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Crime The Almighty Buck Transportation

$56,000 Speeding Ticket Issued Under Finland's System of Fines Based On Income 760

HughPickens.com writes Joe Pinsker writes at The Atlantic that Finish businessman Reima Kuisla was recently caught going 65 miles per hour in a 50 zone in his home country and ended up paying a fine of $56,000. The fine was so extreme because in Finland, some traffic fines, as well as fines for shoplifting and violating securities-exchange laws, are assessed based on earnings—and Kuisla's declared income was €6.5 million per year. Several years ago another executive was fined the equivalent of $103,000 for going 45 in a 30 zone on his motorcycle. Finland's system for calculating fines is relatively simple: It starts with an estimate of the amount of spending money a Finn has for one day, and then divides that by two—the resulting number is considered a reasonable amount of spending money to deprive the offender of. Then, based on the severity of the crime, the system has rules for how many days the offender must go without that money. Going about 15 mph over the speed limit gets you a multiplier of 12 days, and going 25 mph over carries a 22-day multiplier. Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, France, and Switzerland also have some sliding-scale fines, or "day-fines," in place, but in America, flat-rate fines are the norm. Since the late 80s, when day-fines were first seriously tested in the U.S., they have remained unusual and even exotic.

Should such a system be used in the United States? After all, wealthier people have been shown to drive more recklessly than those who make less money. For example Steve Jobs was known to park in handicapped spots and drive around without license plates. But more importantly, day-fines could introduce some fairness to a legal system that many have convincingly shown to be biased against the poor. Last week, the Department of Justice released a comprehensive report on how fines have been doled out in Ferguson, Missouri. "Ferguson's law enforcement practices are shaped by the City's focus on revenue rather than by public safety needs," it concluded. The first day-fine ever in the U.S. was given in 1988, and about 70 percent of Staten Island's fines in the following year were day-fines. A similar program was started in Milwaukee, and a few other cities implemented the day-fine idea and according to Judith Greene, who founded Justice Strategies, a nonprofit research organization, all of these initiatives were effective in making the justice system fairer for poor people. "When considering a proportion of their income,people are at least constantly risk-averse. This means that the worst that would happen is that the deterrent effect of fines would be the same across wealth or income levels," says Casey Mulligan. "We should start small—say, only speeding tickets—and see what happens."
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$56,000 Speeding Ticket Issued Under Finland's System of Fines Based On Income

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  • well.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot ( 1032226 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @03:44PM (#49269509) Homepage Journal

    I fail to see why this is a problem.

    • Re:well.. (Score:4, Informative)

      by jandrese ( 485 ) <kensama@vt.edu> on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:02PM (#49269723) Homepage Journal
      It's only a problem because we have not adopted it here. This system makes a lot of sense although it comes with a few caveats:
      1. You have to determine what someone's yearly income is. Some very wealthy people hide most of their income for tax purposes making this difficult.
      2. It creates sensational headlines when some Rockefeller is pulled over and gets an enormous fine (that they have no trouble paying).
      3. It hurts revenue generation for the police force because a lot of the people pulled over are in poverty and get small fines.
      • Re:well.. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:13PM (#49269855)

        In regards to your first point, the system would have to be based on the offender's net worth rather than their income in the US, due to all of the tricks that the rich have paid to create in the tax code. And then we'd need a semi-accurate way of calculating net worth. (And then, of course, once we have that, we can adjust the tax code to pay attention to changes in net worth rather than "income", which would help a lot with the tax evasion problem!)

        As for your third point, the cops would have to start overenforcing and creating crime against the rich instead of the poor in order to bolster their budgets. Frankly, I think this would be a good change. The rich can fight back better, and we might actually see some meaningful change in the policies of police departments this way.

        • Re:well.. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:44PM (#49270235) Homepage Journal

          As for your third point, the cops would have to start overenforcing and creating crime against the rich instead of the poor in order to bolster their budgets. Frankly, I think this would be a good change. The rich can fight back better, and we might actually see some meaningful change in the policies of police departments this way.

          Wait, wait wait....

          Isn't the point of the fine, to enforce the concept of SAFETY?

          Let's take revenue generation for the city/police/state OUT of the equation. It is a HUGE conflict of interest for those enforcing this fine to be also the beneficiaries of it.

