How do I pay my speeding ticket in Iceland?

South Coast driving, speeding ticket

It’s a beautiful summer day, and you’re travelling around Iceland on the ring road—life is good! Until your mind slowly starts wandering away, inspired by the wild landscapes. Suddenly, your foot gets a bit heavy on the gas pedal, and it’s too late—you’ve already been caught by a speeding camera. Many visitors and residents have been through this exact scenario.

But what should you do now that you’ve been caught speeding in Iceland? 

Hefty fines for speeding

When driving in Iceland, it is important to keep track of the varying speed limits. Generally, the speed limit on the ring road and other “highways” is 90 km/h (55 mph); on gravel roads 80 km/h (50 mph); and in populated areas, it is 50 km/h (31 mph). The limits can always vary depending on the road, season and sharp turns. Therefore, it is crucial to keep track of signage while you are driving to avoid unnecessary fines.

There are stationary speeding cameras all around the country, which are usually indicated by signage beforehand. Nevertheless, sometimes there are even hidden cameras or even police cars pulled over on the side of the road to catch naughty speeders! Read more about driving in Iceland here.

The latest trend in Iceland is automated monitoring of drivers’ average speed. In the tunnel Hvalfjarðargang, on the way from Reykjavík to Borgarnes, you can find such a system, which basically takes a photo of you when you enter the tunnel and calculates when you should come out again. If you speed and arrive earlier than calculated, you will be fined.

The fines associated with speeding can be quite hefty in Iceland. Check out this calculator by the Icelandic police, to know the exact fees. Also, note that additional fines can be imposed if you are driving a bus, other heavy vehicles over 3.5t or when towing a trailer.

Here are a few examples of fines:

  • Driving 41km/h or faster over the allowed top speed (80-90 km/hour)
    • ISK 130,000 – 150,000 (€ 864-1,000 / $ 930-1,070)
  • Driving 36km/h or faster over the allowed top speed (50-60 km/hour)
    • ISK 65,000 – 80,000 (€ 432-530 / $ 465-572)
  • Driving 26km/h or faster over the allowed top speed (30-35 km/hour)
    • ISK 40,000  (€ 266 / $ 286)

How to pay the fine

If you were speeding in a rental car, the rental company will forward your personal information upon request to the police (as required by law). Rental companies often charge an extra service fee for this procedure. If you are living in Iceland, you will be contacted directly by the police. 

The Icelandic police will then email you a speeding ticket with different payment options. You can either pay via direct bank transfer to the specified account number, online via the official traffic management website or if you are still in Iceland, at local post offices.

If you pay within a certain time period, you can expect to decrease the total amount by 25%. The same goes if you are caught by police officers on the road – if you pay the ticket on the spot, you can knock down the fine by 25%. Usually, police officers have a card reader with them on patrol, so you can just pay the fine with your credit card.

Police Drop Blood Mare Investigation

Icelandic horse

Icelandic police have dropped the investigation into the treatment of mares during blood extraction, Bændablaðið reports. The ill-treatment of mares during the practice was first brought to light in 2021 by foreign animal welfare organisations.

The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) had previously investigated the treatment that appeared in a video that the animal welfare organisations AWF and TBZ published on YouTube in November 2021. MAST requested more information and unedited footage from the animal welfare organisations but did not receive it. A statement released by AWF/TBZ spokespersons in December 2021 said they would not hand over any unedited videos to MAST, but were willing to cooperate if a public investigation took place. MAST therefore referred the case to the police for further investigation at the end of January 2022.

The case was dismissed a year later, or at the end of January 2023, according to information from the South Iceland Police Department. The police repeatedly tried to obtain additional data from the animal protection organisations, which hid behind German laws that did not require them to hand over the data.

However, sources say that the representatives of the animal welfare organisations were in fact willing to hand over the data, but only if a legal request was made, in order to ensure the best evidentiary value of the data. Such a request was, however, never received from Iceland.

Since the 1980s, horse farmers in Iceland have been able to gain extra income by extracting the hormone Equine Chorionic Gonadotropin (eCG) from their pregnant mares. The hormone extracted from pregnant mares is mainly used to boost fertility in other farm animals. Only a handful of countries operate blood farms besides Iceland: Russia, Mongolia, China, Uruguay, and Argentina. Iceland tightened regulations on blood mare farms last year.

“Society More Vigilant Against Domestic Abuse,” Police Commissioner Says

Metropolitan Police

A record number of domestic-violence incidents were reported to the police over the past two years, a new report from the Icelandic Police indicates. Victim surveys suggest that domestic violence has not increased, but victims report incidences more frequently. The National Police Commissioner calls this a “positive development.”

