Warning to motorists: Don’t speed in the toll lanes. E-Z Pass is watching.
Several states, including New York, Maryland and Pennsylvania, say they monitor speeds through the fast pass toll lanes and will suspend your E-Z Pass for multiple speeding violations.
In all, five of the 15 E-Z Pass states have some kind of rules on the books for breaking the speed limit in the convenience lanes.
“You can lose your E-Z Pass privileges if you speed through E-Z Pass lanes,” says Dan Weiller, director of communications for the New York State Thruway Authority. “You get a couple of warnings. We don’t have the power to give a ticket, but we do have to power to revoke your E-Z Pass, which we will.”
He and tolling officials in several other states say the issue is the safety of human toll collectors. “At most toll barriers, we have a mix of E-Z Pass lanes and standard toll lanes,” Weiller says.
On Maryland toll roads, drivers’ speed is monitored in the free-flowing toll lanes, which have a 30 mph speed limit, says Becky Freeberger, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Transportation Authority. “If we clock you at 12 mph more than that, we will send you a warning, saying slow down,” she says. “It’s not a ticket.” If a driver gets a second such notice within six months, their E-Z Pass account can be suspended for up to 60 days.
In Pennsylvania, a warning usually suffices for lead-footed drivers, says Carl DeFebo, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. “If a collector spots an E-Z Pass customer blasting through at a high rate of speed, they’ll get a license plate,” he says. “We do have the ability to send a warning letter to the customer, and that has proven effective. If the customer doesn’t heed the warning we have the ability to suspend their E-Z Pass privileges but we haven’t done that recently.”
DeFebo notes that while states can collect tolls using transponders based in other states, they don’t yet have the ability to access the account information of out-of-state drivers. “We don’t have the ability to send a warning letter to those customers,” he says. “As far as I know there is no reciprocity (with other states) on this issue.”
That’s one reason the state is slow to suspend E-Z Pass accounts, he says. “It would be like letting others get off the hook but going after our own customers.”