          Why not take all the money that is collected in fines for speeding, jay walking, etc.....and at the end of the year, redistribute it to all the citizens that have NOT gotten a fine that year?

          The motto of the police force should not be "To Collect and Serve" after all, but yet it seems to be their primary motivating force these days. I'd venture to guess the high enthusiasm we currently see to enforce speeding laws would drop drastically if the cops didn't directly benefit from it monetarily.

          But here's the way it works in most cases I see. They just want the money. In my city and I think in many others, if you are SMART, you do not automatically pay the fine and plea guilty. You take your day in court. I found out how it works at least in New Orleans. If you go to court, just before the judge comes for that day, the asst. DA takes you into his office and gives you a plea deal. Pretty much the same fine, BUT...the charge is reduced to a non-moving violation so that it doesn't go on your driving record.

          So, check in your state, it may be VERY much worth your time to go to court rather than pay that fine. Me? I need to get an upgraded detector to catch the one asshole I found out there with a modern LIDAR.

          That being said...lets take the direct collection of $$ away from the govt and back to the people, if this is for safety, then lets reward those that drive safely.

          Overall...no, I'm not for outrageous fines for folks that are rich. It seems lately, for some reason, so many out there are treating wealth as something evil and bad. Frankly, the only reason I work is to increase my net worth. Money is the thing that allows me to live and have fun on a standard that makes my life fun. Why is everyone so inclined to try to just take as much as possible from others? Ok..maybe that's a whole new thread, but really....let's at least take the direct benefit of pulling people over out of the hands of those enforcing the law and then look at fine "balance".

          • Re:well.. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Phantom of the Opera ( 1867 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:53PM (#49270325) Homepage

            I think the idea is that is supposed to be more an incentive to not get a ticket, so that the sting hurts everyone equally. It would have to be carefully implemented to not be abusive.

            It is probably an emotional response to seeing some rich **** flaunt the law with zero consequence to themselves, where a ticket like that could destroy someone scraping by : see http://www.slate.com/articles/... [slate.com]. I have sympathy for the idea and when I was in Germany, there were similar laws.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Cramer ( 69040 )

            Revenue is the entire point of most traffic tickets. Look at the stats for speeding tickets, or stop light cameras, and it's as bright as a road flare. When someone does something dangerous, or actually does harm, no ticket is ever written -- when I was rear-ended, destroying my car, the idiot soccer mom that did it received no ticket at all. When you rear-end someone sitting at a stop light in rush hour traffic on a five lane highway less than a mile from the trailer park you call home -- i.e. a road you d

          • Re:well.. (Score:5, Insightful)

            by haruchai ( 17472 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @05:48PM (#49270773)

            The point of a fine is supposed to be a deterrent. A below-average Joe may have trouble paying a fine of several hundred dollars while a rich guy has options.
            The fine may be trivial, impounding his car may not work as he may have more than one or renting one long term isn't financially onerous - or he can just buy another new out of pocket. Or he can hire a chauffeur or even risk driving without a license.

            It's not about taking from "the makers", it's about not allowing rich assholes to flout the law just because they have more money.

          • The problem you have with your system is that the fines are retained by the police, they should go into state revenue without earmarks.

            That said, they're still really enthusiastic to fine speeders here; they still get to swagger and chide you like a naughty child after breaking more laws than the person they're "in pursuit" of, that hasn't actually fled.

          • It seems lately, for some reason, so many out there are treating wealth as something evil and bad.

            Not necessarily evil, but something that's almost alive in its own right. Wealth has a logic all of its own, and makes demands to its nominal owners which tend to be destructive to other people. Few would break into someone's house and throw the occupants out, but one wealthy person closes a factory, rendering all the employees unemployed, and then a bank owned by another repossesses their homes. Neither of th

        • Re:well.. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TwoEyedJack ( 3712517 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:50PM (#49270295)
          Nobody is under any obligation to share their financial details on net worth with any government official. Income, yes. Net worth, no. Net worth changes every single day depending on markets for real estate, equities, bonds, equipment etc. The overhead associated with appraising everything would be enormous. Then you have classes of people who have lots of paper wealth, but little income. Say a farmer. He may be worth millions on paper, but have little cash flow, and lots of that is committed to paying off bills for seed, chemicals, diesel fuel, etc.
        • Re:well.. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @05:14PM (#49270475)
          'Net worth' is not always a good indicator either. Consider a farmer with a couple hundred acres. Annual 'income' of $20,000, but on paper, a millionaire, because of the land.
      • Re:well.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by portnoy ( 16520 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:21PM (#49269953) Homepage

        It hurts revenue generation for the police force because a lot of the people pulled over are in poverty and get small fines.

