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Transport orgs seek to ease speeding criteria

Traffic safety and advocacy groups Liikenneturva and Autoliitto have proposed a change in Finland’s threshold for issuing serious speeding violations on motorways. They say the current system, that hands out hefty penal fees for infractions 20 kilometres over the limit, punishes inadvertent speeders unduly.

Kuvassa vanhempi konstaapeli Aki Kallio mittaa tutkalla nopeuksia
Finnish police measure driving speeds using radar guns and automatic traffic surveillance equipment. Image: Kalle Niskala / Yle

Two of Finland’s leading automotive groups, the road safety council Liikenneturva and the motorists’ association Autoliitto, have suggested that the upper limit for issuing less-expensive petty speeding fines on motorways be increased from 20 to 30 kilometres per hour. This way, more speeding offenses could be dealt with by issuing a spot fine, and only speeders found driving in excess of 30 kilometres per hour over the speed limit would face a summary penal fine. 

Liikenneturva says the proposed reform would improve road traffic safety. 

“On motorways with high speed limits in particular, the upper limit for issuing less stringent spot fees could be raised to infractions of more than 30 kilometres,” says the road safety group’s Anna-Liisa Tarvainen. “It’s effective because it would allow for enhanced traffic monitoring, requiring less personnel resources from the police. This efficiency would in turn improve traffic safety.”

The motorists’ association Autoliitto hopes the change would eliminate “accidental speeding incidents” in areas where the speed limit changes from 100 to 80 kilometres per hour, a transition that proves costly for many drivers if they fail to notice it in time. For example, if a driver is going 101 and enters an 80 zone unawares, a speed camera might snap a picture at 21 kilometres per hour over the speed limit, placing the violation in the more costly penal fee category at present.

Unfair fines

Autoliitto feels the current practice punishes the motorist unfairly when a change in the speed limit goes unnoticed.

“The quandary comes when the violation falls under the system of summary penal fees, as the fine may end up being several times what it would have been due to just one kilometre’s difference. By increasing the limit for the higher fines to 30 kilometres, errors due to driver mistakes like this would be eliminated,” says the association’s CEO Pasi Nieminen.

Both organisations say that fines in Finland should be tiered to coincide with the speeding offence. For major speeding violations, there should be hefty fines; for smaller incidents, the fines could be smaller. Finland’s government has proposed no changes to the thresholds determining the severity of speed limit offenses, but they do suggest raising the maximum spot fine to close to 300 euros.

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