2,102 incidents of domestic disputes and violence in 2021

A new report on domestic violence by the Icelandic Police indicates that reports of domestic violence and domestic disputes are on the rise. Fifteen-hundred incidents were reported in 2014, compared to 2,102 in 2021.

In an interview with the radio programme Morgunútvarpið on Rás 2 this morning, National Police Commissioner Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir referred to this increase in reports as a “positive development.”

“Because during the pandemic – when social restrictions were in effect, and when kids were out of school, etc. – we feared that we would receive fewer reports and fewer calls for help. But this wasn’t the case. Child protective services were notified on multiple occasions when there was a suspicion of possible violence. So you could say that we, as a society, were vigilant, with outside parties notifying the authorities,” Sigríður Björk stated.

Sigríður suggests that over the past few years society has begun to “open its eyes” to this kind of violence. (The report also notes that police protocols were updated in 2014, which led to increased reporting.)

“Only 10 or 15 years ago, domestic violence was regarded as a private matter,” Sigríður Björk continued. “But this is deadly serious. You just have to look at homicide data: half of all homicides occur between related or associated parties.”

Sigríður Björk says that the authorities need to consider preventive measures and educational initiatives to curb domestic abuse.

“When it comes to digital abuse, for example, where you have so many young victims and abusers. Just having a web page: kids are learning (to adopt this technology) and trying on different roles. You can be involved in a situation that is abusive in nature, even though you don’t realise it. Public discourse is important, that is, that it’s not considered a private affair, which people have to deal with for years on end, even at a risk to their lives,” Sigríður Björk observed.

As noted in the report, domestic-violence incidences reported to the police increased by a third between 2015 and 2021. 80% of aggressors were male.

Short-Staffed, Rural Police in Iceland Must Look to Public for Assistance

Staffing shortages in rural police departments in Iceland mean that police often turn to members of the public to assist with law enforcement work and to help in the community. This was among the findings of a recent study conducted by sociologists at the University of Akureyri, RÚV reports.

The article, “Jacks (and Jills) of all trades: the gentle art of policing rural Iceland,” was authored by sociologists Guðmundur Oddson, Andrew Paul Hill, and Thoroddur Bjarnason. The article summarizes the authors’ interviews with twenty-three rural police officers. According to the abstract, the authors found that rural police officers’ daily work life is characterized by “understaffing, overwork, an extensive range of tasks with little to no backup, and a blurring of work-life boundaries.” Based on these interviews, they conclude that “rural police officers must master the art of soft policing, which requires superior communication skills centred on extensive dialogue, negotiation, de-escalation, and minimal use of force to build trust and consensus.”

“The main theme was overload,” remarked Guðmundur, who noted that Iceland employs the second fewest number of police officers per capita in Europe. Due to a lack of human resources and the long distance that would often be required to travel for backup or additional assistance, rural police officers often have to seek assistance from the immediate community. “Asking those present to help direct traffic in the event of a car accident, for example,” he explained. In Iceland, rural police often turn to local Search & Rescue squads for assistance as well.

According to Guðmundur, these findings indicate a clear need for more police officers. In an interview he and coauthor Andrew Paul Hill gave about their findings in October 2021, Hill also highlighted the various differences between rural and urban policing that became evident during the course of their study. “Aside from being under-resourced, rural officers are often deeply embedded in their communities, which presents challenges as well as opportunities,” he said. “Given this, prospective police students must be educated and trained for both rural and urban police work, but, as we all know, most of the police teaching material and methods are based on the latter.”

Hill added that officers new to the profession often lack the professional mentorship that they need to be successful: “Our study also raises the issue of whether students and/or new police officers are prepared enough for rural police work given that the Icelandic police has become more centralized with the merging of police districts and declining staffing levels since 2007, which means that fewer police officers are located in rural and remote areas. This also means that there are fewer potential tutors with extensive rural policing experience for prospective police officers and new officers. Another way to address this issue could be to require prospective and/or new police officers to train and work in both rural and urban areas to better prepare them for the realities of rural policing.”

Police Reject Allegations Of Excessive Force in Asylee Arrest

asylum seeker arrest refugees in iceland

The office of the National Commissioner of Police rejects the allegations that police used excessive force when arresting two men, both asylum seekers from Palestine, on Tuesday, Vísir reports.

The incident was brought to the public’s attention by the activist group Refugees in Iceland and pictures published by Vísir confirmed that one of the men, who was hospitalized after the incident, sustained injuries to his head and body. The National Commissioner had not previously issued an official statement on the incident but did so on Thursday evening.

