A Fine Idea: $290,000 Speeding Ticket Is Proportional To Income. Do You Agree?


We are big on the slow movement here at TreeHugger, and have even been known to support a 55 MPH speed limit. But even if we had such a thing, enforcement would be a problem; in the last couple of decades income disparity has increased so much that the rich just park their Ferraris where they want, drive as fast as they please and pay the fines as a cost of doing business.

In Switzerland, they appear to take a different approach, and tie speeding fines to income. Now a new record has been been set: 299,000 Swiss francs, or almost US$ 300,000 against a millionaire going 35 miles over the speed limit. (More on this in Wired and the Guardian) It raises an interesting issue: Is this the way to control speeding and parking offences by those to whom the ticket is meaningless? What a fine idea.

A thirty dollar parking ticket is pretty meaningless to the guy in the Ferrari, but it means a lot to the gal in the Subaru. They have been doing this in Switzerland since 2002 and they do it in Finland.

And before anyone starts yelling about commies soaking the rich yet again, I am not calling for a socialist progressive tax, but a fair Libertarian flat tax, that calculates parking and speeding fines directly proportional to your income before deductions.

We need to slow people down to save fuel, make smaller cars more comfortable on the road and reduce accidents. If a flat rate speeding ticket doesn't do the job, perhaps a proportional one would.

And then there are those who park in bike lanes, disproportionately represented by expensive cars, people with a sense of entitlement, or those who would just find the fine to be like paying for parking. Make it hurt proportionately. What do you think?