Holes in Illinois Automatic Highway Toll System


This week the Chicago Daily Herald ran a three-part series called "Toll Gridlock" that reported on the problems with the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority's collection system. The series found that the toll authority is often "sending violation notices to the wrong addresses, leaving some drivers to miss out on chances to pay up before fines skyrocket or their driver's licenses are suspended."

In one case, a driver didn't know her I-PASS (electronic toll payment transponder) ran out of money and accumulated $179.50 in owed tolls. She was sent a letter saying she now owes $4,619, and had better pay up in two weeks, or owe the tollway $15,739 and eventually lose her driver's license.

The series also notes that "tollway officials say their license plate image readers have trouble discerning differences among the myriad of plate varieties, affecting about 25 percent of all plates on the road. This may result in fines being leveled against law-abiding motorists."

In addition, the series states that the toll authority doesn't know how many are cheating or how many motorists are being fined unfairly.

Finally, the series notes that the toll authority's management thinks all of the problems are minor, and that the way fines are assessed is "fair."

Glad I don't drive in Illinois.


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Robert Charette
Spotsylvania, Va.
Willie D. Jones
New York City