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.

Acquitted in Landmark Domestic Terrorism Case

Héraðsdómur Reykjavíkur Reykjavík District Court

The Reykjavík District Court has convicted Sindri Snær Birgisson and Ísidór Nathansson for violating weapons law, but acquitted them of attempted terrorism, RÚV reports. It is the very first court ruling in Iceland in a terrorism-related case. The defence calls the ruling a condemnation of the prosecution and the National Police Commissioner, who they assert took the case too far from the start.

Hoarded weapons and planned attack

In September 2022, four Icelandic men were arrested in Iceland on suspicion of plotting terrorist acts against public institutions and civilians. The investigation was the first of its kind in Iceland, with 50 police officers taking part. According to the police, the suspects had hoarded numerous weapons – including dozens of semi-automatic guns and 3D-printed components – alongside a considerable amount of ammunition. In private messages, two of the men had reportedly discussed carrying out an attack.

Two of the suspects were immediately released but the other two, Sindri Snær Birgisson and Ísidór Nathansson, were remanded in custody. The initial case was dismissed by the District Court in February 2023. A new 64-count indictment was presented in June and also dismissed by the district judge. The District Prosecutor appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals, demanding that the case proceed to substantive trial. The Court of Appeals overturned the dismissal on October 23 last year.

Receive sentences for weapons offences

The hearing in the case finally took place last February, and both defendants denied the main charges. The District Court has just published its judgement in the case, acquitting Sindri Snær Birgisson of attempted terrorism and Ísidór Nathansson of being a party to attempted terrorism. Sindri Snær received a 24-month sentence for weapons offences, minus the time he has already spent in custody, while Ísidór received an 18-month sentence.

Inspector says police were right to intervene

Einar Oddur Sigurðsson, Ísidor’s defence attorney, stated it was a huge relief that the defendants had been cleared of allegations of intended terrorism. Sindri Snær’s attorney Sveinn Andri Sveinsson, admitted, however, that Sindri Snær’s weapons violation was an unusually serious offence. The two said that the judgement is a condemnation of how Icelandic police and the Icelandic justice system handled the case.

During his testimony, Chief Police Inspector Karl Steinar Valsson outlined the National Police Commissioner’s involvement in the case. He affirmed that it was his assessment at the time, and remains his view today, that the police were correct to intervene.

The prosecutor has not yet stated whether the judgement will be appealed.

Reports of Sexual Violence Decreased by 15% in Iceland

police station Hlemmur

The number of reported incidents of sexual violence in Iceland has decreased significantly, according to a newly-published report from the National Police Commissioner’s Office. In 2023, a total of 521 offences were reported to police, a decrease of 15% compared to the average over the last three years. About 45% of victims were children.

Sexual offences against children decrease

There have not been so few reports of sexual offences to police in Iceland since 2017. In 2018, 570 sexual offences were reported, an increase of 18% from the previous year. Over 600 offences were reported in 2019, 2021, and 2022. The number of reports of rape and sexual violence against children decreased significantly last year, according to the report, while reports of rape decreased by 13% compared to the average over the previous three years.

While reports of child abuse increased by 21% compared to the three-year average, reports of sexual offences against children decreased by 20%.

Only 10.3% of victims report to police

In the 2019-2023 Law Enforcement Plan, Icelandic Police have made it a goal to decrease the rate of sexual violence while increasing the rate of reporting. In a victim survey conducted in 2023 which asked about respondents’ experiences from the year 2022, 1.9% stated they had been sexually assaulted and only 10.3% of those victims had reported the incidents to police.

Survivors call for shorter processing times and harsher sentences

Those who do report sexual abuse in Iceland have complained of long processing times: sexual assault cases take around two years to go through the justice system in Iceland. A new organised interest group for sexual abuse survivors was established in Iceland last year with the aim of improving survivors’ legal standing. The group has called for shortening case processing times for sexual offences as well as less lenient sentencing for perpetrators.

Help and support through 112

Sexual violence and abuse in Iceland can always be reported via the emergency phone line 112 or on the 112 webchat. The 112 website has extensive information on how to recognise abuse and ways to get help and support in Iceland. Support is available to all, regardless of immigration or legal status in Iceland.

Iceland News Review: To Move, Or Not To Move, Back To Grindavík

INR

In this episode of Iceland News Review, business leaders and union officials have some very different ideas about whether or not to move back to Grindavík, where earthquakes and eruptions have done substantial damage to the town–and are very likely not done with the town yet.

Meanwhile, the Icelandic government is also pushing for new measures regarding asylum seekers and expanded police powers; parliamentarians want the Turkish Abductions investigated, genetically; a new app is here for learning Icelandic, and lots more.

NOTE: You can get the app, BÍN-kjarninn, on both the Apple App Store and Google Play. It is referred to as the DMII Core in this podcast, on account of the English name used for it on the Árnastofnun website.

Iceland News Review brings you all of Iceland’s top stories, every week, with the context and background you need. Be sure to like, follow and subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode!