        You're making the assumption that this would continue. Instead, it's more likely the police would target more expensive cars for smaller infractions, since a BMW going 6mph over the limit is likely to be more lucrative than a rusted-out Dodge Dart going 15mph over.

        • Re:well.. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:33PM (#49270113)

          In Finland the money from speeding tickets goes to the state, not the local county/city. To my knowledge (correct me if I'm wrong), the money from tickets issued by the police goes at least partially to the local county and state. If there was equally only a federal police force in the US, I don't think there would be an issue with it.

          • To my knowledge (correct me if I'm wrong), the money from tickets issued by the police goes at least partially to the local county and state

            You're correct that in most (all?) of the US the local municipality gets a portion of any driving citations.

            That's why many of them (at least here in SC) will often issue a "Careless Operation" ticket when they pull you over as a "favor". A speeding ticket here is often less than $100 but levies "points" against your license (ie, they make your insurance rate go up). Careless Operation runs around $250 but has no points associated, so your insurance generally isn't affected. The drivers thinks they're ge

        • So people of wealth and means will be subject to the horrific process of policing for profit and be able to force change instead of ignoring it because to them the fines are equivalent to their meal that night instead of groceries for a month for a poor person.

          Traffic fines are the number one most regressive system we have in the US. Outrageous fines is a huge trap for poor people because while they are generally law abiding citizens they simply can't pay them and get caught in a never ending cycles of fin

      • We'll have autonomous driving cars in the US before this type of law widely adopted here.
      • Re:well.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kuzb ( 724081 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:32PM (#49270103)

        The point of the law shouldn't be that its a cash machine. It's that it should discourage illegal activities. Part of the problem is that police forces proceed from the faulty premise that their job it to fund the department. It shouldn't be. It should first and foremost be to serve the public trust by upholding and enforcing the law.

        Presently speeding tickets aren't a deterrent to rich people because they're absurdly low. I think a sliding scale based on income isn't just a good idea, it's the only logical idea that works fairly to discourage the act.

      • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:35PM (#49270133)

        You have to determine what someone's yearly income is. Some very wealthy people hide most of their income for tax purposes making this difficult.

        The IRS is pretty good at this. Sure there will be some people that weasel out of some money they might otherwise owe but the it doesn't make the basic idea a bad one. In the US there are some privacy and states rights issues to work through along with a general distrust of government so I don't really see such a thing becoming common here.

        It hurts revenue generation for the police force because a lot of the people pulled over are in poverty and get small fines.

        Revenue from illegal activity should NEVER be used to fund policing. It simply is too big of a conflict of interest. Fines from stuff like parking tickets should be used to fund other things (education, roads, etc) but it should not be available to police.

        • by Bruce66423 ( 1678196 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:41PM (#49270197)
          What REALLY different about them is that your tax returns are a matter of public record; if I want to know what my neighbour's income is, then if I lived in Finland I could find out on line... And it's income that's used to generate the level of the fine.
        • Revenue from illegal activity should NEVER be used to fund policing. It simply is too big of a conflict of interest. Fines from stuff like parking tickets should be used to fund other things (education, roads, etc) but it should not be available to police.

          Have you ever heard the expression "money is fungible"?

          If your speeding tickets go to funding the schools, the local government will just lower the school budget (since they're going to get the speeding ticket money), and raise the police budget (since th

          • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:56PM (#49270353)

            You have to determine what someone's yearly income is. Some very wealthy people hide most of their income for tax purposes making this difficult.

            Since I am a certified accountant, yeah the concept is not new to me.

            If your speeding tickets go to funding the schools, the local government will just lower the school budget (since they're going to get the speeding ticket money), and raise the police budget (since that will let them write more speeding tickets to pay for the schools).

            So you give the money to someone other than the jurisdiction issuing the ticket. Or have the revenue go to charity or even refunded back to the citizens. It's not actually difficult to make playing three card monte with the budget difficult.