See Also: Hospitalised for Injuries Sustained in Arrest

Both men have now been deported and sent back to Greece.

Witnesses assert that police used violent force against the men, who had been called to the Directorate of Immigration in Hafnarfjörður to pick up vaccination certificates. They also say that police used a taser on them. The National Commissioner’s Office stated on Wednesday that Icelandic police do not use tasers under any circumstances. Refugees in Iceland maintain that a video taken by a witness on their phone was deleted by police. Police were, however, wearing body cameras at the time and the arrest was also captured by security cameras in the building.

“A preliminary examination of footage of the incident has been carried out by this office and does not indicate that any unnecessary or excessive force was used given the circumstances that were created at the scene,” read the police statement. The statement also asserted that police only resort to the use of force when the situation urgently requires it, for instance, to ensure the safety of the person being arrested or others.

“In light of numerous inquiries, the office [of the National Commissioner of Police] can confirm that the individuals in question have left the country, in accordance with the decision of the relevant authorities regarding the dismissal [of their asylum applications].”

The incident will be referred to a police oversight committee.

 

Two Armed Robberies This Weekend

The police department’s special division arrested a man in Austurvöllur square in downtown Reykjavík around noon on Saturday on suspicion of committing an armed robbery, RÚV reports. The man is suspected of having drawn a knife on employees in a shop on the square. This was among the incidents reported in Saturday’s police blotter.

This is the second armed robbery to have occurred in Reykjavík in just as many days. On Friday afternoon, Vísir reported that the Mexican-style fast-food restaurant Chido in the westside neighbourhood of Vesturbær had also been robbed at knifepoint. In an unexpected twist, the robber made sure to use hand sanitizer before brandishing their weapon. None of the staff were harmed in the robbery, but by the time police arrived, the perpetrator had run off with the contents of the cash register, somewhere in the range of ISK10,000, or a few hundred dollars. The perpetrator had still not been found as of 10:30pm on Friday night.

In addition to the armed robberies, police also stopped a man who is believed to have broken quarantine twice. He had recently arrived in the country but had not yet received the results of his second COVID-19 test. Police also arrested a man who had violated a restraining order, but not until after he’d driven an electric scooter into a police car and briefly evaded capture. There have also been a spate of robberies in 101 and the environs.

Domestic Abuse Assistance Now Available Via Online Chat

Emergency assistance for people experiencing domestic violence is now available not only by calling Iceland’s emergency number, 112, but also via online chat on their website. This is the first time that people have been able to seek emergency assistance online. The website, 112.is, is only available in Icelandic for now but is currently being translated into both English and Polish.

The initiative is intended to make it easier for those who are experiencing domestic violence to receive the help they need, particularly those who feel unable to make a phone call or who believe that they’ve been in a violent situation too long to report it. The portal is also open to perpetrators of domestic violence seeking assistance and treatment, as well as those who are concerned that someone close to them is experiencing violence in the home.

Domestic violence increased during the first wave of COVID

The 112 chat portal was announced during the COVID-19 press conference on Thursday. As National Police Commissioner Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir explained, there was an increase in domestic violence during the first wave of the pandemic, as evidenced by a 15% increase in notifications to child protective services and a 14% in reports to police of intimate partner violence as compared to last year’s average.

In response to this, in May, Minister for Social Affairs and Children Ásmundur Einar Daðason and Minister of Justice Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir appointed a working group tasked with developing and coordinating measures to address domestic violence in times of economic and social distress.

Four proposals to better address domestic violence and assist survivors

The online 112 portal is one of four proposals announced by the working group in a press release on the government’s website on Thursday. A public awareness campaign about recognizing signs of domestic violence will also be launched in the winter of 2020-21 and will be based around the 112.is website. The campaign will be rolled out in phases, each of which will focus on specific groups who are particularly vulnerable to domestic violence.

The group also proposed that an online cognitive therapy programme to treat trauma be developed in collaboration with the National University Hospital’s psychiatric ward, the Directorate of Health’s National Centre for e-Health, and the Development Centre for Primary Health Care in Iceland.

Thirdly, they suggested that the parental resources available to all parents before the birth of a child and through the first 1,000 days of a child’s life be further developed. These materials should aim to strengthen parental skills so as to reduce the likeliness of neglect, abuse, and violence against children. Parents and children in vulnerable or at-risk circumstances will receive particular attention.

Lastly, the group proposed that a new electronic processing system be developed within the healthcare system, so as to improve healthcare professionals’ responses to cases of domestic violence.

Altogether, it’s expected that these measures will cost ISK 66.7 million [$478,307; € 408,816]. The working group is led by Commissioner Sigríður Björk and former Progressive Party MP and Minister for Social Affairs and Housing Eygló Harðadóttir and will continue its work through January 31, 2021.

