Lake County Motorist

Suburban Chicagoland commuter and motorist weblog

Toll tales and scoffing at the law

You may know a tollway scofflaw.

Look at your friends, your family, the people that live in your house. Have any of them driven the Illinois Tollway over the past year? They may be unwitting scofflaws with a string of old toll violations in their wake.

I know a guy – let’s call him Mr. Car – who was one of those 160,000 motorists that received a notice of year-old toll violations. Mr. Car was not a willing scofflaw. There was – and still is – money in his I-PASS account.

Mr. Car straightened everything out with a simple phone call to the ISTHA. As it turns out, the likely problem is a malfunctioning transponder. He was told to bring the transponder to a Tollway Oasis for inspection and replacement if needed. Because his I-PASS account contained funds at all times, no violations had actually occurred and the ISTHA erased the fines.

The moral of the story is: If the Tollway Authority sends you a notice of year-old toll violations along with a demand to give them your money, call them up and explain your side of the story. They may be willing to work with you or correct any errors, all of which can work in your favor.

It Gets Worse: Consumerist reports the story of an Illinois man whose I-PASS account harbored a stowaway that just wouldn’t leave. Who’s the scoffer now?

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Filed under: ISTHA, , ,

Enforcement takes a toll on Illinois motorists

The Daily Herald recently published a series of articles exposing toll enforcement errors and delays causing hassle to motorists.

Among issues identified:

  • “Hundreds of thousands of drivers” that incurred toll violations did not receive notices of these violations for over a year, due to a computer glitch. Due to the time lapse, fines and penalties multiplied – “hitting [affected motorists] with massive fines that have the potential to destroy someone’s credit and livelihood.” Furthermore, the Tollway Authority is not offering payment plans to ease the burden of paying these fines.
  • Toll enforcement cameras have difficulty reading specialty plates, which comprise approximately 25% of all Illinois license plates. Errors can result in violation notices being sent to the wrong registrant.

Here are links to the series, in case you missed it:

Part 1: Taking a heavy toll
Part 2: Critics call for reform of toll collection system
Part 3: Toll officials draw a blank on cheats tally

Additionally, there are supplemental features and a handful of reader letters rounding out the extensive coverage.

The series, and possibly the associated feedback from Daily Herald readers, prompted Illinois State Toll Highway Director Brian McPartlin to pen the agency’s side of the story.

So, there is more to transportation news than RTA doomsday. Stay tuned!

Filed under: ISTHA, ,

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