      • Re:well.. (Score:5, Informative)

        by burne ( 686114 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @07:03PM (#49271375)

        It hurts revenue generation for the police force

        Top Tip: In Finland the police isn't depending on 'revenue'. Policing Finland as a preset, defined budget. Any fines levied are a surplus to the states income, and police forces do not benefit in any way from their law enforcing activities. Finnish police has to account for security, safety and crimes solved, not for income from speeding tickets.

    • Re:well.. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:02PM (#49269727) Homepage Journal

      I do.
      15 mph over the speed limit gets you a multiplier of 12

      The problem is fines are supposed to be for the encouragement of safe driving. It is not supposed to be a way to generate revenue.
      Change that multiplier to 1 and you may have something.
      Also this?
      "After all, wealthier people have been shown to drive more recklessly than those who make less money. For example Steve Jobs was known to park in handicapped spots and drive around without license plates."
      Let me explain this to you. Reckless means an action that puts people in danger.
      Driving without a license plate and or parking in a handicapped spot does not put people into danger.
      It may be rude or even morally wrong but it is putting anyone in danger so it not reckless.
      BTW I have not had a speeding ticket in over a decade and I do not park in handicapped spots but the use of law enforcement for generating revenue is a terrible trend and needs to be stopped.
      If you want to do fines right IMHO the first fine in a year should be 1 day the second 10 days and third 50 days and the fourth 100 days.

      • Re:well.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:11PM (#49269833)

        Proportional fines are not a means of revenue, where did you get that stupid idea from? Fines are punishments. As such, if the punishment doesn't reach even 1% of the money you earn in a day, you can effectively ignore them always, and in the process possibly endanger others. The proportionality of the system is to level the playing field, but that is clearly communism and can't be had in the united states of money.

        • Re:well.. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by pla ( 258480 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:19PM (#49269925) Journal
          Proportional fines are not a means of revenue, where did you get that stupid idea from? Fines are punishments.

          Bullshit. All fines generate revenue, and traffic enforcement counts as one of the worst offenders.

          "Gee, why does the speed suddenly drop from 45 to 25 for a tenth of a mile riiight at that otherwise-uninteresting spot where cops can easily hide?"
          "Safety."
          • by bondsbw ( 888959 )

            Bullshit. All fines generate revenue

            Fine, they all generate revenue AND they are a means of punishment.

            Perhaps the ideal, then, is to keep the punishment and change how revenue generation works.

            Some law enforcement agencies do not see a dime of that money directly, but it gets pooled at the state level into general funding (along with tax revenue). Law enforcement, along with all other government activities, is then funded from that general fund. This indirect funding reduces the correlation of enforcement zones (aka speed traps) to revenue

        • Re:well.. (Score:4, Interesting)

          by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:31PM (#49270079)

          Proportional fines are not a means of revenue, where did you get that stupid idea from? Fines are punishments. As such, if the punishment doesn't reach even 1% of the money you earn in a day, you can effectively ignore them always, and in the process possibly endanger others. The proportionality of the system is to level the playing field, but that is clearly communism and can't be had in the united states of money.

          But need we all be reminded of this.... IF you have something to loose, it's a bad idea to run around doing dangerous things. So if Richie Rich was speeding and being negligent, wrecks your car and you get injured in the process, you can bet that he will be fined for breaking the law, and then found liable in Civil court for his actions. Richie will be less rich after that.

          So, here in the USA, this graduated fine idea really isn't necessary. We already have an effective way to deal with such eventualities. Not to mention it supports a whole industry that keeps personal injury attorneys chasing ambulances and in business and the civil courts busy.

          • Re:well.. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by websitebroke ( 996163 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @05:03PM (#49270405)
            That all sounds great except for the me getting injured part. I'd rather Richie Rich was deterred in the first place.
      • Re:well.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Carnivore ( 103106 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:12PM (#49269839)

        I think the point is not for the police departments to get Teh Phat Lootz, but to equalize the pain of violating the rules. The guy in the article makes €6.5 million a year, almost €18000 a day--do you think he gives a single shit about a €50 fine? €1000?

        We sort of cover this in the US with points; you can't just drive recklessly and pay for it out of petty cash forever because you'll lose your license. But the day fine concept seems like a decent way to instill the same kind of aversion in everyone, fairly. Points are ephemeral but your money is obvious.

