Thousands of speeding fines given to non-Swiss cars in Geneva remain unpaid

Thousands of speeding fines given to non-Swiss cars in Geneva remain unpaid

A new report by Blick has found that only a fraction of speeding fines issued in Geneva last year to drivers registered overseas have actually been paid. Swiss police blamed a lack of cooperation between international police forces for the high deviancy rate.

Over 10.000 driving fines issued in Geneva to non-Swiss cars

According to Blick, in 2021, over 10.000 driving fines were issued in Geneva to drivers who had vehicles registered outside Switzerland and neighbouring countries. Of the fines issued, only 3,3 percent (around 330 fines) were actually paid. 

The issue is not an uncommon occurrence in other Swiss cantons too, with authorities from Nidwalden telling the Luzerner Zeitung that 70 percent of fines issued in the canton to cars registered overseas remain unpaid.

Swiss police struggle to issue fines overseas

According to the head of the Nidwalden traffic police, Marco Niederberger, if a non-Swiss car is caught speeding in Switzerland, the emergency services work with their counterparts in the country where the vehicle is registered. While this “works well with Germany, Austria or Lichtenstein,” he explained that the further away the country is from Switzerland, the harder it is to successfully issue the fine.

Speaking to Blick, police in Canton Bern said that while it cannot give recent data, "On a long-term average, around 58 percent of the fines were paid in connection to vehicles with foreign license plates." The newspaper also calculated that only 55 percent of fines issued to non-Swiss cars in Canton Zurich were paid.

Swiss police call for more cooperation in issuing fines

“The lack of data exchange with some countries prevents criminal prosecution and leads to non-payment of the fines. We are absolutely dependent on the owner and driver data from other countries, so that accused persons can be subjected to criminal prosecution,” noted spokesperson for Schaffhausen police, Katarina Carnevale. 

To solve the problem, Carnevale told Blick that authorities need to issue fines more directly, as in the police’s experience, “If the accused receive a penalty order from the public prosecutor's office... the fines that have not been paid are often paid as soon as possible.” “ There are very few who do not react to a criminal order from the public prosecutor's office," she concluded.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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LucyPappas2 16:35 | 23 September 2022

The decrease from 80km/hr to 40km/hr is so very short leading up the crossing with France outside of Geneva on highway 1. I can’t believe they will fine you for going over 40km/hr exactly where the first sign says 40km/hr after such a short deceleration distance. Surely locals know about this, and it is ticket generating machine for Switzerland from foreigners. And also, I’d be happy to pay a reasonable ticket right away. Would Switzerland really prefer to have astronomical ticket prices and then have only a small percentage of foreigners pay them?