Transport minister wants fines for speeding to be pegged to personal wealth
The country’s transport minister, Vít Bárta, has set off new debate over how to clamp down on dangerous drivers: the idea – floated at the weekend – is that speeding fines in the Czech Republic could be pegged to motorists’ personal wealth, similar to systems in currently in place in Finland or Switzerland. The threat of high fines would theoretically lead owners of powerful luxury cars - who currently ignore speed limits - to think twice.
But at this stage it is not at all clear if initiative will get off the starting blocks. For one, the plan is only in the very earliest of stages – with an independent study having only just been commissioned. Secondly and more importantly, not all those within the coalition support it and some are dead-set against.
Since then Minister Bárta has begun to backtrack, suggesting that the cost of the vehicle could be one of the more dominant factors in the plan (as opposed to overall income) but that too is being seen as highly questionable given that the cost of a single vehicle is hardly a reliable indicator.
There is also concern that the proposal could simply be unconstitutional, infringing on the principle of equal treatment before the law. So, from the outset, pegging speeding fines to personal income will be far from easy. The minister has defended himself by saying that thinking out of the box is just as important as cutting spending under the government’s austerity plans. And he still plans to push ahead with a concrete proposal by the end of the year.