• Aug 13th 2010 at 12:15PM
  • 50
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG – Click above for high-res image gallery

Just because major portions of the German Autobahn have no speed limit doesn't mean you can drive as fast as you want anywhere in Europe. Where there are posted restrictions, most European countries take speeding very seriously and levy hefty fines. The latest case in point is a 37-year-old Swedish man who was clocked at 180 miles per hour on a motorway between Bern and Lausanne in Switzerland.

Unfortunately for this driver of a new Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG, Switzerland doesn't have fixed fines for speeding. Instead they use a formula similar to that in Finland where the fine is calculated based on the vehicle's speed and the driver's income. Back in 2002, Nokia executive Anssi Vanjoki had to pay a fine of $103,600 for going 47 mph in a 31 mph zone.

In this latest incident, the driver faces a penalty of just over $1 million for traveling at the highest speed ever recorded on a public road in Switzerland. Apparently the SLS escaped being clocked by several older cameras that are limited to 125 mph before finally being recorded by a new camera with a higher radar speed range. His excuse: The speedometer was faulty.

As far as we know, this is the most expensive speeding ticket ever issued, though there are reports of a kid who last April was caught speeding in his dad's Bugatti Veyron, the punishment for which was permanent seizure of the vehicle.

  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_06
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_03
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_05
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_02
  • slsamgofficial001
  • slsamgofficial006
  • slsamgofficial007
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_16
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_17
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_18
  • slsamgofficial004
  • slsamgofficial003
  • slsamgofficial005
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_10
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_08
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_07
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_12
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_09
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_11
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_19
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_13
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_14
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_01
  • slsamgofficial002
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_15
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_20
  • slsamgofficial000
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_22
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_24
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_23
  • mb-sls-amg-gullwing-large_21

[Source: The Telegraph]

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why on earth do rich people live in Western Europe? The entire half of that continent seems to be filled with angry, jealous, envious peasants. In America supercars tend to get thumbs up and waves from people on the streets while in most parts of Europe they are meant with quite a different hand gesture. This is a small part explains why they all lost their empires and global influence while the US and China have risen. We worship wealth and success, not punish it.
        Jake Calder
        • 5 Months Ago

        The fine is meant as a deterrent which is why the formula is used.  For someone who is very poor a a hundred dollar fine could be the difference between making a mortgage payment or being out on the street, whereas a millionaire would think of it as nothing more than a little pocket change.  So, with the formula in place the poor man may have to pay ten dollars, which may very well be  a hardship without causing financial ruin and the multi-millionaire will have a hundred thousand dollar fine, which is equally a hardship without ruining the bloke financially.  It works!

        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree, Davew.

        Many in Europe have nothing but contempt for wealth, which explains their I'll-get-your-money-one-way-or-the-other tax codes and outrageous speeding tickets. For decades most of Western Europe seems to have been gravitating towards some sort of progressive paradise where no one has to work and everything is taken care of. Unfortunately, as the Greeks have found out and the Portuguese and Spanish soon will find out, somebody has to work and pay taxes to afford the lavish public benefits bestowed on the population. Eventually the tax burden will become so great for businesses and productive members of society that they leave and then you're left with a mountain of health care costs and unfunded pensions.

        That being said, I do enjoy watching the Western European leaders who reveled in the "death of American capitalism" during the recession eat crow as they try to figure out how to provide all of the benefits they promised with substantially lower tax revenues.

        You would have to be nuts to be envious of such a system.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Love the fines based on income!
      The purpose of a penal fine is to cause corrective pain. A fixed fine won't hurt the rich at all. Kudos!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Thankfully I live in a country where the traffic fines are the same for everyone, regardless of your income or net worth. Granted, going 180 mph anywhere but a track or the Autobahn is deplorable, $1 million is not a fine, it's outrageously punitive and it borders on government theft of private property.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's insane. Almost half of the price of the car for the ticket.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually the SLS is around $200,000 so the ticket actually costs around 5 times as much as the car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Who cares? I'm more concerned about the dumb chick driving a massive SUV that is doing her nails and texting while driving...

      Granted this is a different country, but still...
        • 5 Years Ago
        I tend to agree. Speed doesn't kill, morons do.

        The higher the speed, the better odds of death when you crash. However, the longer you're on the road, the better chance of being in an accident. This guy was doing 180 so that he could hurry up and get off the road before the girl drinking coffee and eating breakfast while doing her makeup and talking/texting on the phone hits his wonderful car.

