Sunday, January 10, 2010

Better Social Engineering Though Traffic Fines

I had no idea that parts of Europe meted out traffic fines based on the wealth and income of the offender.

A driver in Switzerland was fined $290,000 for driving too fast this weekend. This was a record, but not the only example of a wealthy driver being slapped with a six-figure fine. The rationale is that the paltry fines for speeding in these countries don't act as a deterrent to people with money to burn.

I can see the argument. I assume the laws in these countries (Germany, France, Austria, Norway, Finland, and Sweden) don't ratchet up the punishment for successive infractions; most states in America would increase the fines and eventually take away the license of a driver who continually drove too fast.

So, would this type of law work in this country? I don't think so. The European laws are written from the vantage point of social justice: 'from each according to his ability to pay', if you will. I would think an American law that charged fines on a sliding scale according to income would violate the Constitution.

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