Rich people break more traffic laws, statistics show
Members of Denmark’s upper class are far more likely to be charged with a traffic violation than the general population according to a new study by left-leaning economic think-tank AE.
The study is based on data from 1985 to the present and collected in a book about the Danish class society that was published by AE on Monday.
According to the study, 3.6 percent of the upper class has been convicted of a traffic violation, compared with two percent of the upper-middle class and 1.8 percent of the lower class.
The study defines the upper class as managers, self-employed or highly educated individuals with salaries of over 1.2 million kroner a year, while those earning between 800,000 and 1.2 million kroner a year are considered upper-middle class. People with master's degrees or above, regardless of what they earn, are also considered upper-middle class.
The study defines the lower class as people that are not part of the work force for more than 80 percent of the year.
Jonas Schytz Juul, one of the lead authors of the study, argued there were some good explanations for why society’s wealthiest were responsible for the most traffic violations.
“One of the reasons could be that the financial impact of getting caught is less when you are upper class,” Juul told Berlingske newspaper, adding that members of the upper class are also more likely to drive and so get caught breaking the law.
Søren Berg, a traffic consultant for the traffic safety organisation Rådet for Sikker Traffic agreed with Juul’s assessment.
“There is no doubt that the size of a fine can make a difference. A 1,500 kroner fine is a lot of money to some people but not to others. That's why fines for drink driving now reflect the person’s income,” Berg told Berlingske, adding that creating more income-adjusted fines was a possible way of tackling the relatively high levels of traffic violations among the wealthy.