        • Re:well.. (Score:5, Informative)

          by TheNastyInThePasty ( 2382648 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:21PM (#49269963)

          I think the point is not for the police departments to get Teh Phat Lootz, but to equalize the pain of violating the rules.

          You can't have one without the other. Unless you deny the entire government the money from the fines, the rich will become the only ones targeted by traffic cops. It's already bad enough that police departments prioritize money over safety. It could perhaps become bad enough that the cops ignore anyone without an extremely nice car because the revenue is not worth it.

          • by alispguru ( 72689 ) <bane@g[ ]com ['st.' in gap]> on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:55PM (#49270341) Journal

            Just say that fine revenue above police administrative costs goes somewhere else, so the people issuing the tickets don't directly benefit.

            Since these are local/state offenses, the obvious place would be the state general fund.

            There's potential for abuse, of course - states might have to specify maximum admin costs.

            I bet the enthusiasm for local speed traps would drop way off under such a system. Sounds win/win to me.

        • Except most speed limits are complete bullshit, at least in the US.

          There are highways in NYC that have a 40mph minimum and a 45 mph maximum. Think that has anything to do with the ability to fine pretty much anyone at any time?

          Roads have pretty natural speed limits regardless of the imposed limit, and it would be trivial to figure them out by simply taking an average over the course of a few days. I would venture a guess for the majority of the highways it would be substantially higher than the posted limit

      • Re:well.. (Score:5, Informative)

        by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@worl d 3 . net> on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:23PM (#49269977) Homepage

        The problem is fines are supposed to be for the encouragement of safe driving. It is not supposed to be a way to generate revenue.
        Change that multiplier to 1 and you may have something.

        If the goal is to encourage safe driving then the fine must have some effect on the person being fined. If it is too low they won't care.

        I agree that speeding fines are not for generating revenue, but that doesn't seem to be the primary factor in determining the amount.

      • by vux984 ( 928602 )

        It is not supposed to be a way to generate revenue

        I propose that all traffic fine revenue should simply be placed into a pot, and then distributed back each year to everyone with a vehicle insured in the jurisdiction. Then its revenue neutral to the police / government / state; and its only function is to be used as a punitive / disincentive to driving poorly. I figure that solves a lot problems.

        A tax increase is required to offset it though since we'd have to fund the police enforcement directly. But that's a good thing.

        Driving without a license plate and or parking in a handicapped spot does not put people into danger. It may be rude or even morally wrong but it is putting anyone in danger so it not reckless.

        I agree. But I also wouldn't call 1

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        BTW I have not had a speeding ticket in over a decade and I do not park in handicapped spots but the use of law enforcement for generating revenue is a terrible trend and needs to be stopped.

        The way to do this is to remove the reward incentive from fines.

        If the fines go to the general fund for whatever the highest political entity is (eg, if Ferguson, MO fines somebody, the money goes to the state's general fund) then you remove any financial incentive for the local police to fine anyone, because the money

  • The free riders get another free ride.

    Also Ferguson? The % of people being ticketed for expired plates should not be against the general pop. It should be the non-registering population.

  • One alternative is to abolish fines, and send people to jail for an amount of time relative to the infraction. Everyone gets about 22,000 days [source: The Moody Blues] so the punishment would be equal regardless of income, right?

    • Re:Time is money (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LMariachi ( 86077 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:01PM (#49269705) Journal

      Lower-income people can lose their jobs if they have to be away from work for even a few days, especially if it’s due to incarceration. Even if they don’t get fired, hourly workers will lose income, whereas salaried employees and people who live off of investment income won’t. And someone like Martha Stewart can go away for five months and have her media empire (which has been running profitably the whole time) waiting for her when she gets out.

      So no, not equal at all. (This is also why a flat tax is unequal despite being equally applied.)

    • Re:Time is money (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:02PM (#49269733) Homepage
      I agree with this. Except jail costs the state money, while fines bring it in.

      So make one change - replace 'jail' with community service,

      One speeding ticket = 4 hours spent picking up garbage on the side of the road.

  • Sounds good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fwipp ( 1473271 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @03:48PM (#49269549)

    Whether you view the fines as a deterrent or a punishment, it makes sense that under a flat-fine structure, rich people will be unaffected by fines that are crippling for poor people to pay.

