Let me tell you a story, which in this case happens to be the truth.
I was traveling with a good friend. We were late for a meeting so when we picked up our hire car at Salt Lake City airport my friend drove I-15 north a little faster than normal, and his normal was pretty fast.
We were making up time until a police car pulled out behind us. My friend handed over his passport and license, and we waited. And waited. And waited.
Finally, the policeman came back and said he didn’t know how to process a British license, so he gave my friend a form as a formal record that he had been stopped and let him off.
When we returned to the UK my friend put the form up on his office wall, and bragged about getting away with being caught speeding. Great, only someone took the 16 digit reference number from the form and gave it to the girls in the travel department. They then rang him up, recited the number, and told him the Utah police had sent the company a bill for speeding … and the company policy was that the individual was responsible for payment, all $500 of it.
My friend went ballistic. I think the only words he used on the phone which can be printed in this blog were “no” and “off.”
I followed along, you know, for support, as he stormed over to the travel office, where he found two girls rolling around in hysterics.
Before you go sympathizing with my tormented friend, do you know how much some people pay for speeding tickets? If you said a couple of hundred dollars then you probably don’t live in Finland. Ok, ok, Finland doesn’t use the dollar, but even if they did, you still don’t live there. Why? Because they have traffic fines that’d make your eye water.
For example, Anssi Vanjoki was CEO of Nokia when he received a speeding ticket. No big deal, right? He’s the CEO of a big corporation, he’s going to pay it off and be more careful next time. Er, no. Finland assigns fines on two factors:
- the severity of the incident (46 in a 30 mph area), and
- the offender’s income ($5.2M).
Anssi was caught on his Harley-Davidson doing 46mph in a 30 mph area and his fine was assessed at $103,000. Now I don’t pretend to understand law, but I’m thinking it wasn’t the extra 16 mph that swung the size of his fine.
Mind you, like my friend, the guy has a sense of humor. Right after he was fined, he showed off Nokia’s latest phone at a trade fair. His ring tone? A roar of motorbikes accompanied by police sirens.
Nordic people have a thing for fast cars and Vanjoki might have imported American muscle into Finland, but the US imports plenty of muscle from the Nordic countries. Sweden, for example, is the home of Saab and Volvo, the very forefront of safe and stodgy, not the place you normally associate with motoring muscle.
Not unless you can pronounce the word Koenigsegg.
Founded in 1994, Koenigsegg began life purely to produce supercars. A pretty ambitious idea in a world well served by historic names. But Koenigsegg had an publicity ace up its sleeve.
It’s broad, it’s wide, it’s tall, and it may not be the largest state in the Union, but you could be forgiven for being convinced by a Texan that it is. And it isn’t just the scale of the place that’s big, some of the tales that come out of it are, too.
Apparently, in May 2003 a contestant in the San Francisco to Miami Gumball Rally was pulled over in west Texas, in a 75 mph zone. Predictably, he wasn’t doing 75. The Gumball contestant had his Koenigsegg CCR pretty much maxed out. If it wasn’t actually maxed out, the difference is academic. The guy or gal was supposedly clocked at 242 mph.
Two hundred and forty two miles an hour! That’s three times faster than some light aircraft. Yep, everything’s bigger in Texas. In fact, that is supposed to be the fastest speeding ticket ever, and if you’re going to sell outrageously expensive supercars there’s no better endorsement.
What about you? Tickets in your past? Near misses? Stories?
Or are you resisting putting your foot down in that factory fresh Koenigsegg, at least until wide open west Texas beckons?
PS – No, I’m not endorsing speeding, especially if you think you want to break this record.