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Danish police issued up to 70,000 speeding fines to wrong drivers

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Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish police issued up to 70,000 speeding fines to wrong drivers
Speeding fines may have been sent to the wrong drivers in cases where the speed limit was exceeded by 30 percent or more. Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

As many as 70,000 speeding fines may have been incorrectly issued by police over the last eight years.

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The erroneous fines were given to the owners of cars which were recorded exceeding the speed limit by 30 percent at automatic speed checks, the National Police (Rigspolitiet) said in a statement.

But the penalties should have been sent to the drivers of the cars – not necessarily the same person as the owners of the cars in the cases in question.

Car owners who may have been fined incorrectly do not need to do anything yet, police said.

“We need to get the legal clarification sorted, and then we will find the best way to resolve cases,” the head of unit at the Police Administrative Centre, Jeppe James, said in the statement.

The errors are due to a fault in the police IT system and relate to fines sent between September 2015 until this month, according to a note sent from the Ministry of Justice to parliament’s justice committee on Thursday.

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In the police statement, an officer is quoted describing the issue as “a matter we are incredibly regretful of”.

Processing of speeding cases will now be done manually until the end of the year, when the IT system will be updated to ensure correct processing, police said.

Around half a million fines are issued annually in Denmark as a result of automated speed traps.

READ ALSO: MAP: Which speed cameras in Denmark earn the most in fines?

In most cases, it is the owner of the car who is penalised due to a rule termed “conditional objective responsibility” (betinget objektivt ansvar).

However, a speeding offence by more than 30 percent of the speed limit is considered to have an aggravated element, meaning police must ensure it is the car’s driver, not the owner, who receives the fine.

The state prosecutor in Viborg was first to identify the error and informed the national prosecutor, Rigsadvokaten, on August 31st, the Ministry of Justice paperwork shows.

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