Grindavík Residents Can Stay Overnight at Own Risk

An ambulance lingers just outside of Grindavík

Grindavík residents are permitted to stay overnight in the evacuated town as of today, but do so at their own risk. The Chief of Suðurnes Police has decided to permit the town’s residents as well as those who work in the town to stay and work there without restrictions. There is currently neither hot nor cold water in the town, and the Suðurnes police notice underlines that Grindavík is not safe for children.

No water, heating, or schools

Grindavík (pop. 3,600) was initially evacuated last November due to seismic activity and the threat of an eruption. Earthquakes and three eruptions since December have opened crevasses throughout the town, and damaged buildings and roads as well as power and water infrastructure.

The notice from Suðurnes police underlines that residents enter and stay in the town at their own risk and are “responsible for their own actions or inaction.” The notice underlines that the town is “not a place for children or children at play. There are no operational schools, and infrastructure is in disrepair.” There is currently neither hot nor cold water in the town, though authorities are working to restore both.

Police chief does not recommend staying overnight

In order to enter the town, residents, workers, and media professionals will have to apply for a QR code. Those who do enter the town are advised to stick to roads and sidewalks and avoid going into lots or other open areas due to the risk posed by crevasses.

“The police chief does not expect many Grindavík residents to choose to stay in the town overnight. They are allowed to do so, but the police chief does not recommend it,” the notice continues.

The arrangement will be reviewed again on February 29, barring and major changes in the area. Land rise continues at Svartsengi, north of Grindavík, and further eruptions are expected.

Icelandic Police Bill to Boost Surveillance Powers

police station reykjavík

Icelandic police would be given increased powers of surveillance if a bill proposed by Justice Minister Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir is passed. RÚV reports that Guðrún introduced the bill in Parliament yesterday. Opposition MP Arndís Anna Kristínardóttir believes the power the bill grants police is too extensive.

The aim of the bill is to strengthen the police’s ability to respond to organised crime and to give it the authority to monitor individuals who have not committed a crime. To have this authority, there must be a suspicion that an individual is connected to criminal organisations and could potentially commit a serious offence.

The bill would grant police the right to carry out such surveillance in public places, but not within private homes. The police would not need a court order to carry out such surveillance, although a special steering group that includes police officials would have to approve the measure.  The Minister of Justice stated that the bill would bring Icelandic legislation closer to legislation in other Nordic countries.

No independent supervision of police

Pirate Party MP Arndís Anna Kristínardóttir criticised the bill for not including any independent supervision of police and the use of this surveillance permission. “What is being done here is that the police are being given authority to monitor ordinary citizens who have done nothing wrong and even without any suspicion that the person has done anything wrong,” she stated. The Minister of Justice stated that the bill also includes increased supervision of police through establishing a monitoring group for police work and regular reports on the matter to Parliament.

Read More: Police Powers in Iceland

The Ministry of Justice, under the leadership of the Independence Party, has been pushing for increased police powers for some time. In 2022, then Minister of Justice Jón Gunnarsson introduced a crime bill with similar measures to the bill Guðrún Hafsteinsdóttir introduced yesterday. It was criticised by the Icelandic Bar Association as well as opposition MPs.

“There are, of course, some conditions in the bill, but it gives the police authority to monitor people’s movements without they themselves being under suspicion of criminal conduct, whether or not they have committed a crime or are preparing to commit a crime,” Sigurður Örn Hilmarsson, the chairman of the Icelandic Bar Association, stated at the time. He suggested that establishing a dedicated organisation such as an intelligence service would be a better way of investigating the most serious crimes, such as terrorism or organised crime.

Police Reassess Grindavík Risks

Grindavík crevasse

The Reykjanes police commissioner will maintain the restrictions for access to Grindavík that have been in place for the last five weeks, despite the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management’s order to evacuate having expired yesterday. The situation is being reassessed, RÚV reports.

The January 14 volcanic eruption near Grindavík destroyed three houses, caused crevasses to form across town, and displaced the 3,800 inhabitants for the foreseeable future. The town had already been evacuated once before, on November 10 last year, due to seismic activity. The latest eruption on February 8 damaged a hot water pipeline, cutting off heating for Reykjanes homes.

Eruption risks remain

Access to Grindavík will be controlled by the Reykjanes police commissioner going forward. According to the Icelandic Meteorological Office, there is still major risk of crevasses in Grindavík, while crustal uplift by nearby Svartsengi continues and likelihood of further eruptions remains.

“The conclusion of the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management’s crevasse risk assessment is that stay and work activities in Grindavík are acceptable in light of the countermeasures in place,” the department announced in a notice. Dangerous areas of the town have been fenced off and access to them limited.

Lack of Access to Grindavík “Dystopian”, Journalists Claim

An ambulance lingers just outside of Grindavík

The Suðurnes police commissioner has limited access to Grindavík for journalists since the January 14 volcanic eruption. Sigríður Dögg Auðunsdóttir, the president of the Union of Icelandic Journalists, told Heimildin that it was dystopian and surrealistic that the commissioner was “applying censorship and limiting journalists’ freedom of speech by limiting journalists’ access to the area with no rational cause.”