    If a class of people can simply ignore the penalties doled out for breaking a law, that system needs reworking.

    There are probably some devils lurking in the details (some very rich people have little income; is spending money a good proxy, some people live just within their means and others save quite a bit, etc etc), but the basic idea seems very sound.

    • Re:Sounds good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by OhPlz ( 168413 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:00PM (#49269701)

      Changing it to a percent of wealth or income would encourage more rich people to hide their assets overseas. It wouldn't fix the problem. They have plenty of money to hire fancy lawyers and accountants to make sure their wealth remains in tact. Meanwhile, the middle class would probably get hosed because they have enough to be hurt by higher fines, but not enough to defend against it or hide their assets. And what happens to the poor? They'd get zero fine because they have nothing and earn nothing? That doesn't sound like it helps anything. The best thing for speeding, IMO, is to set better limits. If 90% of the traffic on a road travels higher than the limit, the limit isn't set right.

      • Re:Sounds good (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Pentium100 ( 1240090 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:10PM (#49269825)

        The problem with increasing the speed limits is that some people will drive over the limit no matter what the limit is, figuring that (in my country) for +10km/h you only get a warning and for +20km/h the fine isn't that big, so they can afford it.

        Having more speed cameras helps (in my country the speed cameras are preceded by an informational sign announcing their presence) as people drive slower when they know that they can get their picture taken.

        As for the %income fines for the zero income people, I do not know how the law is in Finland, but IMO it could be that if you get zero income then you have to spend the 12 days or whatever in jail or doing community service.

  • On the one hand, a scaling punishment I think is a smart idea. On the other hand, since ticket fines generally go right back into the department coffers, this will make the police target those of means far more and kinda reverse the current situation, where you'll have the average joes being more reckless because the cops don't see it as worth their time to pull them over. This will also lead to the rich guys going for clunkers to avoid being targeted. So in the end, you might actually end up with less o
  • Speeding is a way to make money?

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @03:56PM (#49269635) Homepage Journal
    There are tons of ways to make them more effective, none of which we use. We could set up speed cameras to ticket everyone who's speeding. We don't. We could just mandate in-car GPS tracking and not even allow speeding in the first place. Even the shittiest car you can buy likely has a speedometer that tops out somewhere past 100 mph. The car might not be able to actually get to that speed, but by God they're putting it on the speedometer! Hit any portion of any interstate that has a speed limit of 55 mph when it's not backed up from rush hour traffic and just TRY to do 55 mph there! You'll get a lot of hate from the rest of the traffic, which is going to be doing 70-75.

    Nope, tickets are all about revenue. The speed limits are enforced almost entirely arbitrarily, although every so often they do actually pull over someone who's being very reckless. If they were enforced much more stringently, people would start demanding that limits be raised and revenue would dry up. If you used some technical means to prevent people from speeding, revenue would dry up (As would sales of overpowered sports cars.) Of course we can't say that, because arbitrary enforcement of a law would be unconstitutional.

    • by labnet ( 457441 )

      Gosh, try Australia, where we have : fixed speed cameras, mobile speed cameras, hand held radar, point to point average speed cameras. There's not much speeding going on in Oz, because ultimately the demerit point system is of more consequence than the monetary value of the fine.

    • In my country, the police does not have to "earn their keep" by bringing in fines. For example, all speed cameras are preceded by a sign informing the driver of the speed camera (and the sign is far enough away from the camera that you can slow down to the speed limit unless you were driving really fast). The rationale for the signs is this: "Although not having the signs would result in more tickets, having the signs makes everyone drive slow in the vicinity of the camera, and people obeying the speed limi

    • by brunes69 ( 86786 )

      ... Except in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, France, and Switzerland, where tickets are about a deterrent.

      Because you know, they collect enough taxes to properly fund their civil services like police, so that, you know, they can do the jobs they are supposed to do and not focus on being tax collectors.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:00PM (#49269697)

    CA regs said you have six months to plate your new car. He just bought a new car every six months so what he did was legal.
    Now for parking in handicapped spots, I'm all for crushing his vehicle.

