Police car Interstate 81 highway Virginia
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The Cost of Traffic Fines For Speeding in Many Countries Worldwide

What are the most expensive speeding fines ever?

If you are a reader of The Gate, you likely travel around the world — or at least have been to one other country than the one in which you live — and you might have noticed that the policies and processes pertaining to speeding differ and vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. You have likely witnessed another motorist who was driving significantly faster than the legal posted speed limit — perhaps blasting past you like a meteorite in space — and maybe even getting caught doing so by law enforcement.

Perhaps you actually committed the traffic infraction yourself at least one time in your past?

The Cost of Traffic Fines For Speeding in Many Countries Worldwide

You might actually be surprised as to the cost of speeding tickets in various countries around the world. If you disagree, please opine in the Comments section after the conclusion of this article.

To determine the maximum speeding fine in every country, government sites, press releases, and other sources were reviewed to compile a list of the maximum speeding fine in every country where data is available.

For countries where speeding fines are based on income, the potential speeding ticket value for a driver with the median income of that country was calculated. For countries in which the value of a speeding ticket is based on some unit of account tied to the median salary within the country, the maximum speeding fine using the most current values available was calculated.

Harsher penalties based on exceeding the speed limit multiple times within a year were excluded. The maximum listed fine for speeding was logged, and fines listed for harsher crimes — such as reckless driving or speed racing that can be associated with driving speed — were excluded.

Data was collected in August 2021.

I have been given express written permission to use the maps and the verbatim text from this article from Budget Direct, which highlights the cost to motorists of speeding tickets and fines around the world. This information is general in nature only and does not constitute personal advice. While Budget Direct and Neomam Studios — which was commissioned to conduct research on behalf of Budget Direct — have endeavored to ensure the information provided is accurate and current, they cannot guarantee it. Neither Budget Direct nor The Gate accept liability for the information which is presented in this article.

Fast Fines

It’s a slap in the face at 150km/h. Get caught speeding in Australia and you face a fine of up to $2,530 ($1,711.86 USD). What could be more exhilarating?

Australia’s maximum penalty is the equivalent of a reliable second-hand Corolla. But it’s not the highest in the world. Several countries have a more imposing fixed rate, while elsewhere the fine is equivalent to a given portion of the driver’s salary. A fair solution for super-rich speed-hogs who think that a ‘speeding ticket’ is something you buy with your spare change when you want to go over the limit.

More than 1,000 people per day die in speeding-related crashes around the world. Many of these are pedestrians that did nothing wrong except step out onto the road at an unfortunate moment. Since that isn’t deterrent enough for some motorists, Budget Direct decided to highlight the maximum speeding fine in nearly every country (where the top fines are related to income, we used the average national income as a benchmark). And we also identified the 20 highest speeding fines ever.

Key Findings

  • The country with the highest speeding fine is Switzerland, where a motorist on an average salary faces a penalty up to $17,908 ($13,320 USD)
  • Australia has the world’s 17th highest fine: $2,530 ($1,847 USD), for going 45 km/h over the limit in New South Wales.
  • The lowest ‘top fine’ in our study is in Sudan: $0.09 ($0.07 USD).
  • The highest speeding penalty ever was issued to the driver of a Mercedes SLS AMG who reached 290 km/h and was fined $1,031,192 ($767,000 USD).
Click on the graphic for an enlarged version. Source: Budget Direct.

Million-Dollar Penalty for Mercedes-Shaped Blur is World’s Highest Fine

The world’s priciest speeding ticket went to a Swedish tourist doing 290km/h (180mph) on the A12 between Bern and Lausanne – 170km/h over the limit. His Mercedes SLS AMG first evaded detection because many speed traps are unable to clock a speed of that magnitude. “The speedometer must have been on the blink,” the driver told police. “It is not controllable. It must have taken 500m to stop,” was the police statement – along with a $1,031,192 ($767,000 USD) fine.

Click on the graphic for an enlarged version. Source: Budget Direct.

Belgium is serious about speed. A $304,598 ($226,560 USD) fine for a vehicle doing just 72 km/h (still a significant 22 km/h over the limit) is the highest penalty ever paid outside of Switzerland. Belgian speed offenders are also sent a letter from a driver who has previously killed people by speeding.

North America

The United States has the highest speeding fines in North America. The top penalty is in the state of Oregon, where topping 160 km/h earns a fine of $2,689 ($2,000 USD). The lowest ‘top fine’ on the continent is in Cuba, where a 60 peso penalty equates to just $3.36 ($2.50 USD).

Click on the graphic for an enlarged version. Source: Budget Direct.

Second-placed Canada’s highest set fine is $2,092 ($1,538 USD) for doing 260 km/h or more in Quebec. However, one motorcyclist was fined $12,992 ($9,485 USD) for going at twice the speed limit in Alberta. The 34-year-old out-sped cops but his bike was later recognized. He paid extra in a deal to keep his license.

