Friday, 5 July 2019

Lighter In The Wallet

Rasmus Ristolainen is a good, young defenceman who plays for the Buffalo Sabres. The 24 year-old Finn isn't the most polished defender in the league by any stretch, but he's getting better each season and has earned a roster spot based on his play. He's signed through 2022 with the Sabres and will likely command a decent salary when his contract expires if Buffalo doesn't extend prior to that, but it might be a good thing that he's not a free agent at this point because his wallet took a serious hit in May when he was home in Finland after Buffalo's season had ended.

According to Anna-Maija Naakka's article in Ilta-Sanomat today, Ristolainen was pulled over in his car and assessed a fine for speeding. Through translation, she writes,
On May 3, Ristolainen, 24, drove 81 kilometers per hour in the center of Turku on Linnankatu, where the speed limit is 40 km / h. The act happened on Friday afternoon, when there was a lot of vehicle and light traffic in the area. Speeding Ristolainen drove a Mercedes-Benz G 500 off-road vehicle.

It was a bypass that happened on a two-lane straight road. According to Ristolainen, the issue was short-term speeding, and the counter-display was not presented in the reading.

Ristolainen acknowledged that he had acted according to the description of the act. He admitted that he had committed the act of negligence but denied intent and gross negligence.
That's a pretty cut-and-dry recount of what happened, so you're likely shrugging your shoulders and expecting him to pay a fine. He will pay a fine, but here's where the giant asterisk stands out.

For those that aren't aware, Finland's ticket fine system isn't some sort of tiered system where you pay more if hit a certain speed threshold above the posted speed limit. Instead, driving offences are based on your annual income, and you are fined based on that total annual income. As the New York Times reported in 2015,
The fines are calculated based on half an offender's daily net income, with some consideration for the number of children under his or her roof and a deduction deemed to be enough to cover basic living expenses, currently 255 euros per month.

Then, that figure is multiplied by the number of days of income the offender should lose, according to the severity of the offense.
You can see where this is going, right? According to CapFriendly, Ristolainen made $5,400,000 in 2018-19, and his fine was based on that income. Because he has no dependants living under his roof that have been disclosed, the fine would likely be on the higher side of the ledger multiplied by the number of days of income he should lose.

The final total? 120,000 Euros or $134,595 USD. OUCH.

While it's a small percentage of his annual salary - 2.5%, in fact - it represents a large amount of money for the government. In contrast, according to the NYT article, someone earning "$54,000, none of it capital gains, and with no young children, would get a fine of about 345 euros, or about $370". And for the most part, these sorts of fines are rare, according to Finnish police in the article, and most Finns believe that it is one's choice in speeding as opposed to some unavoidable occurrence.

Personally, I have no issue with this type of fine based on income. If you're able to buy the flashy sports car, you should be forced to accept the consequences when you break the law in said sports car. I'm sure that will outrage some people, but this is a speeding ticket, not murder or assault. We all like to complain about speeding tickets if we receive one, but the fact is that the driver who does receive one almost always consciously breaks the speed limit. If one breaks the speed limit as egregiously as Rasmus Ristolainen did, one should pay excessively more.

Lesson learned, Rasmus. It might be time to see the Sabres' medical team about that lead foot.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!


Unknown said...

How often you play hockey?

Teebz said...

I have long retired my playing days in exchange for shinny out on the rink where more laughs and fun are had.