What is the traffic penalty fee?
The traffic penalty fee is a new type of road traffic fee which can be imposed as a penalty for traffic offences separately sanctioned under the new Road Traffic Act (729/2018). The traffic penalty fee will replace the road traffic summary penal fee which has been used as a penalty for various minor traffic offences since the early 1980s.
The traffic penalty fee is a fixed penalty. The amount of the traffic penalty fee is defined offence-specifically in the Road Traffic Act. Whom the fee is imposed on also has an impact on the amount. The amounts of traffic penalty fees imposed on pedestrians and cyclists differ from those imposed on drivers of motor vehicles, for example. The amount of the traffic penalty fee ranges from 20 to 200 euros depending on the nature of the offence. For example, the traffic penalty fee for a pedestrian’s traffic rule violation is EUR 20, but for the driver of a motor vehicle, the fee for a violation of traffic rules is EUR 100.
If a traffic penalty fee is imposed for more than one offence, the strictest traffic penalty fee for the offences in question will be increased by EUR 40. The fee is increased a single time. For example, if the driver of a motor vehicle fails to comply with the traffic rules concerning residential areas and uses their mobile phone while driving so that the phone is in their hand, a single combined traffic penalty fee of EUR 140 would be imposed. The fee would contain a traffic penalty fee of EUR 100 increased by EUR 40.
The traffic penalty fee is not a fine but an administrative sanction. However, traffic penalty fees and fines are similar in nature – both are sanctions imposed for unlawful conduct by a road user. Therefore, one of the purposes of the traffic penalty fee is to emphasise that fines are reserved for more serious traffic offences.
Traffic penalty fees, fines and other criminal penalties form a coherent entity. This means that there are no instances of unsanctioned conduct falling between the scopes of the traffic penalty fee and fines. Minor offences that violate the Road Traffic Act are processed by means of the traffic penalty fee, whereas fines and other criminal penalties are reserved for more serious offences. Thus, for example, a traffic penalty fee may be imposed for minor speeding, but the minimum penalty for more severe cases of speeding is a fine.
In addition to the new Road Traffic Act, the traffic penalty fee concerns other acts as well. A traffic penalty fee may also be imposed as a penalty for administrative offences laid down in the Vehicles Act (1090/2002), the Driving Licence Act (386/2011), the Act on Transport Services (320/2017) and the new Water Traffic Act (782/2019; the new Water Traffic Act entered into force on 1 June 2020). A traffic penalty fee may be imposed, for example, if a driver does not carry the supervision documents, certificate of professional competence, community licence or driving licence laid down by law.
Chief Superintendent Konsta Arvelin, p. +358 295 480 181 (switchboard), konsta.arvelin(at)poliisi.fi