Concerns that Dutch will stop paying traffic fines behind OM's appeal for 30% reduction
The Public Prosecution Service (OM) is urging the Cabinet to lower the fines for minor traffic violations. These have gotten so high that the OM fears Netherlands residents will stop paying them, AD reports.
Minor traffic violations like speeding or running a red light are now fined as high as some serious criminal cases, the OM warned. For example, an assault charge often carries a fine of 400 euros, while parking in a disabled space carries a fine of 440 euros.
The OM fears that support for fines will dwindle among the public and the authorities. That could result in police officers giving warnings instead of issuing fines and citizens fighting the fines they receive more often or ignoring them altogether.
In the Spring Memorandum, the spring update to the national budget, the government announced that it would increase traffic fines. From January 1, the fines for minor traffic violations will be 10 percent higher.
In a letter to parliament this week, Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz acknowledged that this was not in line with the OM’s wishes, but the government intends to stick with the increase. The Ministry needs the increase to fill gaps in the budget. It’s increase the fines or implement budget cuts at the police, for example, she said. “This step puts the burden on traffic violators, who can avoid these costs by adhering to traffic rules,” Yeşilgöz said.
In the Netherlands, the amount of fines is not determined by the Cabinet alone. The Cabinet determines the fines for most minor violations, but the OM imposes fines for serious crimes. According to AD, the government and OM have been at loggerheads about this for some time.
Last year, the OM even took the unique step of not increasing the fines it is responsible for by as much as the government did. The Cabinet opted for an 8.6 percent increase in 2022. The OM’s increase was only 3 percent.
In its latest appeal to lower the fines for minor traffic violations by 30 percent, the OM pointed out that the amounts of these fines have increased by 150 percent since 1999. In the same period, the fines for serious offenses increased by 76 percent.