  • It gets very complicated. The reason many wealthy people get low taxes, is because they know how to move the money they are not using at the moment away from being taxable. So on paper they may be earning 50k a year. While their net worth may be billions of dollars.
    However you also have people with a high net worth, but do not really make a lot of money. For example farmers, They have millions of dollars in Land and equipment, However their quality of life is rather middle class. We really need to find

  • Demerit points are much more of a deterrent to things like speeding in Canada (speeding while going at the same speed as traffic although is typically not enforced as speeding - i.e. normal speed on 401 is about 120 - 130 while the posted limit is 100....) Caught for speeding 16+km and you lose 3 points, insurance goes up... and if you repeat you have to go to an interview... and at 15.... poof goes your license.
  • I had contemplated a system like this to make the judiciary more equitable (other ideas include collecting all money to be spent on a court case to be divided equally between the parties- you are spending money for the decision, not to increase your chances of winning), and ultimately had to discard it as it seemed to favor increased lawlessness among the poor (if you have essentially no money, you can commit crimes with impunity as there is little cost). You could make up a hybrid system of an equal chance

  • After all, wealthier people have been shown to drive more recklessly than those who make less money. For example Steve Jobs was known to park in handicapped spots and drive around without license plates.

    Neither of the things mentioned in the example amount to being reckless.

  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:05PM (#49269769) Journal
    Get rid of artificially low speed limits.

    I know, I know, crazy talk. Won't someone think of the revenue?
  • Potential for abuse (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:09PM (#49269805) Homepage Journal

    The potential for abuse is insane. Say I'm rich. I simply hire some poor guy with zero income to break the law when I need it done (driving me around when I'm in a hurry is a good one). If he gets in trouble I give him a bonus. If he gets caught too many times then I hire some other guy. Really, this is a stupid idea, and will further lead to bias and all kinds of issues with the police. Want to bet people driving more expensive cars get pulled over more often there? Especially in jurisdictions that rely on traffic fine income to support their infrastructure. Cops have latitude in writing tickets, etc. Only going 5-10 over? It's their choice to pull you over or not. They are not *required* to by law, and because of that, the potential for discrimination based on wealth will happen. Maybe you've just a got a cop who financially is in rough shape and he wants to stick it to the man. Well, he'll just wait for a luxury car to come along and bust them for going 5-6 over the limit.

    Stupid idea.

    • I simply hire some poor guy with zero income to break the law when I need it done (driving me around when I'm in a hurry is a good one). .

      I'm pretty much poor and I do that now. It's called a taxi.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:09PM (#49269807)

    They are some of the worst habitual offenders on the road.

  • by superdave80 ( 1226592 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @04:32PM (#49270097)

    If you thought it was bad how cops were targeting/ticketing poor people, wait until the police realize they can fund their whole budget if they can ticket a guy like Zuckerberg once or twice!

    Before a system like this is in place, the financial incentive for cops to ticket people needs to be removed. Any fines need to be given back to the community via some type of property/income/sales tax rebate, rather than back to the city (which in essence goes back to the cops that are handing out the fines). For example, if $1,000,000 in fines were collected for a town with 10,000 property tax assessments, they could knock $100 off of each tax bill.

    The same needs to be done with civil asset forfeitures. If there was ever a clearer case of conflict of interest, I haven't seen it.

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @05:39PM (#49270709)

    For example Steve Jobs was known to park in handicapped spots

    For your reference, a liver transplant gets you qualified for parking in a handicapped spot for some time after it occurs and all sorts of time while you're waiting, as does most of the other treatments he was going through.

    Steve Job's crime was not displaying his tags, not that he wasn't a handicapped placard carrier.

    And if you want to be retarded about it, he could have just bought a handicapped placard, but then his personal life and medical issues would have been on public display, which he didn't want.

    So we're back to ... his crime was not having tags, THATS IT.

  • by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Monday March 16, 2015 @06:02PM (#49270903)
    The problem is that for the poor a small fine may be more than a bit painful. In order to have the same effect some seriously high fines might need to be levied. For example Steve Jobs parked in handicapped spaces. I wonder if a 10 million dollar fine for a single incident would have cost him as much pain as a $100. fine does for many working people. We see the same thing when charges are filed against major companies. Microsoft has been fined as much as one half billion dollars for business violations over the years yet they still gained money by their wrongdoing. Business fines should always be far greater than the money made by breaking laws and rules.

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