Email Scammers Targeting Athletics Associations

A number of Icelandic athletics associations have fallen prey to email scams and have lost a considerable amount of money as a result, RÚV reports. Police warn these associations to be on their guard; cybercriminals waged a similar campaign against athletics associations a few years ago and are reusing the same techniques now.

The most common type of scam is that the managing director, an employee, or a volunteer of an athletics association will receive an email that appears to come from their organization’s bookkeeper or director. The email will ask them to make a bank transfer to a foreign bank account and say that this needs to be done within a very short window of time.

The scammers seem to have done considerable homework on their marks. According to Auður Inga Þórsteinsdóttir, director of the National Association of Youth Organizations (UMFÍ), athletics associations with higher revenue are asked to transfer more money than less monied organizations—anywhere from ISK 400,000 [$2,901; € 2,452] to ISK 1 million [$7,253; €6,130]. UMFÍ urges any organizations that are targeted by such scams to report them to the police.

Internet fraud and email scams have cost Icelanders a total of ISK 1.5 billion [$10.88 million; €9.19 million] over the last three years.

Four Taxi Drivers Charged with Reckless Driving

Taxis at the airport

Four capital-area taxi drivers were charged with serious traffic violations on Saturday night, RÚV reports. Police conducted targeted surveillance of taxis after some particularly egregious driving was caught on traffic cameras downtown. These cameras caught multiple incidences of taxis driving on sidewalks, down pedestrian-only streets, stopped in the middle of intersections, and generally obstructing traffic.

Police gave verbal warnings to a number of taxi drivers on Saturday night and charged four with serious traffic violations. According to one pedestrian who spoke with police who were patrolling downtown, a taxi driver had driven behind them on a pedestrian-only street and yelled aggressively at them to get out of the way.

In a statement released about the incidents, police remind taxi drivers that they are subject to the same laws as other drivers. It is illegal to park or stop a vehicle on the sidewalk, they point out, to drive down pedestrian-only streets, or to obstruct traffic more generally. Specially designated parking is available for taxis in two places downtown, the statement continues, and if those are full, taxis must utilize regular nearby car parks.

Police Hope to Train Corona Dogs in Iceland

The Chief of Police in Northwest Iceland hopes to bring specially trained COVID sniffer dogs to the country, RÚV reports. Police in Iceland have been in regular contact with organizations in the UK that train dogs and are investigating whether they can be trained to sniff out the coronavirus on individuals. Preliminary findings show that the dogs are able to detect positive COVID-19 samples with about 90% accuracy and only this week, so-called ‘corona dogs’ started working as part of a pilot project at the Helsinki airport.

Per The New York Times, COVID test-by-dog seems far less uncomfortable than the nose swab method: travellers in Helsinki, for instance, are having their sweat tested. First, they wipe their necks, then drop the sample into a container, and pass it to a corona dog’s handler, who allows the dog to sniff it alongside other containers with different scents. The dogs are able to detect coronavirus-positive samples in roughly ten seconds; the whole process takes less than a minute. According to Finnish researchers, the dogs have also been successful detecting the virus in asymptomatic carriers.

“The British have experience training malaria dogs”

Police in Northwest Iceland oversees the training and assessment of all police dogs in the country. Chief of Police Stefán Vagn Stefánsson says that he’s been closely monitoring the progress of tests with COVID sniffer dogs abroad, and most particularly those taking place in the UK, as the British began training corona dogs quite early.

“The British have experience training malaria dogs in The Gambia in 2016, which yielded good results,” he noted. “They’ve put us in touch with the scientific institutes that are leading this work in the UK [the London School and Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Bernham University] and we’ve been able to follow along with their research.”

Once the British dogs have achieved a high enough success rate, Stefán hopes to be able to start a similar project in Iceland.

Two dogs, one hour, 500 samples

“We’ve got all the knowledge we need here to train these dogs,” he said. “We’ve located dogs abroad that have yet to be fully trained and can be brought to the country. It would probably be about a two-month process for the dogs to be able to sniff and detect skin swabs.”

In the British studies, the corona dogs are able to smell up to 250 samples an hour, which means, Stefán pointed out, that two dogs could sniff up to 500 samples an hour. “And, of course, to maximize accuracy,” he continued, “you could have two dogs smell the same samples.”

While Stefán is undoubtedly excited about the project’s potential and its applications in Iceland, he emphasized that it will be important to see how the pilot projects in Finland, Britain, and Germany progress. “And then, of course, it will be up to people other than us to make a decision about whether this becomes a reality here.”