A motorist was caught doing 180 mph in his Mercedes sports car in Switzerland and now may set the world record for a speeding ticket at $1 million or £656,000.
The 37-year-old is not named. However, one of the more interesting aspects of this story is that in Switzerland the government apparently sets the amount of a fine by not just the speed but the wealth of the individual.
I understand that this is to prevent rich drivers from just paying and playing. Yet, in the U.S., you can have your license taken away. Setting different fines based on the wealth of the individual violates a host of core principles in sentencing, in my view.
26 thoughts on “Gilded Lead Foot: Driver Hit With $1 Million Speeding Ticket”
I wish the Prof had elaborated on his reasoning that income/wealth based fines would be problematic.
I could certainly see problems if we imposed cash fines as a substitute for imprisonment for serious felonies like theft or assault. But for something like speeding, a $200 ticket is nothing for a well-off person, but can cascade into homelessness for someone supporting a family on a very low income. The hassle of writing and mailing in a check cold be more of an issue than the $200 for some people.
If some lawyer or plastic surgeon pulling in $500k per year wants to drive recklessly, why shouldn’t the fine be, say, $20k or $50k? People spend that much in one night at some nightclubs. They can certainly afford it, and extremely fast driving is clearly potentially fatal to bystanders and other drivers. In contrast, for someone supporting a family on $20k per year would have a very hard time paying even a $500 ticket.
I think you can clearly make a “common sense” argument that if the goal of the fine is deterrence, then it needs to scale with income to have any effect.
But what are the legal issues with that approach?
Stop sticks. Road blocks. Guys with shotguns.
And you’re welcome. I knew you’d like the “nearly”. 😀
‘Nearly’? Anyway, the cops still have to get the guy to pull over even if they got the word ahead of him.
pete and Slarti,
The Swiss cops were driving radios. They travel at nearly the speed of light.
This penalty scheme is used in Finland as well.
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