Why Finland fined this driver $60,000 for going 14 mph over the limit

Keima Kuisla, right, was fined 54,000 euros for going 103km/h in a 80km/h zone. (Photo credit: Left, Lauri Rantala | Flickr; right,

Most of us have been there — you’re nonchalantly cruising about 10 mph over the speed limit, only to notice a police car flash the lights behind you. It’s a downer that’ll cost maybe $350, and a couple hours of traffic school to knock the point off the record.

But a similar infraction cost one driver nearly $60,000 in Finland.

Reima Kuisla was on his way to the airport when he got caught going 103 km/h (64 mph) in an 80km/h (50 mph) zone, setting him back 54,024 euros. It’s a seemingly excessive penalty until you realize how Finland calculates its fines.

Kuisla posted a picture of the fine on his Facebook page
Kuisla posted a picture of the fine on his Facebook page

Unlike in the United States, where the flat fine is based on location and speed over the limit, Finland bases the penalty also as a percentage of daily income, according to the previous year’s tax return. Since Reima Kuisla earned over 6.5 million euros ($7 million) in 2013, he had a penalty equivalent to a brand-new BMW M3. The rationale is that the fine should sting for anyone, whether they’re scraping by or living in the lap of luxury. Unsurprisingly, Kuisla isn’t a fan of progressive penalties:

"Ten years ago I wouldn't have believed that I would seriously consider moving abroad. Finland is impossible to live in for certain kinds of people who have high incomes and wealth," said Kuisla on his Facebook page.

He wasn’t the only one to pay a hefty sum in Finland — a Nokia executive had pay 116,000 euros (over $103,000) back in 2002 for speeding on a Harley. Say what you will about excessive fines, but that's a penalty no one forgets.