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Overseas offenders Car rental firms off hook for unpaid speeding fines

Getting foreign speeding culprits to pay up can be problematic

(Keystone)

Car rental companies cannot be held accountable for unruly holidaymakers who fail to pay speeding fines, according to the Swiss Federal Supreme Court. 

The landmark ruling comes after a Florida holidaymaker refused to pay a CHF240 ($246) fine after returning to the United States. The woman was clocked going 96 kilometres per hour in an 80 km/h zone in summer 2014. 

The rental firm passed on her contact details to police but she failed to respond to a demand to pay the fine. 

As it was impossible to pursue the woman in the US for a relatively minor offence, police in canton Appenzell Ausser Rhoden then presented the car rental firm with the unpaid bill. This is because, under Swiss law, the car owner is liable to pay fines if the driver cannot be identified. 

The car rental company launched a legal fight against having to pay the fine, which it won in the Supreme Court.

The judge waived the firm’s obligation because it had done all it reasonably could by passing on its customer’s details to police.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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