Around one quarter of fines charged for speeding past traffic enforcement cameras are not collected, Vísir reports. Less than half of infractions committed by foreign drivers result in a collected fine. Current policies do not dictate guidelines for how to charge foreign drivers who commit speeding infractions.
Last year, 45,160 speeding infractions were recorded by traffic cameras, triple the number in 2013. Of this number, 16,447 were not collected. West Iceland Chief of Police Ólafur Guðmundsson states the average fine is around ISK 10,000 (USD 97/EUR 83). A conservative estimate therefore reveals that at least ISK 160 million (USD 1.5 million/EUR 1.3 million) in fines was not collected last year, double the amount from 2015.
“When the camera takes a photo we look up the registered owner. If that owner turns out to be a car rental agency, then we ask for information on who was registered as the driver at that time. If the fine is ISK 30,000 or more we send a fine to the party in question,” states Ólafur.
Currently three employees are responsible for registering infractions, sending fines, and communicating with car rental agencies if needed. Funding for the department has not increased since 2007 despite wage increases and a surge in speeding offenses.
“There are no existing guidelines for what to do if a driver turns out to be a tourist. We set the benchmark at ISK 30,000 at a certain point. We took it upon ourselves to send out the fines,” Ólafur says. He adds that if the department pursued smaller fines as well, it would greatly increase the already heavy workload.
Notification letters have been translated into six languages and are sent to the party’s home, but a system is yet to be established for receiving the funds.
“We have called for the set-up of a payment mechanism the police could use. This could increase the collection rate,” states Ólafur.