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Higher Fines Not Discouraging Drivers

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Higher Fines Not Discouraging Drivers

cars on Iceland road

Photo: Ian Funk

Increased fines for traffic-related violations are not discouraging many drivers from engaging in finable behaviors, RÚV reports. Most notably, during May and June, police issued tickets totaling just over ISK 10 million [$93,510 / €80,110] to drivers who were not using a hands-free device for talking on the phone while driving. This fine was significantly increased earlier this year, as were the fines for driving with winter tires outside of the legal season, not wearing a seatbelt, speeding, and drunk driving.

As of May, drivers who do not use a hands-free device to talk on their phones are now fined ISK 40,000 [$387; €320], up from ISK 5,000 [$49; €40]. The fine for drivers who’ve failed to remove their winter tires went up from last year’s ISK 5,000 [$49; €40] per tire to ISK 20,000 [$196; €160] / tire. The fine for not wearing a seatbelt doubled and is now ISK 20,000 [$196; €160].

All total, 263 drivers were fined for not using a hands-free device during May and June, up from the 76 who were fined for the same offense during the same time period last year. 36 drivers received tickets in May and June for driving with winter tires, which is down significantly from last year, when almost 100 drivers were fined for this same offense. During the same period, 53 were fined for not wearing seatbelts, which is roughly the same number of people who were fined for this violation last year.

All total, 6,570 people received speeding tickets in May and June, which is double the number of people who received speeding tickets at the same time last year. The amount of each ticket depends on how fast the person was driving in relation to the posted speed limit. As an example, a person driving 90 km/hr [56 miles/hr] on Vesturlandsvegur, a street that runs between Reykjavík and Mosfellsbær and has a posted speed limit of 80 km/hr [50 miles/hr] would be fined ISK 15,000 [$140; €120]. A person driving 150 km/hr [93 miles/hr] on the same road would be ticketed ISK 240,000 [$2,243; €1,922].

More people were ticketed for driving drunk or otherwise under the influence in May and June this year than last year, with fines totaling at least ISK 30 million [$280,271; €240,440].

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