Most Expensive Speeding Tickets (MSN Autos – by John LeBlanc MSN):
1. In Canada, traffic regulations are made at the provincial level. But contrasting laws in Quebec have caused one the province’s highest-ever traffic fines to be issued. Charles Duguay, who lives in Sherbrooke, Que., was issued a $718 fine and 10 demerit points in early 2008 after police nabbed him driving 122 km/h over Montreal’s Champlain Bridge, which has a limit of 70 km/h. Duguay claimed, though, he shouldn’t have to pay the penalty because there are two sets of traffic laws on the province’s books. The initial fine was issued under Quebec’s recently amended traffic laws. But the old traffic fine structure is still in effect, because the amended law did not rescind previous rules. Under the older law, Duguay would be fined $250 and five demerit points.
2. British constabulary probably thought they were having a good day when they pulled over a driver doing 185 km/h on rural roads. But the big score came when a second speeder was clocked doing a 24 Hours of LeMans-like 276 km/h in his Porsche 911.
Generally, speeders caught on the United Kingdom’s speed cameras get a $100 fine. But the Porsche driver was slapped with $1,250 in courts costs and 10 weeks in jail. And the fines didn’t end there. Like many European countries, U.K. law permits speeding infractions to be determined on a sliding scale based on driving conditions and how fast the driver was travelling above the limit. Thus, the police added charges of careless driving, bringing the total to $9,250 — plus the jail time.
3. In 2008, a 31-year-old resident of Hinton, Alta., was stopped on Highway 16 between Edson and Hinton, about 280 kilometres west of Edmonton, driving 263 km/h — 153 km/h above the road’s limit – on his motorcycle. The judge hearing the case let the motorcyclist keep his license, as long as he paid the $12,000 speeding ticket – one of the most expensive speeding tickets ever issued in Canada. The same traffic court handed a 25-year-old from Prince George, B.C., an $8,500 fine for driving his Chevy Cobalt 206 km/h along the same stretch of highway.
4. The Finnish government started basing its speeding fines on net income about a decade ago. Police can access a citizen’s income tax records via their cell phones, and issue the corresponding traffic fine on the spot. Keijo Kopra, a wood products company executive, received one of the first tickets under the new law. In November 1999, on his way home from work, he was caught driving only 22 km/h over the speed limit. Dialing up his income information, the officer wrote him a ticket for $14,500. In court, the judge lowered it to $9,000. Then the arresting officer mentioned that Kopra had two previous speeding tickets in the same year before the new system went into effect. Based on the new income-based laws, the judge imposed additional fines of $38,000.
5. Kopra’s much-publicized speeding ticket apparently didn’t stop one of his well-to-do countryman from speeding. In 2000, Jaako Rytsola, a 27-year-old Finnish Internet entrepreneur and newspaper columnist, was caught in his BMW going 70 km/h in a 40 km/h zone. “The road was wide and I was feeling good,” he later wrote. After police reviewed Rytsola’s 1999 income records, they issued him a speeding ticket for $71,400.
6. Finland’s notorious speeding fines aren’t just limited to those on four wheels. Anssi Vanjoki, a Nokia senior executive, was busted in 2000 on his Harley-Davidson doing 76 km/h in a 50 km/h zone and was assessed a $103,600 speeding ticket, ironically, by officers using a Nokia phone to obtain is income information.
7. Three years after Vanjoki’s record for the world’s most expensive speeding ticket, fellow countryman, Jussi Salonoja, matched his record. With tax office data showing Salonoja earned around $8 million in 2002, he was slapped with a $103,600 fine for driving 80 km/h in a 40 km/h zone. Vanjoki has gained a dubious national reputation for breaking the Finnish record for a speeding ticket. Previously, Salonoja’s high-speed driving cost him $55,000 after his BMW was clocked at 200 km/h on a highway with a speed limit of 120 km/h.
8. If you’re going to set the record for the world’s most expensive speeding ticket, you may as well do it in style. That seems to be the reasoning behind a Swiss driver who was caught driving his Ferrari Testarossa in a small village at 100 km/h in January 2010. A court in the northeastern Swiss canton of St. Gallen requested the man dip into his over-$23 million fortune to the tune of $290,000. The fine beat a previous Swiss speeding ticket record of more than $100,000, issued to a Porsche driver in Zurich in 2008, after a string of previous traffic offences.
9. Many a fortune has been lost car racing. But since 2007, that old adage has applied to Ontario street racers, too. Initially imposed to combat what the government said was the “organized crime” of street racing, anyone caught driving 50 km/h over the speed limit in the Canadian province — even if the driver is in the only car on a back road — can be fined $10,000, have their car impounded on the spot, and spend up to six months in jail — making it one of the most expensive speeding tickets in North America. Worse yet, there is no right to appeal or to be heard in a court. Like the Sheriff Buford T. Justice character from the Smokey and the Bandit movies, if you’re caught driving 50 km/h or more above the speed limit, Ontario police officers are the judge and the jury at the side of the road.
Top Ten Worst Speeding Excuses (MSN Autos Canada’s list of worst speeding excuses):
1. When the officer asks why you were going so fast, don’t reply: “Tim Hortons has half-price donuts down the road and I was clearing the way for you.”
2. “I told a State Trooper I was speeding because I had to use the bathroom. He told me where the closet restroom was located, followed me and wrote my ticket in the parking lot as I ran inside to use the bathroom.”
3. “I was passing a truck spitting up stones.” This excuse won’t work because the officer doesn’t care about paint chips while you’re hitting 4,000 rpm in third.
4. “I once had a woman call to ask if a solar eruption could affect radar guns. Her son had been pulled over for speeding and she was just sure it was a problem with the radar and not his driving! I had to gently let her down and tell her that no, solar storms don’t have any effect on traffic radar.”
5. “The cop was coming the opposite direction but turned his lights on. When I went to court for the ticket the judge asked why on earth I was driving 100 mph (160 km/h) on a county road. I quickly told him that I was late for a movie with a really cute girl. Then I got an earful for about 15 minutes about how young and dumb I was.”
6. “My car is a 2010 Corolla, and Toyota just released a recall for acceleration. It’s all over the news, and the officer still charged me!” Wonder if you can get speeding tickets recalled?
7. “I was low on gas so I wanted to make sure I had enough speed to coast home.” Obviously not a physics major then. The burn rate needed to get up to cruising speed would negate any freewheeling later. I can already picture judges shaking their heads in disbelief.
8. “I rapidly accelerated to 90 mph (145 km/h). Cop pulled me over. I said I was showing off how quick car was.” Unfortunately, performance testing on a highway is frowned upon by the local constabulary …
9. “I wasn’t speeding, I was only going 10 km over,” presumes that there’s the speed limit, and then there’s the nudge-nudge-wink-wink “speed limit.” So apparently there’s now speeding and speeding, like some secret society of Illuminati and Masons that allow some people to legally drive faster than others. Unfortunately, there’s only one kind of fine … the expensive kind.
10. Waite’s final excuse is a mind-bender: “I didn’t want to get caught driving unaccompanied with my beginner’s licence.” You certainly did a fine job of blending in then. With that sort of logic on tap, this bright mind will surely find a place in politics later in life.