like their money being taken away. But, in terms of driving offences, losing a licence is what people generally care most about. Fines are something they worry about, but not as much, unless they start to owe thousands of dollars, in which case they have no choice.

In this case, it's just a bit stupid. Total populist stunt.
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:26 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 5vz-fe View Post
I agree, taking away the license is the best way of punishment.....
But not very useful in the case of tourists.
Ancient greeks used to say that justice was about judging unequally the unequal individuals. But enormous fines are just absurd. Too much capitalistic. After paying the fine we remain unequal anyway.

For the sake of improving the offenders health, I'd propose to walk. Say, walk 1 mile or km for every mile of speeding.
And carry an I WAS CAUGHT SPEEDING banner.
And a PUNISHED hat.
And a T shirt reading in the front GO GREEN: WALK!
And in the back CARS ARE EVIL.
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Old 01-14-2010, 05:33 AM   #8
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^Tourists can skip the country anyway. Cops don't care about minor traffic offences, except dodgy cops.
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