EDITORIAL – Speeding fines should be based on how much money we make

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

NOW HERE’S AN IDEA that might make at least some people smarten up on our highways — instead of handing out the same fines to everybody who speeds, set the fines according to how much people make.

After all, a speeding fine of $368 in B.C. could put somebody at the lower end of the income level in pretty dire straits, but to the Ferrari-Lamborghini crowd it’s pocket change.

The same applies for such things as not stopping for a school bus or running a red light. For one driver, traffic fines are a major deterrent; for others, they mean nothing.

Several countries already set their fines according to income: Finland, Denmark, Germany, France, Austria for example.

In one case in Finland, a multi-millionaire was fined the equivalent of about $64,000 CAD for speeding. The formula for determining fines there is complicated, and includes calculating income after tax minus daily living costs and number of dependents.

It need not be that complicated or onerous but the principle of it makes sense. It would require provincial access to tax returns but the government already has that ability in connection with such things as child support.

Municipal councils have no authority over fines for traffic violations so it would be up to the Province to make changes.

The concept was being pushed by a Saanich councillor by the name of Teale Phelps Bondaroff, who took a motion to Monday night’s meeting of the Saanich council. Oddly, it didn’t even get a seconder.

If it had been supported, the motion would have made its way to the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention for debate and possible forwarding to the provincial government. Premier David Eby has called the idea “interesting.”

For all its merits, the idea is dead unless another council picks it up and runs with it. There’s an opportunity here for Kamloops City council to step in, if it has the political will.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former TNRD director and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a recipient of the Jack Webster Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9489 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on EDITORIAL – Speeding fines should be based on how much money we make

  1. And because you have mentioned local political will, here is one interesting article highlighting another issue with local implications which should be dealt with.

  2. The local political will to do what’s right doesn’t exist…because of ample precedents.

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