        Prosecutor, I rest my case.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Speed has never killed anyone, suddenly becoming stationary... That's what gets you." Jeremy Clarkson
        • 5 Years Ago

        I agree with you. the person in the SLS AMG doing 180 is probably fully focused and his knuckles are already white from the adrenaline/fear

        doing 85 while on the phone and trying to change the song in you i-pod while also looking at your lipstick in the mirror in a nice size SUV is much worse

        thing is speed is very easy to prove, while the rest are not so simple
      • 5 Years Ago
      He doesn't need to pay the fine. The police took his Mercedes as a security. He can just walk away and buy himself another one once back in Sweden. It would still be $600,000 less expensive.
      • 5 Years Ago
      To be honest he *really* should've invested in a speed camera detector!

      One of these, for instance: http://www.newcarnet.co.uk/road_pilot.html?SKU=59
      • 5 Years Ago
      Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG - $200,000+
      Fine - $1,000,000+

      Making the record books for the most expensive speeding ticket ever - priceless!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Let's see, one million dollars for a few scant seconds of super-fast driving on a public road vs. the cost of renting a track, throwing in a few driving lessons, purchase of a helmet and oh yeah a fully catered lunch with all the trimmings. The latter version could max out at $50K if you went super crazy, but the differential of $950,000 is worth it to me.

      ; - )

      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh, Swedes.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'm torn on this. Bear with me for a minute.

      On the one hand, I think the punishment should fit the crime, and at first blush a million bucks for a speeding ticket looks and sounds positively heinous. But let's back up a second.

      The article says the fine is calculated partially from the speed, and partially from the violator's income level. Why do they do this? I think the reason is simple. Fines are levied to punish bad behavior. It's not a punishment if it doesn't HURT. Someone who can afford $200K for a Merc SLS is probably pulling down at least a 7-figure paycheck, maybe more. If this were in the US he'd probably be looking at around $5,000 in fines depending on the jurisdiction. To a guy making millions of dollars a year, it's a drop in the bucket--and if they pull his license he just gets Jeeves to drive him around for a while. So then a massive fine like this, for him, starts to make sense.
        • 5 Years Ago
        To anyone interested, I found a table in English of how we determine traffic fines here in Switzerland.

        • 5 Years Ago
        I disagree to a point. You're right, to punish bad behaviour it has to hurt. But $1 million dollars? Lets say the guy is making 5 million/year, so this one offense is worth 1/5th of his salary? Think of it in more normal people's terms. Lets say you're making $60,000/year. This fine would be $12,000. I know I couldn't take a $12,000 hit. Now you could say, "then don't speed" but like you said the punishment has to fit the crime. Why should someone who sped, possibly lose their house from one mistake?
        • 5 Years Ago

        1/5th of your income does sound rough but this is proportional to the max speed limit as well which he was doing about 2.5x over, according to wiki max speed on a highway in switzerland is about 75 mph (120 kmh). If you are caught doing that here in the US you would probably lose your house (by not being able to work and being put in jail for going 180 on a highway here) so in a way its not out of scope for the magnitude of this fine if he were to be making in your example 5M/yr. And his excuse is insult to injury, when you are flying down the road it doesn't take a speedometer to realize you are nearing 200 mph.
        • 5 Years Ago
        no one likes the socialist mentality....why should i pay more just b/c i make more? and really...you think this guy is going to hand over 1 mil w/o a fight? if he a is millionaire, he has connections.

        He'll probably get the police officer to publicly apologize to him for the inconvenience. :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Jim R - Let's go with your figures of this offender's salary. You speculate he makes figures - 1 to 9M tops. If it's $1M, a fine of 100% of a year's earnings (before tax) would be met. Best case is 11.11%. Is there any speeding fine (resulting in no accidents) that warrants 100% of someone's income?

        So if you were caught speeding at something like 120 in a 55, would you accept losing all of a year's pay - at even say something like $40k/yr? Or how would $4500 at that level feel to you? Because after taxes (you cannot deduct that fine) you'd have less than $25k to make the rest of your payments.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Just like the Nokia exec Vanjoki this guy in the end of the day will pay much less than what talked here. ~100 000 euros changed to 7 000 in Vanjokis case.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I was thinking the same, and how perhaps this could be adopted for US and Canada. All those rich people (5% of the population) who own more than a third of the wealth, should be governed by this system.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, it would be interesting to see if something like that worked in the states, but I think our problem (at least in Indianapolis) is that fines don't appear to be levied in order to encourage compliance. Instead most are solely designed to generate revenue. A doubling of the moving violation a few years back made a speeding ticket $150, but it also gives the same penalty for rolling a stop sign. The unintended consequence is that less moving violations are doled out for running stop signs, as even the cops don't like the idea of ripping someone off with a fine that exceeds the violation.

        So until there's more purpose and enforcement to driving penalties, I prefer to gripe about other stuff. ;)
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X