The January 14 volcanic eruption near Grindavík destroyed three houses, caused crevasses to form across town, and displaced the 3,800 inhabitants for the foreseeable future. The town had already been evacuated once before, on November 10 last year, due to seismic activity. Grindavík residents await a government decision on how they can be helped while displaced.

Major historical event

Journalists were allowed to enter Grindavík yesterday for two hours. This was the first time they’ve been allowed to enter since January 15. Authorities say that the restrictions are due to consideration for the residents and the vast emergency response in the area. The police have not received any written requests from residents asking them to limit journalists’ access to the town.

Sigríður Dögg says that journalists should be allowed to document major historical events, such as last weekend when residents transported their belongings from the danger area. “Especially since the commissioner has no legal foundation for these restrictions, she said.”

Chaperoned visit on a bus

The journalists were herded into a bus and chaperoned by emergency response personnel. A special unit police officer decided where the bus went. A half-dozen stops were made in town, limited to areas with crevasses or damages, but nowhere near people. Only two areas were designated for flying drones to photograph. Heimildin reports that attending journalists were unhappy with the arrangements.

In November, the union petitioned the Ministry of Justice to increase access to the danger area, but the ministry has not responded. “History has shown us that documentation of major events in Iceland’s history is incredibly important going forward,” Sigríður added. “Especially for those who experienced the disaster.”

Child Murder Suspected in Kópavogur Case

Chief Superintendent Grímur Grímsson

A woman is in custody following the death of her six year old child on Nýbýlavegur in Kópavogur. The case is being investigated as a murder, Mbl.is reports.

“The woman is suspected of causing the death of the boy,” said Grímur Grímsson, chief superintendent with the Reykjavík Metropolitan Police. The woman lived on Nýbýlavegur with two of her children. The other child is being taken care of by child protection services. The father also lives in Iceland and has expressed his grief over his son’s death in a post on his Facebook page. Both parents have lived in the country for three to four years and have received international protection as refugees in Iceland.

Many questions unanswered

Police have not revealed the cause of death or why murder is suspected. Many people have already been questioned. “We can only hold a person for 12 weeks in custody, so we have the next few weeks to investigate,” Grímur said. “I expect that we’ll question more people and bring some back into questioning. This is to be expected in cases like this.”

Grímur also did not reveal the time of death. The only confirmed details are that the mother contacted police herself Wednesday morning and that when police arrived at the scene, the other child had left for school. The case is very sensitive to the community, the police have said, as it involves the death of a young child. The boy was a first grade student at Álfholtsskóli primary school and the school has subsequently activated its crisis response team.

Foreign Minister Calls for Border Control, Increased Police Powers

Palestinian protesters outside Iceland's Parliament

In a Facebook post Friday night, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Independence Party leader Bjarni Benediktsson called for tighter regulations for asylum seekers and increased border control. He posted a picture of tents pitched by Palestinian protesters outside Alþingi, saying that it was “incomprehensible” that this was allowed.

Palestinian protesters have been camped outside of Alþingi since December 27. The group has made three demands of Icelandic authorities. Firstly, to carry out family reunifications for residents of Gaza whom they have already granted visas. Secondly, a meeting with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Justice, and the Minister of Social Affairs and the Labour Market. Thirdly, to stop the ongoing deportations of Palestinian people in Iceland and grant them international protection.

Palestinian flags outside Alþingi

“It’s a disaster to see the camp at Austurvöllur,” Bjarni wrote. “It’s absolutely unacceptable that the city of Reykjavík has allowed the camp on this holy site between the statue of Jón Sigurðsson and Alþingi. Yesterday, Reykjavík made things worse by extending the license.”

He went on to write that this “sad camp” had nothing to do with the traditional protests that take place in front of the statue of Iceland’s 19the century independence movement leader and the nation’s Parliament. “The group flies multiple Palestine flags and attaches them to lampposts and tents,” Bjarni wrote. “No one should be allowed to fly any national flag for weeks outside of Iceland’s Alþingi to protest Icelandic authorities.”

Calls for increased police powers

Bjarni went on to write that he understood the concerns and uncertainties of those in Iceland away from their families, many of whom live under terrifying conditions. “However, we must remember that the protesters are in a country that receives many more asylum applications than neighbouring countries,” he wrote and added that Iceland had received more Palestinian people than any other Nordic state.

“The next thing that needs to happen is to tighten regulations about asylum seekers and harmonise them with what our neighbouring countries have in place,” he added. “We need to increase border control. The current arrangement has gone out of control, both with regards to costs and the number of applications.”

Lastly, he wrote that Alþingi had failed by rejecting the Minister of Justice’s proposals on this issue and that the police should be given additional authority to fight international criminal activities.

Most asylum seekers from Ukraine and Venezuela

223 Palestinians applied for asylum last year, Heimildin reports, but total applications were down from the record year of 2022. Nearly 80% of applicants in 2022 and 2023 came from either Ukraine or Venezuela. The current government coalition introduced measures that led to the increase in applications from these countries. Between 2018 and 2021, almost every applicant from Venezuela received international protection, as the government ruled that the situation in Venezuela was too dangerous. Asylum seekers from Ukraine have received international protection since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.