The $290,000 Speeding Ticket

Red_Ferrari.jpgThe record-setting ticket was given to the driver of a red Ferrari Testarossa. Photo: SeeMonterey via Flickr.

It would be a red Ferrari, wouldn’t it?

The Swiss courts just handed down the world’s most expensive speeding ticket: 299,000 Swiss francs, or just under $290,000. According to the BBC, the motorist was barreling through a small village at 85 miles per hour: 35 mph over the speed limit. Because the Swiss, like many European countries, assess higher speeding penalties to those with a greater ability to pay and because he was a repeat offender, this millionaire had to part with a small fortune. In Switzerland, even the rich have a strong incentive to follow traffic laws.

Stateside, the fines for speeding are bit more lenient. Last August, an off-duty Ohio police officer was caught driving 147 mph down the highway and walked away with a $150 fine and a six-month suspension of his driver’s license. For the rich, penalties for traffic crime amount to a pittance. Millionaire CEO Richard Anderson was driving at an estimated 60 mph on the streets of the Financial District when he struck and killed Florence Cioffi in January 2008. Despite refusing a Breathalyzer test and initially leaving the scene of the crash, Anderson was able to plea down to a 16-day jail sentence, 250 hours of community service, and a fine.

The amount? $350.

  • In Toronto there have been numerous examples of drivers killing pedestrians and cyclists and getting a pat on the hand. There is of course the Michael Bryant case that recently happened in September of 2009, where the former attorney general of Ontario dragged a cyclist down the street and smashed him into a mailbox. The general concenus is that he will get off because of the work of his high priced help and the fact that….well he was the former attorney general. Another one that pops to mind is the woman who drove into a crowded with one person losing their leg. The woman recieved a $350 fine which she didn’t pay cause she skipped the country. Another one that pops to mind is the 80 year old woman that was run down at Avenue Road and St. Clair. The driver recieved a $150 fine because he said he didn’t see her.

  • Hmm, the New York City Council might want to pre-emptively pass legislation limiting fines for speeding, just in case the NYPD ever decides to get serious about enforcing moving violations.

  • Carla

    Maybe a smart way of setting fines is to have them be based on a Gross Annual Income and the percentage increases when the severity of the offense increases.

  • Interesting that the BBC apparently couldn’t find a picture of a Testarossa…

    They should have confiscated his car and his license.

  • This is so obviously a revenue project. I hope that Jimmy Vacca will head off this attack on the middle class before it reaches New York.

  • That is so nice. 290000 dollars for a ticket? poor guy he must be regretting it. I think the ticket is too much. Some people may not even believe it.

  • Wow, that’s a lot of money for just speeding. In the US, the largest fine that I am aware of is a traffic ticket for $37,554.54. In, Bethlehem, PA a truck ticket was issued for failing to get a “super load” permit. The truck was hauling a 213,000-pound steel cylinder and the summons was issued to the owner and driver.

    The truck sat idle for almost 3 weeks after it tipped over on March 12, 2009 because a new route, proper permits and a police escort took a while to organize.

  • DingDong

    I don’t know about “many other European countries” charging for infractions based on income. Unless it has changed in the last two years or so, I think the only other country is Finland.

    That said, I imagine charging for infractions based on income should be politically palatable in New York, right? Seems like a good idea generally, and also a way to tap into to anger over the amount of pay going to masters of the universe. Just need one of them to speed in a Ferrari to frame the issue and I bet pro-rating based on income would in a second.

  • Andy

    Hi, I thinl BBC made another mistake: in Switzerland the speedlimit in a village is 35mph.(50km/h). So he wasn’t 35mph ove but 50mph. Beeing swiss my self I know that any speeding violation above 15km/h will be income dependet. Same crime, same pain. Nothing but fair that is. Don’t feel sorry for him. If he had to pay that much he must be very rich.

  • ohhhh nice car:(

  • AC Tesla

    Poor guy? The reason it was so high was because he wasn’t poor. No, he was filthy rich and reckless and he paid the price. I feel much more for the person living paycheck to paycheck getting a $200 ticket than I do for this guy.

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