South America

South America’s top standard speeding fine is five times the cost of the next closest in the region. This is in Argentina, where putting the pedal to the metal can result in a $4,996 ($3,694 USD) fine. However, one local mayor was imprisoned for illegally installing a speed camera and falsifying citations to make a quick buck. His penalty? Three years in jail.

Click on the graphic for an enlarged version. Source: Budget Direct.

Paraguay has one of the lowest top fines in the world. You’ll be charged $0.17 ($0.13 USD) for exceeding 60 km/h on avenues, 50 km/h on streets and paved roads, or 30 km/h on cobbled streets. If the threat of fines or danger of killing somebody isn’t enough to slow you down, the road quality might – fewer than 15% of Paraguayan roads are thought to be suitable for non-4×4 cars.

Europe

Some of Europe’s top-earning countries calculate fines in relation to the offender’s wage. This means that Switzerland and Finland are the most expensive places to get caught even if the fine is pegged to the average national income. In the UK, salary-adjusted penalties come into play if the driver refuses to plead guilty. You might also get extra penalty points on your license, compared to if you plead guilty and avoid a court appearance.

Click on the graphic for an enlarged version. Source: Budget Direct.

Poland has only the 34th highest speeding fine in Europe, but it is set to rise for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century. Anti-speeding activists held a ‘1990s-style’ fancy-dress demonstration to illustrate just how long it’s been since Poland’s speeding penalties have been updated.

Middle East & Central Asia

Lebanon has the highest top speeding fine in the Middle East thanks to a whopping $2,669($1,985 USD) bill for exceeding the speed limit by 60 km/h or more. However, fines as low as $182 ($132 USD) are possible for slighter infringements.

Click on the graphic for an enlarged version. Source: Budget Direct.

At the other end of the scale, five countries have two-figure fines (Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Tajikistan, Thailand, and Turkmenistan). Syria’s speeding fines equate to just a few cents. In Jordan, you might be ordered to serve a two-four-month prison sentence in addition to paying a $379 ($282 USD) fine if caught more than 70km/h over the limit.

Rest of Asia & Oceania

Australia has the highest speeding fines in the region, but it depends which state you’re in: New South Wales leads the way with a $2,350 ($1,712 USD) penalty for going 45 km/h over the limit. Close behind in the region, though, is Brunei, where a second offence costs you $2,003 ($1,484 USD) and six months imprisonment.

Click on the graphic for an enlarged version. Source: Budget Direct.

Those figures put Australia and Brunei way ahead of next closest, Vietnam ($709.11/$527.73 USD). However, the Australian and Vietnamese figures even out when you take average local wage into account.

Africa

Uganda has the highest speeding fines in Africa ($2,290/$1,702 USD) – and they’re nearly three times higher than nearest challenger, Cote d’Ivoire ($875/$643 USD). The Ugandan government increased the fine at the start of 2020 as part of an overhaul of motoring rules. Other updates included the need for garages and spare parts dealers to become licensed and mandatory licensing for ‘boda boda’ motorcycle taxis.

Click on the graphic for an enlarged version. Source: Budget Direct.

Morocco is among those nations that reward culpability. Confess and pay on the spot, and you pay only 150 Moroccan dirhams. But delay the inevitable, and you’ll need to pay double: around $45 ($33 USD). However, it is worth being aware that Moroccan police are commonly said to take advantage of this loophole by pocketing the cash and sending you on your way without a receipt.

As annoying as speeding fines are, remember that wherever you are in the world the maximum punishment for speeding is death – yours and the passengers, motorists, and pedestrians around you. Observe the speed limit, friends!

Final Boarding Call

While I do believe that excessive speeding can be potentially dangerous, I never thought that a police vehicle strategically placed where motorists can be distracted by it is all that safe, either.

It seems like we are all in a hurry these days — and until technology gets to a point where we can push the petal to the metal and have the rubber meet the pavement as little as possible in a safer manner, please: be careful out there.

Other articles at The Gate which deal with driving around the world include:

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

  1. Very interesting. But so many countries in the world. The traffic laws are not really enforced. And if they are. They are doing it for bribes. Then the going rate will be much much higher to start.

  2. Very useful to know would be how foreign tourists’ incomes are assessed in Finland.

    I sped badly in Belgium in the 1990’s but did not get a ticket. This article is great to know.

    I am aware of Switzerland being strict so this article is a good reminder.

    In the US, I have driven 101 mph in Montana when the speed limit was not a number but “reasonable and prudent” or similar. I did not want to drive at higher speeds because I didn’t believe it was reasonable. I am capable of driving 125 mph easily as I did legally in Germany. The amount of concentration needed at 125 mph is considerably more than at 100 mph.

    I heard one US town police chief say that his department is not out to write a lot of tickets, preferring warnings, with the exception of DUI, which he said they have no leniency. I’ve seen the monthly statistics of that department and in one month, they wrote over 1000 warnings but something like 10 tickets. This police department is popular among town residents, possibly because they don’t write a lot of tickets.

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