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Helsinki losing millions in unpaid parking fines issued to foreign vehicles

Around 80 percent of parking fines issued to foreign-registered vehicles were never paid, according to the city.

Parkkipirkko asettaa parkkisakkoa auton tuulilasiin.
Image: Antti Haavisto / Yle

Helsinki has lost about 4.5 million euros in unpaid parking fines in recent years, the majority of which were issued to foreign-registered vehicles.

The largest number of parking tickets written out to foreign-registered vehicles by traffic wardens during 2012-2017 were issued to Estonians.

City records show that Estonian vehicles were behind about 75 percent of the 69,000 parking violations issued to foreigners during that five year period.

Some 7.5 percent of parking tickets went to Russian-registered vehicles and five percent were issued to cars from Sweden.

Only about 20 percent of parking tickets issued to foreign-owned cars ever get paid, because the city's parking authority cannot determine who actually owns inappropriately-parked vehicles.

The situation makes it impossible for authorities to follow up and ensure the fines are paid, according to city officials.

Who pays most often?

Drivers from certain countries seem to pay their parking fines more often than others, according to the city. Russian and Hungarian drivers were the most diligent fine payers, according to city figures.

Some 82 percent of drivers of ticketed vehicles from Estonia did not pay their parking fees during 2012-2017, while 92 percent of ticketed Latvian drivers did not pay.

A whopping 96 percent of drivers of Slovakian-registered vehicles, and 79 percent of Swedish ones did not pay their parking fines, either.

Russian drivers, on the other hand, paid their parking fines about 50 percent of the time.

Some 55 percent of Hungarians paid the fines, but only 11 Hungarian-registered vehicles had parking tickets placed on their windshields by Helsinki traffic wardens over the past five years.

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